Sunday, February 8, 2015

Abortion is Not Compassionate

In discussing abortion with someone who is pro-choice, it doesn’t take long to realize that they consider supporting abortion to be a compassionate choice. They know that a lot of women have very bad situations and aren’t prepared to take care of a baby. So in sympathizing with these women, they want to offer them the choice to abort.

But abortion is not really compassionate. It’s false compassion that is more about making people feel better, not addressing the underlying issues in their lives and really helping them.


Here’s a hypothetical scenario.

A woman has a boyfriend who has a minimum wage job, drinks to excess sometimes, and hates kids. She wants to get married and have a family someday, but the current guy isn't husband and father material, nor is he in a position to take care of a family. But he's what she has for now and she doesn't really expect it to be permanent. Or maybe she's hoping he'll come to his senses and see what a perfect match they are and marry her. They live together and have a 2-year lease. They share phone and utility bills. She's finishing up a degree and working nights. All the sudden, she finds out she's pregnant.

Of course she's panicked because she was definitely not planning on this. Her boyfriend is mad when he finds out and tells her to get rid of the baby. She knows she can't afford a baby now and couldn't afford to pay the rent and other bills by herself if her boyfriend leaves. She doesn't want to be a single mother, but her boyfriend is showing no interest in marrying her or raising a child. She feels trapped and scared. "If only there were no baby," she thinks. If only there was a quick fix, an undo button. A baby will ruin everything.

So she considers abortion.

This is a VERY common scenario. Lots of women find themselves in this very situation or one very similar. They’re pregnant at a time when they truly are not prepared and having a child would be tremendously problematic. And it's very sad.

It’s also totally avoidable.

While I am all for helping this woman learn about adoption possibilities or find financial help and childcare services so that she can continue to work and go to school and keep her child, wouldn't it be better if she had avoided the situation all together?

The thing is, this woman chose to get herself into this situation. She chose a boyfriend who wouldn’t commit to marriage and she chose to have sex, even though she knew that she was in no position to take care of a baby. There is no quick fix or undo button in real life. Actions have consequences, and sometimes you have to live with them. Killing an innocent unborn child to take away the consequences of your own bad choices is not the right answer.

Wouldn’t it be better if she had chosen another path – one of abstinence and logical choices? Why can’t we advocate that women avoid sex when they know they aren’t in a position to have a baby. After all, conceiving a child is a very real possibility whenever you have sex - even if you use contraception! That’s just a fact of life. And it’s better to face the facts than to live in denial, only to have a rude awakening when the unexpected happens and you’re totally unprepared and terrified.

What we’re currently doing, as a society, is encouraging women to live in denial about the consequences of sex. And then we wonder why they end up in such bad situations where they feel trapped and scared and are desperate for someone to tell them they’ll make it all go away. It’s not a much of a choice when they feel so desperate and everything is screaming at them to take the easy road and kill their baby.

I want women to have the information to make good choices and avoid getting into bad situations in the first place. Advocating abortion as a quick fix is not only wrong, but it keeps us from finding a real solution to this kind of difficult situation.

The truth is that it’s not okay to kill a baby in order to make a woman’s life better or easier. It’s not okay to make bad choices that lead to the creation of a child at a time when a pregnancy would be catastrophic and then get out of the consequences by ending an innocent life. If you’re going to engage in activities that make a baby, you have to live with those choices. Making the baby pay the price for her parents’ bad decisions isn’t fair or right.

Offering abortion as a “solution” to women like this is not only wrong, but it’s not helping them either. It’s enabling their bad decisions. It’s preying on their fears and hardships. And it’s killing their children. Abortion is NOT compassionate.


Note: This post is a reblog from my other blog, The Rational Abolitionist.

23 comments:

  1. What's the point of saying "you shouldn't have had sex" to a woman who's already pregnant? It's not like shaming her for being pregnant is going to make her pregnancy go away. No, all that's going to do is make her feel bad. And it's sick and sad that you think it's your duty to make women with unplanned pregnancies feel even worse than they already do. Seems to me like you're the one here who lacks compassion. So why not try to work on that?

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    1. I didn't say anything about telling pregnant women they shouldn't have had sex. I said we should be trying to educate them in order to prevent the pregnancy in the first place.

      Of course, there are certainly times to tell people that they shouldn't have done what they did - even if it makes them feel bad. Maybe they will learn better for the future if someone tells them the truth instead of worrying about making them feel bad. Telling someone a lie or perpetuating their delusion for the sake of making them feel good is called flattery - and it is NOT a virtue.

      Making someone feel bad isn't the worst thing you could do to them. In fact, it is really far more loving to tell people the truth than to let them blindly keep ruining their lives and lives of those around them.

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  2. Making someone feel bad intentionally still counts as being uncompassionate, no matter how you try to twist it. So why not own up to your lack of compassion?

    And just because someone ends up with an unplanned pregnancy doesn't mean that they don't know how to prevent against pregnancy. Sometimes shit happens, contraceptives don't work like they're supposed to, or people simply forget to use contraceptives in the heat of the moment. Why fault people for making a simple mistake (or for not even making a mistake at all, in terms of when contraceptives were used but they didn't work), when making mistakes is part of being human? I'm sure you've made mistakes at least once in your life. So is it okay for me to make you feel bad about your mistakes?

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    1. If the purpose is to make someone feel bad, then yes it's not compassionate. But if making someone feel bad is a side effect of trying to help them make better choices, then it is compassionate. After all, which is more compassionate when you have a friend who is addicted to meth? To tell them it's okay so you don't make them feel bad OR to tell them they need to stop and they're ruining their life (even if that makes them feel bad)?

      I understand that people make mistakes and that contraception doesn't always work. But people don't get to get out of their mistakes by killing someone. That's not the right solution. And the fact that contraception didn't work doesn't mean it's okay to kill someone either.

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  3. You're not trying to help people make better choices, though. You're trying to tell them how to live their private sex lives, which, quite frankly, is none of your business at all. Why is it so hard for you to mind your own business? Do you think it's your right to be nosy or something? Also, are you really comparing having unprotected sex to doing meth? And you think that comparison makes sense?

    And a fetus is barely alive at all at the time most abortions are performed. It can't think, feel pain, or know it exists.** So what's so wrong about killing it at that point?

    **Here's proof:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2005/dec/fetus-feel-pain/

    http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-human-condition/2010/06/25/does-the-fetus-feel-pain-uk-report-says-no.html

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1566772,00.html

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352185/pdf/bmj00561-0037.pdf

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0528.1999.tb08424.x/full

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    1. So you're saying it's okay to kill someone as long as they don't feel any pain and don't know you're killing them? I guess a bullet to the brain while they're asleep must be okay then.

      By the way, there's no such thing as "barely alive." You're either alive or you're not. There's no in-between. It's scientific fact that a human embryo is alive and is a human individual. The only differences between a child in the womb and a born child are:
      Location
      Size
      Stage of development
      Degree of dependency

      So, which of those do you think makes some humans worthless and able to be killed? Because it won't apply only to the unborn.

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  4. Wow. You really do use black-and-white thinking, don't you? You're completely unable to see the shades of grey in life. But whether you can understand it or not, there is such a thing as being "barely alive." After all, a brain-dead person on life support isn't just as alive as you are. Nor is a first-trimester fetus just as alive as you are. The human brain is incredibly complex, so it's completely possible for the brain to cause someone to be less alive than you are. Yet you seem to want to ignore the complexities of the human brain, just so you can pretend that life is as simple as "you're either alive or you aren't." Why do you expect me to be okay with your willful ignorance?

    And you can make a case for killing someone in their sleep, as long as it's done out of self-defense and there are no other ways to get away from them. But, again, who cares about the shades of grey in life? Let's just pretend that "killing is always bad" and leave it at that, even though life is much more complex than that. Seriously, why is critical thinking so hard for you, and why do you refuse to even try to think things through?

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    1. Yes, it is okay to kill for self-defense and self-defense ONLY. It is not self-defense to have an abortion UNLESS the mother's life is actually at stake AND there is no other way to save it. I'm not convinced that is ever the case, but even it was, the vast majority of abortions do not fall under this category.

      Notice that the same reasoning that allows you to kill a born person (for self-defense when there is no other way to save your life) applies to the unborn. That is because both cases involve a human being that you can't merely kill without justification. The justifications that allow for killing a born human being also apply to the unborn and are the only justifications that are sufficient for taking a human life.

      And you're wrong about being barely alive. "Barely alive" might mean dying, but it doesn't mean partially dead.

      For the record, the vast majority of abortions do not involve dying fetuses either, so the "barely alive" thing wouldn't apply to them anyway. An unborn child in the womb is not only fully alive, but growing at the fastest rate of any human being.

      As for me thinking things through, I spend a lot of time thinking these things through. I just don't spend my time doing mental gymnastics trying to justify abortion as you seem to. You start with the proposition that abortion is okay and then rationalize science and ethics until you come up with something that lets you sleep at night. I, on the other hand, start with facts about what the unborn is (a living, growing human individual) and reason from there with the same exact principles I use to determine whether it is okay to kill other human beings. You're the one with all the exceptions that only apply when you want them to - i.e. to children in the womb, but nobody else.

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  5. So you just want to pretend that pregnancy is always bearable and that it would never cause a woman physical or emotional harm to go through pregnancy? The large majority of women who get an abortion choose to do so for reasons that would count as "self-defense." After all, self-defense is a way of protecting yourself from something that could harm you. And pregnancy does sometimes harm women. But I guess you don't care about that. You don't care what happens to a woman during pregnancy, or how traumatic of an experience pregnancy is for her. No, all you care about is the fetus inside of her. To you, a pregnant woman is just an incubator for the fetus inside of her. Her thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy, and her physical health, just don't matter to you. And somehow, you think that's compassionate. Seems like you're the one doing mental gymnastics here. I can't even imagine how you could possibly think your position on this issue is compassionate at all to women.

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  6. It is true that when an unmarried woman enters an abortion facility to have an abortion it is the last in a serious of decisions she has made. Many of these decisions leading her to the abortion have not been fully responsible ones.

    The pro-live movement, or at least some of the larger organizations within it, have failed to come to grips with the fact that women want abortion. (These groups often lament that women are exploited by the abortionist.) Sure, some are pressured into it. But, the majority of women who opt for abortion are doing just that - choosing it for themselves.

    Thanks for sharing the above article.

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    1. "Many of these decisions leading her to the abortion have not been fully responsible ones."

      Everyone is irresponsible sometimes, including you. So why are you trying to shame women with unplanned pregnancies by saying they were being irresponsible? That's entirely hypocritical of you.

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    2. Hannah,

      We don't want to shame women for being irresponsible. What we are saying is that they don't have a right to kill their unborn children in order to get out of the consequences of their irresponsible behavior.

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  7. Lindsay, since you haven't replied to my most recent comment to you in the past 12 days, here it is again. Please actually respond to it this time:

    So you just want to pretend that pregnancy is always bearable and that it would never cause a woman physical or emotional harm to go through pregnancy? The large majority of women who get an abortion choose to do so for reasons that would count as "self-defense." After all, self-defense is a way of protecting yourself from something that could harm you. And pregnancy does sometimes harm women. But I guess you don't care about that. You don't care what happens to a woman during pregnancy, or how traumatic of an experience pregnancy is for her. No, all you care about is the fetus inside of her. To you, a pregnant woman is just an incubator for the fetus inside of her. Her thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy, and her physical health, just don't matter to you. And somehow, you think that's compassionate. Seems like you're the one doing mental gymnastics here. I can't even imagine how you could possibly think your position on this issue is compassionate at all to women.

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    1. I don't pretend that pregnancy is always pleasant or that it never causes physical or emotional harm. What I'm saying is that those things don't trump a child's right to live. Until a woman's life is actually at stake, it's not self-defense to kill her child. So don't pretend that most women get abortions out of self-defense. That's patently absurd.

      What it comes down to is that, since an unborn human child is just as human and has exactly the same rights as a born child, if any rationale wouldn't be sufficient justification for killing a born child, it isn't sufficient justification for killing an unborn child. So if it's not okay to kill a toddler when having him around causes emotional distress to his mother, it's not okay to kill an unborn child for reasons of emotional distress either. If it's not okay to kill a toddler because his mother can't afford him, it's not okay to kill an unborn child for that reason either. If it's not okay to kill a newborn because her mother doesn't feel ready to be a mother yet, it's not okay to kill an unborn child for that reason either.

      It's really very simple. If you're going to kill a human being, you have to have sufficient justification or it's wrong. Self-defense, where the life of one person is directly and immediately at stake unless the other person dies, is the only sufficient justification for taking an innocent human life. Emotional distress and physical pain and other complaints, though very unpleasant, do not justify killing an innocent person.

      As for the idea that I think women are only incubators, that's absurd. For one thing, I am a woman. And I'm a lot more than an incubator. But I don't have the right to kill my children merely because they cause me trouble or emotional distress.

      And I also think women are capable of standing up to hardship and fighting for what's right. They aren't such delicate little things that a little emotional distress makes them incapable of surviving. Women are strong. They don't need to be able to kill their children in order to be able to cope, as you seem to think. Having to care for their own child isn't such a huge hardship that women can't handle it.

      You might think my position isn't compassionate to women, but at least I treat them like capable adults who can make right choices and take responsibility for their actions. You want to infantilize them and pretend they're too weak to handle something as basic as giving birth and thus that they have to be allowed to kill their own children to protect their delicate bodies and emotions from the strain of unexpected motherhood. Your position isn't so compassionate after all. It certainly isn't very compassionate to the children who get eliminated in the name of "choice" for women.

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  10. What profanity did I use? And why is profanity so wrong, anyways? It's just words. You have the ability to decide whether or not those words have any power over you. So, really, it's your fault that you get offended by profanity.

    (Ten bucks says you delete this and claim that it had profanity in it, even though that's an outright lie. I guess the parts of the Bible that tell you not to lie just don't mean anything to you, huh?)

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    1. You used the "s" word. There are children that read this blog. Please keep it suitable for children's eyes.

      It's my blog, my rules. If you don't like them, go somewhere else.

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  12. The tone of Hannah's comments is so harsh that I admit I have not read them all. It seems to me that she may be post-abortive or a former or current abortion facility worker. Reasoned debate seems not possible with her.

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