Sunday, August 9, 2015

Stop Pontificating on Abortion

***This is not an article arguing for either the pro-choice or the pro-life side. This is an article asking some complicated questions about abortion that we can't answer, and some we won't answer, prompted by a barrage of myopic pro-life and pro-choice articles I've read.***

    I'd like to remind those debating about abortion of one simple fact:
    You don't know when life begins.
    If you want to argue that life starts at conception, what do you do with identical twins like me? Did God just throw two souls into one egg? Or am I just one half of a soul to you? And if you don't believe in God yet believe life begins at conception, seriously, how do you make sense of my existence?
    Moreover, what do you do with human chimeras? Were these twins two people, then one died, and God just let that one's cells be absorbed into the other? Or are they two souls in one person? If you're not a believer in God, seriously: what do you say?
    What do you say about the millions of zygotes frozen in time?
    What do you say about in-vitro efforts? Are these people selfishly risking someone's life for their own desires to have a kid - really?
    What do you say about the spontaneous abortions that end a pregnancy within days of conception - whose frequency, for the record, the birth control you usually oppose lessens?
    What do you say about the fetuses who, tragically, don't have a brain? Were they ever alive?
    Where is life, as a matter of fact? Is it in the brain? Is it consciousness? Have you considered the varying degrees of consciousness that all animals have, yet you eat them?
     Is life in the soul, if you believe in souls? Again, when does the soul enter your body?
     Now, if you don't believe that life begins until a baby is born, what do you do with late-term abortions whose babies can sometimes be born alive?
     What do you do with the fact that babies can be born earlier and earlier due to increasing medical technology?
     Okay. The point is this:
     You don't know when life begins.

     "We must therefore protect anything that can be life!" is an understandable conclusion. Except you're then faced with how we don't protect life once it's born, with our society's permitting of verbal abuse and sexism and classism and racism and LGBTQ+ bigotry, etc. Plus, I'm betting precious few of you have adopted an unwanted child, and many of you view unmarried sex as shameful. And if you believe in hell, what if the baby you forced to be born grows up to reject whatever god you hold?
    Okay, but two wrongs don't make a right.
    Still, you then must acknowledge - I want to hear you pro-lifers answer this - that you are forcing a woman whose life has definitely begun to have her body rearranged for nine months, to endure a discrimination and invasion of privacy. You are taking away her bodily autonomy, and if you are a man, I would also like to hear you admit that this is something your sex has done to women throughout history in a variety of ways.
    Because on both sides of the debate, a body is torn apart. Pregnancy is no easy feat - it's painful and a woman's organs are actually rearranged in her body and sometimes this is, you know, dangerous.
     If you want to go through this, yay. But how can you command someone to go through this if she doesn't want to?
    And obviously, in abortion, I want to hear pro-choicers answer that, yes, a fetus's organs are torn apart, and there is a possibility that this fetus - whose life may or may not have begun - can feel pain. During abortion, you do risk taking someone helpless's bodily autonomy away.
    So: is it moral to risk your life for someone who may or may not yet exist? And is it moral to force someone to do this? And is it moral to pontificate and shame the experience of marginalized women who made hard choices, either for or against aboriton?

    These are serious morality and metaphysical questions here, and these cannot be answered in laws or blogs or tweets.
    So no, once again, I'm not arguing for or against abortion here. I'm simply saying that you need to acknowledge the limits of your knowledge and the implication of your beliefs, and blogs and tweets do not accomplish this (including this post, since I've never experienced anything like this).
    So please stop pontificating. Please listen and learn, with compassion and empathy.
    Because abortion is just a name for a hard situation that involves real people.
    Thank you.


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