Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Abortion Issue

Is there anything more complex or controversial? 

I'll begin by saying that I'm getting a little tired of the stupid remarks about Planned parenthood, the US supplier of women's health services. 

It's a funny thing........when I discuss something "heavy" people always demand data, then when I give it to them they ignore it. Data is hard to read, Try this instead:

If you'd like to read the full article, you can find it here, and you should:

Still too complex for you? Try this:

Far more. 

OK, so that's them, how about the bigger picture, because due to the sting on PP, people have been talking about abortion again.

There are two things that crop up in this discussion again and again. First we'll just get the matter of law out of the way. Generally speaking the same people who are anti-abortion are pro-gun. There are exceptions to that, but it is one of the great ironies of the conservative mindset that every fetus must be saved, but if they get shot once they are born, well, never mind. 

And these pro-gun people argue that it's pointless to make guns illegal, because criminals will still have them. Which isn't always true, availability being more to do with quantity, but we'll save that for another day.

These same people think that if if you make abortion illegal, or simply really, really difficult to obtain, it will stop. 

Really? What planet are these people from? 

Prior to Roe v. Wade, as many as 5,000 American women died annually as a direct result of unsafe abortions.

If you'd like to read the full article, you can find it here:

So much for being pro-life.

But the other issue that must be discussed is the one of timing. Some anti-abortionists insist that life begins at conception. I respect that, because any other time, other than birth, can be arbitrary.

However that's not the point. We know it's life. So are many other things we kill daily. This is complete misdirection. And we must think of it as life, because you can't have it all ways. If a pregnant woman is murdered, for example, it's right that the killer stand trial for two deaths. And if a pregnant woman is beaten and loses her baby, that must be a crime. Sometimes it is treated as murder.

Of course this is why anti-abortionists refer to it as murder. But they are missing one key point. In all other areas of the law we have "outs" for lawful killing, where we don't call it murder.

If we kill during self-defence.
If we kill during war.
If we kill through capital punishment.
If we pull the plug on a person in a permanent vegatative state.
If we give up on miners trapped where it's too dangerous for rescuers to go.
If the killer is an American cop, er um, I mean, if we kill a suspect running away from a police officer.

There are lots more. Every single day human lives are ended and it is completely legal. And these are people who had built a life, had hopes and dreams, and people who will miss them.

Which bring us to the fetus question.

There are lies told by both sides of the abortion argument. They both annoy me.

"It's a cluster of cells"
"It's a tiny human being"

Well, the truth is weirder.

That is the face of a 5-week embryo. The joke here would be "Only a mother could love it" and now we are getting closer to the reality. At this stage of development it doesn't look human, and it's so small that only an expert would be able to identify which part of the contents of the uterus were in fact the embryo. 

Mechanical abortion at this stage is actually difficult because the embryo is so small (about the size of an apple pip), it's actually hard to find, and abortions are brought about using chemicals. In fact in most parts of the world where abortion is easily available most are done before 9 weeks, it's a very simple matter usually involving a combination of  two drugs.

Please note I said embryo. We keep hearing the word fetus used in these discussions, but scientifically it is not a fetus until it's 8 weeks old. Why? Roughly speaking, during the embryo stage it develops, during the fetus stage it grows.

Ten points if you get it right.

At 8 weeks the fetus does indeed begin to look human, there's no getting away from it.

It is most definitely not a "cluster of cells". It is a bean sized creature with a head, arms, and legs. The heart is pumping. It is , therefore, life. So let's be sensible about it. But the only reason that at this stage it is "precious" (emotional reaction) is that it is a) human, and b) wanted. If it were a spider that size most of you would kill it with impunity. Plenty of you would kill a mouse much bigger. And unless you are vegan you have a lot of other non-human killing done for you. So it's exceptional only because of the species.

So really, there's no logic involved in wanting to save this tiny thing, only emotion. Instincts etc.

If the child is unwanted by its mother, why do strangers want to save it? There are already too many people on our planet. These strangers will not be supporting the child in any way. In fact most anti-abortionists are conservatives, and object to social support.

The utter hypocrisy here has not been missed, of course.

And last but not least:

Imagine how many hours spent waving banners outside abortion clinics could be spent helping needy kids?

But that's not the greatest hypocrisy, is it? How about Ben Carson who himself used fetal tissue for research, and then slams Planned Parenthood and objects to abortion even in rape and incest cases:

And in an interesting twist, we discover that those behind the PP videos are an anti-vaccination group. Think about that. People who are happy to allow kids to die from preventable diseases. Stem cells are used in the development of vaccines, so I see their connection, but how is pro-life also pro-disease? I cannot figure these people out, and they are becoming dangerous.

Then there's the question of late abortions. Generally speaking these happen because the tests that discover abnormalities are done later. Nobody in their right mind would choose a late abortion. I declined one of these tests, to save public money (yes, really) because the result would have made no difference to me.

So, before we go any further, I must lay my feelings on the line. I hate abortions, with a passion. I hate some of the reasons for abortions too (especially gender of child). But I would never support any measure to make abortions more difficult to obtain, for all of the reasons above, and especially because it's none of my business. Not my body, not my decision.

But there's one more thing. I firmly believe that the actual agenda with so many of the anti-abortionists is simply the control of women's lives. We see it time and time again. And I'm so done with that. We don't want you having abortions, but we object to including contraception in your insurance....or worse.

Finally, it has to be said, the religious angle. I don't share the beliefs of these people but that's irrelevant. If God does everything, then all those "spontaneous" abortions are done by God. Which is anything from 20-50% of conceptions. So God does far more aborting than anyone. Even when women desperately want the baby. So don't waste your breath teling me about God in this topic.

It's really quite simple then. If you hate abortion, don't have one. If you want to prevent abortions, put your efforts into supporting education and contraception. If you have time on your hands use it to support kids already here. Let women make their own decisions. Raise your boys not to rape. Help make a world where abortion isn't necessary.


  1. Hear hear! If you read "The cider house rules" you will know that in olden days the cut off time for abortion, if possible, was quickening, the feeling of movement by the mother. It makes perfect subjective sense. Until that time it always felt as if I were in a weird condition. Once you feel that movement you are no longer alone. My two cents on the topic some years ago.

  2. PS love the graphs and illustrations.

  3. Well, you already know that I agree with your stance; I am very much against abortion....for myself. I have intimate knowledge of the procedure and the after effects so for me, it is a non-issue. HOWEVER, when it is not my womb, it is none of my business. Period. This is a decision that can be made by the woman/girl involved - only. Not the father, not her parents, not the government but the owner of the womb.