Gosnell and ‘Pro-Choice’: Fleeing From Reason?
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania hosted Gloria Steinem on April 16 as the keynote speaker for their annual Spring Gathering; she commented generally on abortion with a statement indicative of the pro-choice movement’s suddenly prominent reasoning problems. Said Steinem:
If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
Though not an immediately apparent similarity, this branch of Planned Parenthood begins their mission statement on their “Who We Are” page with the same approach. Note the following is not included as a secondary position, but is the first sentence, the initial message they chose to define the organization’s reason for existence:
PPSP believes that every child should be a wanted child.
Of course, both arguments share the distinction of not actually meaning anything. The Steinem quote I find repulsive for reasons clearly not apparent to her: to broach the obvious, that statement sure sounds like the thoughts of someone invested in gender superiority, the belief that us “XYs” are life less worthy of life due to our genetics rather than our individual behavior. The quote is anti-male; in logical terms, Steinem is anti-Y chromosome. This lady precisely harbors disgust for those 58 million or so base pairs.
Again though, her statement doesn’t mean anything, and neither does my disgust with her. She and I could feel and express our emotions all over the Earth regarding abortion, and neither of us would actually be saying anything cogent. Just like Obama, when he said the following regarding gun crime:
If there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save, we've got an obligation to try.
Again, and of course, that statement means nothing regarding his proposed gun-control bill. The statement is true or false independent of the primary issue, which is the effectiveness or legality of his proposed legislation. Similarly, Obama claimed that 90% of the public supports his bill. True or false, the statement means nothing for the task presented to the Senate, which was to decide if a) the bill was legal, and if so, b) if the bill will work.
Returning to Planned Parenthood’s mission statement, you should make the following paramount observation. I hope not to understate its importance:
On abortion and gun control, the advocates are not simply buffering their campaigns with statements bereft of logic, but defining their campaigns as such.
PPSP wants “every child to be a wanted child.” So?
What does that have to do with the only question in this debate, namely: “Is abortion murder, or not?”
Fine: perhaps PPSP addresses this uniquely important question elsewhere, and simply chose an emotionally based stand for the Mission Statement. But no: nowhere on the PPSP website does the organization that provides abortions address why the organization believes abortion is not murder. Meaning the centerpiece of PPSP’s stated reason for existence has precisely nothing to do with the question of abortion.
Same with Obama’s push for gun control: the front-and-center statement chosen to represent the bill has nothing to do with the bill. “Save just one life, therefore expand background checks”? Well, then: “Save just one life, therefore arm all teachers.” Or: “Save just one life, therefore eat fiber-rich breakfast foods.” All three are equally irrelevant statements for addressing the questions of legality and effectiveness.
Objectively: on abortion and gun control, the left has chosen to be prominently illogical. They have been fleeing from reason with these two campaigns. And now we have Kermit Gosnell, whose crimes bring the lack of reason front-and-center.
PPSP and the pro-choice movement in general now have the following struggle on their hands: can they offer the impartial observer -- who now has read the transcript of the Gosnell trial -- a reasoned argument claiming that abortion is not murder?
This is precisely the struggle they have always had on their hands dating back to their founder, the monstrous Nazi-phile Margaret Sanger, and they certainly managed to avoid an “address it or face extinction” situation before. Now, as the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto describes, there doesn’t appear to be any means of going back. Gosnell is now part of the discussion. Specifically, he is part of the discussion as follows: Gosnell killed live babies, but what he did to them inside the womb was indistinguishable to what he did to them outside the womb. New challenges to the pro-choice movement will involve this fact, one which leads inevitably, and immediately, to issues of reason.
And those issues appear insurmountable. Here's why.
The act that occurred outside the womb is not just easily definable as a crime, it is easily understood as a crime. In a state of nature, sans government, intentionally killing a live baby is still aberrant because it is hard-coded -- somewhere in those hated base pairs, Ms. Steinem, we’ll find it there eventually -- that mentally stable humans wish to live. Even babies too young to fathom their own existence: note they are composed of elements designed for survival in their habitat, like limbs and lungs, so just like every other species, they were born to survive. Note that the nervous system is in on it, too -- newborns avoid discomfort and pain, and do not attempt to kill themselves.
So: we say things like “inalienable right to life” not because it sounds like a lovely "mission statement," but because we discovered it was true.
To define one act as murder and the other as … well, as nothing at all particularly, just as an action, the burden of proof is on the pro-choice movement to offer evidence that some change occurred during birth that properly defines the difference between life and not life.
They have the burden, and not the pro-life movement, because the rights of the live baby are easily understood and apparent. Even if the status of the unborn baby is proven to be “unknowable,” the pro-life movement still has no burden because they aren’t the ones interested in doing anything. The pro-choice movement is the side trying to do something: namely, abort. If you want to perform an action, that action must be legal -- as in sans government, “state of nature” legal.
How has Gosnell changed the discourse? Irrelevant, manmade concepts such as “viability,” “wanted vs. unwanted,” “woman’s right to choose,” etc., now have been widely revealed and understood as “running away from reason” topics -- which they logically must be. And so, for the first time, the pro-choice movement is being pressed to answer a question that logically has something to do with … abortion.
Here’s that question:
Is there any proof -- or even evidence -- that the passage through the birth canal transforms the unborn from something not in possession of an inalienable right to life to someone who does possess it? Manmade laws are irrelevant here: in the state of nature, does this transformation actually occur?
If the pro-choice crowd is in possession of this proof, they have been holding their cards for quite a while. As it stands, mankind is unable to prove a transformation occurs.
Bigger uh-oh: logically, this lack of proof does not simply criminalize late-term abortion. If the full-term unborn baby can not be proven bereft of the right to life, the pro-choice crowd then bears the burden of retracing the pregnancy -- second by second -- to find the moment when Nature bestows that right.
The reasoned, logical, unassailable truth -- my emotions, Gloria Steinem’s emotions, Kermit Gosnell’s emotions being objectively irrelevant -- is that no proof of this transformation can be identified tracing back to conception, therefore it occurs at conception.
Am I pro-life? Does Gloria Steinem believe in legal abortion in all circumstances? Enough already: our opinions on food and movies would be precisely as relevant.
After Gosnell, the intellectually honest and inquisitive must accept that abortion necessarily involves the taking of life, which means pro-abortion arguments must necessarily collapse upon themselves and disappear. Of course, intellectual honesty is not a requirement, but a choice.