The other day on Facebook, I had the pleasure of getting into a debate on the subject of abortion. Unlike most debates that I generally have on Facebook, this one happened to be quite the intense one, and also, I had others who were pro-life commenting. Many times when I get into debates, I notice that it is generally a 3-1 argument in which I am the lonesome pro-lifer. It was refreshing to say the least. I was told by several friends that it was great to see such good arguments coming from the pro-life side.
What started this epic debate? Well, simply put, this picture:
The “Condescending Wonka” Meme is generally used to point out a bad argument. What transpired was an incredibly long debate. Now, I present to you that debate, along with some commentary from myself post-debate. I will comment in parenthesis and in bold. I will assure anonymity the posters and present them with new names. I will also include the gender so you can tell from who’s perspective it is coming from.
Friend 1 M: *eating popcorn*
Friend 2 M: Sure, you can egg on if you want; it’s an illogical statement as written. It sounds like a man can instigate an abortion via a sex act or something. Also of course your idealistic vision completely ignores a woman being raped and her rapist running off into the night. The man has no further choice in this act of reproduction nor does he probably care.
Mostly this one fails because you’re assuming the situation you want it to be. (Considering this is the reason for why abortion needs to be kept legal, the reality is just the opposite, those who are getting abortions report the reason of rape being only about 2%. See below.)
Myself (Jeff): Friend 2, I hate to rain on your parade, but rape is only the reason in about 2% of abortions. On top of that, women who have been raped and go through with an abortion generally report having the traumatic experience of the rape reopened, whereas women who go through with the pregnancy do not. (Not to mention the fact that we are killing a live person, who is completely innocent of doing anything wrong. The death penalty is opposed for reasons such as ‘what about those who are falsely accused’ or ‘you need to be 100% sure they are guilty of the crime’. Sadly, if the person is guilty of killing another person, they are given more leeway than an innocent unborn baby.)
When you want to stop throwing around illogical arguments that sound all warm and fuzzy on the outside, but which actual real world scenarios do not play in favor to your point of view, then we can continue.
Friend 1 M: I agree with Jeff. Just because a baby was produced from a rape, killing it is not the answer. Two wrongs don’t make a right. There are many couples/families out there that would be willing to provide a loving home to that baby. Why not take the result of a terrible act and turn it into something that will add happiness to another family for the rest of their lives? That seems like a much better situation than being raped and then killing a baby. (Solid point.)
Friend 3 F: Females can asexually reproduce! It’s called parthogenesis. Aphids and reptiles do it all the time (right, because we are aphids or reptiles, my bad). So why don’t you tell me again how rapists financially support a child born from rape? (I’m fairly certain that there are government programs that would pay for healthcare.) Also: the male contribution for a life: That one sperm that one time. Female contribution: Incubate the thing for nine months. (Ah, the “women don’t need a man argument”.) Who has the greater burden? (Obviously women do. I’m not saying that they don’t. But as human beings we need a man and a woman to create a child, despite the amount that liberals are trying to change the natural order of our world. And just because we have science to do it without that interaction, doesn’t make it right. Remember the Nuremberg Trials?)
Friend 2 M: Jeff: I’m not explaining away all abortion, just saying your dorky meme picture isn’t fully encompassing all scenarios because it seems to imply consensual reproduction with a man who will be there to care about it. (I’ll admit its not the best meme, but, the purpose was to disprove one of the more common arguments, not every single one.)
Friend 1 M: It is irrelevant whether or not it is the mother or father’s choice. It should not be a choice period.
Friend 4 M: I’m against abortions, but for killing babies. (He’s trying to be funny. He isn’t.)
Jeff: Friend 4: So is President Obama, at least that’s what he says and how his voting record reflects. (My clever response.)
Friend 3 F: That’s nice if your faith informs you that there shouldn’t be abortions. (Weird, I don’t recall mentioning my faith at all. *Looks up at previous posts*, nope, I didn’t.) Christian Scientists and Jehovah’s witnesses are informed by their faith to reject all medical interventions, but that doesn’t preclude others from seeking life-saving treatments (Okay, not sure what that has to do with anything). Freedom of religion also applies to freedom from other religious views (Here, let me put down what the First Amendment says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF;”). You also have to accept that people who are pro-choice aren’t a bunch of slutty baby-killers, they are informed citizens who read things like peer reviewed research that prove that when women have greater reproductive freedom, society as a whole benefits (Never said they were slutty baby-killers…is your conscience bothering you? Also, there are many peer reviewed research in favor of pro-life views. So, who’s right?). No one is going to force an abortion on people who don’t believe in them, but sorry, you’re not going to use your faith to convince anyone who believes higher uses of contraception and reproductive rights benefit women in the long run of anything different (Seriously, I didn’t even mention my faith, why do you hate faith so much? Also, its interesting that Planned Parenthood never suggests adoption places or alternatives to abortion. Maybe I’m just a cynic.). Because of, you know, that thing called data. (Are you referring to the data that suggests abortion is detrimental to a woman’s health and psychological health, or just the data that supports your point of view?)
Friend 5 F: Burden. We do it b/c we love them. They make us nauseated and make us crave things and kick our insides and squash our bladders and hurt our backs and stretch out our former bikini bodies and keep us up at night but we love them. They weren’t conceived by their own decision, rape or not. For me, it’s like caring for a loved one who is sick and helpless. An elderly parent doesn’t ask to get cancer or osteoporosis or Parkinson’s disease but we care for them b/c we love them. It isn’t about what’s convenient or easiest for us. (Self-sacrificing love is the purest love that we can offer everyone. Hence why Christ’s sacrifice means so much.)
Friend 6 M: Friend 3, the arguments against abortion, as with all ethical arguments, derive neither from science nor from faith, but from philosophy. You would never say, “Don’t put your religion on me” when it comes to the moral injunction against rape, any more than you would say, “The data demonstrates rape to be morally justified in certain circumstances.” You conveniently ignore the philosophical argument, which is rooted in our concepts of personhood and rights. (Well put.)
Friend 3 F: You conveniently ignore that others’ philosophies differ from yours.
Friend 6 M: Not at all. But I do disagree.
Friend 6 M: I should say that I do not mean “philosophy” in the colloquial sense of “opinion”, but in the sense of an intellectual discipline and mode of discourse. To be sure, there are philosophers in this sense that are pro-abortion (i.e. Peter Singer), but I have read them and I have good cause for disagreeing.
Friend 4 M: Jeff: I wish you’d told me that sooner. I would have voted for him. (Thankfully, this was his last comment…)
Friend 1 M: Friend 3: you are the first person in this thread to bring up religion. I think for most people, religion has nothing to do with determining whether or not to end the life of a baby. No viable life should be ended on purpose ever. I don’t say that as a Catholic, I say that as a human being. I have been a Catholic my entire life and have just become pro-life over the past couple of years. I have two biological children of my own and have been going through the process of adopting a third for the past year. (But, I thought those children were unwanted? (Sarcasm)) After waiting and meeting other people who have been touched by adoption, I feel that there is no reason for abortion. (There never is.) It is all well and good to teach women about contraceptives and all that but they should also be taught that no contraceptives are 100% and if you choose to have sex and get pregnant, you should have to deal with the consequences. (I get the point here, but a baby isn’t a “consequence”, at least in the sense of it being “bad”.) It would be hard, but life is hard and that is no excuse to kill a baby.
Stay tuned for part two!