Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Heavy Departure

I occasionally comment at BlogHer on various posts. Although I know that most of the bloggers there are of the liberal variety, I usually choose to ignore their political speech and participate in an objective manner. I usually wind up being the only opposing viewpoint.

Today, I read a post titled Is Christmas About Reproductive Rights? I responded there briefly, but didn't have time to fully put together all the thoughts that I had about the subject. I was very frustrated by the answers of most of the commenters who only seemed able to pat each other on the back and not seriously consider what was being said. It was disturbing to me, not because of what the blogger had written, but because no one had an issue with the way she portrayed the opposition. It is one thing when someone says something extremely offensive, and quite another when everyone else high-fives them for it.

Anyway, it got me thinking.

Abortion does not add value to the life of children; it steals any intrinsic value life has and makes it arbitrary. Abortion advocates state that pro-life people don't care about the children they are trying to save. They say that those children are denied education, social services, and the esteem afforded to children of traditional families. It simply isn't true.

Abortion devalues children. In a society where a baby is a problem to be eliminated, an obstacle to overcome, and a nuisance that happened too early in the life of a woman, abortion becomes the "easy fix." It is not pro-life people that are the cause of neglect, child abuse, and the general lack of love for children. Children are abused and neglected by people who are absorbed with themselves and their problems. The inability to empathize, the sense that children are "lesser" beings and somehow not worthy of consideration, in comparison to the "needs" of the parent, and the lack of value placed on life, in general, are the sources of these problems.

People always want to debate about when life really begins. Is it at fertilization? implantation? after the first trimester? I find this interesting in an age that has developed such a precise record of life's beginnings. Every obstetrician's office is full of color photos of pregnancy at every stage. Everyone knows that the whole process begins when the sperm and egg unite; yet, we close our eyes to this very plain fact and complicate the process with ponderings, what-ifs and philosophical meanderings.

It is this very adamant denial that conception possesses any meaning, in and of itself, that lies at the heart of most abortion advocates. They will state over and over, "it's just a mass of cells, not a person." It's a humorous statement when viewed through the scientific fact that that is all any human is: billions of cooperating, fascinating cells. All our thoughts, memories, sensations, and urges rise from this mass of cells that we reside in. What is the threshold at which a being has enough cells to be considered human? Where is the tipping point at which we can say, "Today, you have value. Yesterday, there wasn't quite enough of you to be of worth."

It is very simple to ignore the bald facts that are readily available to anyone who chooses to search them out. If we begin to see things as they really are, then what regret and horror would await our society?


Suzanne said...

Everyone knows that the whole process begins when the sperm and egg unite; yet, we close our eyes to this very plain fact and complicate the process with ponderings, what-ifs and philosophical meanderings.

Terri, as the person responsible for the post in question, I think the crux of the problem is with the statement above: everyone does not know that life begins when a sperm and egg unite, or agree how that life is valued versus the life of the woman involved. Yes, you are so right that we are all a lump of cells. But some cells are fully developed, thinking, feeling, acting individuals, and others are not. To me, this is like saying that a cat has the same value as a person, and if only one could be saved from a burning building, it would make no difference if it were a cat or the person. I, however, always lean toward the person who is out there. A woman to me is a tangible life, and united sperm and egg is something that, quite frankly, may never make it to birth anyway. (The rate of spontaneous miscarriage - aka abortion - is very, very hig. Most united sperm and eggs don't make it.)

I think we both agree that carrying an infant to term is a huge responsibility and needs to be taken seriously. And I never said that all anti-choice people (incidentally, I consider myself pro-life since I am supportive of living people) are evil. But I find that a number of leaders of the movement really don't care what happens to kids. And that concerns me because we do have a responsibility as a society to all children to meet their basic needs. "Life" to me is more than merely being here breathing. It is exercising your human rights to develop to your full potential. Not everyone will succeed at this, but everyone deserves a chance once they are born. And this fair chance is so often denied to kids by "pro-life" leaders that I cannot see their work as anything but the lowest form of cynicism.

This will be something that we never see eye to eye on abortion because we can't - the terms of the debate don't even come close to matching. What you and I think are "facts" aren't facts - they are opinions and feelings shaped by our upbringings and views. But I think that we agree that children - no matter when you define them as life - are valuable and worth protecting and investing in.

Sorry for the novel. I actually meant to respond to you at BlogHer, but never had the time it deserved, so I'm doing it here instead.

terri said...

When I say that everyone knows that life begins at conception, I am speaking of biological fact. Once the sperm and egg unite, a new being begins. There is no starting point to a human without it.

When you refer to life you seem to be referring more to the soul/personality part of life. I believe that the two are inseparable. A week old infant does not possess the same amount of personality or knowledge that a five year old does, and has not developed as much of its brain function. However, that does not mean that its life is of less value.

If we viewed life outside of the womb with the same logic as we treat it inside the womb, there would be varying degrees of worth to human beings. Old and frail people in their eighties would have less value than young, virile, twenty-somethings.

You're right in saying we will never agree on this..(unless, of course, you become mesmerized by my startling intellectual capacity and wit and begin to take everything I say as Truth....at which point I may have to come up with uniforms for the cult I will be starting)...But, you're welcome to come and debate it, or anything else, here anytime you want.

Lisa Stone said...

Hi Terri,

I'm weighing in belatedly to thank you for consistently representing your opinion on BlogHer.

Our mission is to provide all women bloggers with an opportunity to gain additional exposure, education and community. This mission why we're staunchly anti-partisan -- or, as I have begun to describe us, omnipartisan.

In other words, we may disagree with each other, but our first order of business is to make sure each one of us gets to voice our opinions. That is feminism personified.

And I have to respectfully disagree with you -- I don't think it's accurate to say that "most women [at BlogHer] are of the liberal variety." While I hate to apply blanket labels to anyone's thinking, I find we have a fascinating mix of Libertarian, Progressive, Conservative and more. And we have thousands of women on both sides of the abortion debate. I know this because I also manage BlogHerAds, where people can ban ads by topic from their blogs -- we have a strong pro-life constituency.

Thanks again for drawing attention to the diversity in our community with your comments and for being a part of BlogHer. As I just ommented on a post by Suzanne (today's Voices on the Other Side of the Abortion Debate) -- I urge everyone to keep mixing it up.


terri said...

Lisa, thanks for the comment.

I responded at Blogher.