It Has to Be Seen to Be Believed

In a surreal affront to common decency, anti-abortion lawmakers in Ohio are actually going so far as to have a fetus ‘testify’ in hearings over their latest attack on women’s rights. I know these people think their antics are justified and on some small level I can respect the fact that they are standing on principle. But the fact is, abortion is a legal procedure, women have the right to decide what to do with their own body and stunts like this serve only to play on ignorance and ideology. The anti-choice contingent on the right has long tried to cast abortion as the killing of a baby, but the question is where the priorities lay. Are the rights of a non-viable fetus, heartbeat or no, going to take precedence over a living breathing human being? Is the ultimate goal to confer equal rights on anything that could eventually become a human, i.e. sperm and ovum? Lawmakers in Georgia have an answer for that.

Now, when I said that I respect these lunatics for standing on principle, that’s true, but only to a point. I get that they truly believe in what they’re doing. but what really galls me is that their ‘respect for life’ only extends to the crowning of the head. That’s where my small measure of respect crumbles. When Republicans want to gut support for poor single mothers and children, then it’s harder to take their stances seriously. Things like Head Start and WIC should be the best funded programs in the country if this was a consistent mission. However, it’s a very narrow ideological power play that sees the world through the prism of twisted religious doctrine and can’t process the nuance of reality. Especially when proven methods of reducing abortion (factual sex ed, for example) are completely off the table.

This stunt in Ohio has nothing to do with principle and everything to do with inching further toward a particular brand of christianist theocracy. The”right to life” is simply a hollow dog whistle to the tiny percentage who already agree with their world view.

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6 Responses to “It Has to Be Seen to Be Believed”

  1. The odd part about the first paragraph of your rant is that I’ve read almost the same thing from anti-abolitionists of the 19th century. Truly! You could, with just a little word replacement, reproduce some of the document arguments of the slaveholders almost verbatim.

    You might want to think about that a little. “It’s not human” is an argument with a storied history in America, whatever is legal at that time notwithstanding.

    I have to say though, that agree to some extent with your latter points in this points.

    • Um, except for the part about being a living, breathing human being. The whole crux of the issue is whether or not a fetus could live on its own outside the womb. Unfortunately for your logic, it can’t. Slavery defenders were arguing that black people weren’t human and that’s wrong because they are. I’m arguing that a fetus isn’t a person and that’s right because it isn’t.

      Keep in mind that there are stringent laws against late-term abortion with very few exceptions. However, prior to ex utero viability, the mother is one who gets to make the choice. It’s really pretty simple.

      • And in the 19th century they’d argue the opposite and have science and culture of the day on their side. What the future will say is anyone’s guess.

        The whole crux of this issue is personhood, not self-sustaining viability at that moment. There are, after all, plenty of people around who cannot survive without extensive ongoing life support of one form or another.

      • Sorry, but that’s just a faulty argument. Like I said, one is objectively true, one isn’t. The fact that some people believe in the person-hood of a fetus doesn’t make it so. Your analogy about humans who can’t live on their own is also a canard because there was a time, in most cases, where they were not so debilitated. And how many people would attempt to provide the same care that a paraplegic requires to a non-viable clump of cells? Very, very few because it’s pointless.

        Now, that’s not arguing for a tyranny of the majority; that’s simply stating the obvious. There is a point after which it does become the murder of a child who might have lived outside the womb. However, that is a) highly uncommon and b) already illegal except in certain instances. In fact, the exceptions for such a procedure have to do with the health of the mother so it appears that even fervent anti-abortionists understand the distinction.

      • No. Both objectives were / are believed by their proponents at their respective times in history and both could be backed up by the available science of their respective days.

        Same argument either way allowing for the differences in cultural belief and scientific theory.

        It’s quite likely that, in the future, people will think of abortion and its supporters in exactly the same way as most think of slavery and its past supporters today.

        Think about it. We’re already bringing fetuses to “full term” after miscarriages before the 23 week – unheard of just 10 years ago.

      • So, again, I ask you what the end point is? Full human rights from conception? When do the rights of the mother to decide what to do with her body become paramount? Like I said, there are already laws defining when it is illegal to perform an abortion after a certain point. This would suggest that the health of the mother is the priority for the entire pregnancy. There’s already a distinction.

        And your point about miscarriages is further proof of the slippery slope. Lawmakers in GA are considering legislation to investigate mothers who miscarry. Are we going to charge them with a crime? The entire debate is laughable.

        The idea that the science behind considering a black person a ‘non-human’ is somehow comparable to the science determining a fetus is non-viable is also absurd. There’s simply no question that a fetus is objectively unable to live on its own before around the 27-30th week. I’m not even sure what your statement means: “…bringing fetuses to “full term” after miscarriages before the 23 week.” Who is bringing fetuses to full term after a miscarriage? I’d like to see some proof to back up these allegations.

        I can see you’re sticking to your guns on this issue, but it really comes down to governmental control. Some, such as yourself, seem to want to take a woman’s decisions regarding her body out of her hands and give it to the government and often with men who will never be able to have a child or an abortion. If you believe that the government should have this ability, then there’s nothing they cannot do or force you to do. That’s the end point of your logic. Additionally, to rely on faith and belief in determining life as opposed to facts is just misguided.

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