Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hey, New York, have you heard the news?

I don't consider myself to be a political person. As a matter of fact, I do my best to avoid political discussions whenever possible. They usually aggravate me more than educate. And such discussions never seem to change peoples' minds. Maybe sometimes my silence is taken the wrong way, but I do it for my own good (and for other people's noses as well.) That's why I've been staying quiet with the whole fracking/drilling issue, the war, the economy, Sarah Palin's accounts of history, and most recently, the gay marriage law in NY.

But then I figured...while we're on the topic of equality...well, this is right up my alley. I'll say my piece.
Not for gay rights. Luckily for them, gays and lesbians have voices and can speak up for themselves - which they did! Instead, I'm going go focus on equality for all people - specifically the ones who cannot speak for themselves. Conveniently, we never hear their voices, their arguments, their protests.

If you're rolling your eyes at the looks of another "pro-life, anti-abortion" article, I ask you to focus your eyeballs for a few minutes and read what I have to say. I promise I won't bring in religion (heaven forbid we mention such things), and I promise I won't force my views on you. I'm just going to talk and ask some questions. Feel free to answer below, in your head, or not at all.

There are a few parenting views that strike me as odd when abortion is brought into the mix, and that's what I want to focus on here.

As you may know, I'm about 6 months pregnant with my second baby. As with the first, I signed up for BabyCenter e-mails as well as "Birth Watch" on facebook. I highly recommend both for all expecting parents. They are just so cool. Every week, you get little updates. This week, your baby has grown fingernails. The next week, their hair color can be determined. The next week, they respond to light, movement, stimuli, pain, familiar voices, etc.

Words such as "your baby" and "he" or "she" are used normally and naturally in these updates. Because when a woman signs up for these e-mails, she wants to know about her baby and what's going on inside of her! She's sure to take vitamins, see her doctor/midwife, listen to that amazing, tear-jerking heartbeat, and even get a couple ultrasounds!

But...only if she wants the baby. If she doesn't, then she's discouraged from hearing the heartbeat, looking at the ultrasound screen, referring to the baby as a baby, and instead call it a "fetus" or the "formation of cells and tissue."

It's relative. Or at least that's what pro-choicers think. If the mother wants the baby, well then that baby deserves care. But if the mother doesn't want the baby, that changes everything. The truth becomes variable, and nobody is allowed to make a judgment about the life of that child. Nobody except the mother.

...Which doesn't make much sense. A mother's position is to protect and care for her children. Not to voluntarily chose which ones live or die.

Mothers are very vocal about protecting their children. The Intactivism movement is growing and spreading like wildfire. Intactawhat? Intactivism is a belief that routine infant circumcision needs to end. Non-circumcision. Intact. I'll save my thoughts for another blog post, but in short - I totally agree. I'm all for this. Unless it's medically necessary (which is practically never is), I don't think we should be performing this procedure. I don't hate on people who disagree with me - I'm respectful. Sadly though, some parents who chose to circumcise are called heartless, uneducated, and mutilators.

Oddly enough, however, the same group of people who stick up so much for little boys' private parts have no problem with little boys' entire bodies being burned by chemicals or torn apart by blades, and then vacuumed out of the woman's uterus. They're okay with this because they believe that "equal rights do not begin until birth."

I was appalled the first time I saw this statement.

Are we serious? A perfectly formed, beautiful, ready baby born at 40 weeks will have equal rights. A baby born early at 36 weeks will have equal rights. Even a preemie born at 21 weeks will have equal rights.

BUT if the mother wants to abort her baby at 21 weeks, that's okay. That's legal.

What makes a 21 week old inside of the uterus any less "equal" than a 21 week old baby outside of the uterus?

I really want someone to tell me a logical answer for this.

Equal rights begin at birth? Is that how we defended partial birth abortions? Oh, forgive me for using the incorrect term. It's technically called a "dilation and extraction" procedure.

During a D&X, babies were delivered - almost entirely - but not completely! They were pulled feet first out of the birth canal until the back of their necks were exposed. Then, an incision was made in their upper neck by a sharp knife. Then (I kid you not), their brains were suctioned out, which helped their skull collapse, and then they were delivered. And not alive, either.

But hey, this is okay, right? Had the head accidentally slipped out first, before the doctor got to slice the neck open, that baby would have suddenly been granted equal rights. The doctor wouldn't have been able to finish his procedure. Why not though? Because doing so would have ended its life - otherwise known as (get ready) killing.

But thankfully, since the head wasn't out, since it technically wasn't born yet, we can still end its life.

Imagine, just for a minute, if a mother decided, "Well, let's circumcise the little guy while his bottom is hanging out, before his head is born." She has every reason to believe this is okay - he doesn't have equal rights yet! Go ahead and circumcise the guy.

Can you just hear the Intactivists and Natural Parents throw a fit. I would! How dare you harm that little boy like that! Exposed like that. Defenseless like that. It's infant mutilation and a complete violation of rights.

Right? But somehow people cannot see ending the baby's life - whether by knife, chemicals, tearing of the limbs, or otherwise - as mutilation or violating his rights.

During a circumcision, the baby boy cries. During an abortion, we don't hear it.

Is that the only reason we're against circumcision so much? Because their voices are heard? Because those painful screams tear at our hearts? Do you think an abortion causes any less pain to a baby?
Isn't it obvious that everyone - everyone, including the unborn - has the right to life? Not everyone has the right to go to a fancy school, buy a car, get a trust fund, get a great job. Those things are truly privileges. But being born is not a privilege. Being given a chance to live is not a privilege. It's a right.

How can we look at the development of a baby and pick the time where it doesn't deserve to live? A great man (whose name I shall not mention since I promised not to bring in religion, and his affiliation is religious, but be assured he's awesome and if you want to know who he is, I'll answer you in a comment) once said something to this extent: "Look at a newborn. Now go back a day. Was he any less a human? No. Now go back another day. Any less a human? No. Keep going back until you can say when he was not a human."

People might say, "Well, that's just your personal belief."

But actually, it's not. It's science.

There are so many arguments against pro-lifers, so I won't focus on those now. But I had a great discussion with my sister-in-law months back who provided me with some wonderful articles and insight on the whole "science vs. belief" argument surrounding abortion. I strongly encourage you to read these. As she says, "The main thing is that if life doesn't begin at conception, then what is it that has been conceived?  An almost-person that could develop into something other than a person?  Of course not."

If you don't believe me, I'll end you with these articles from prestigious and prominent scientists from around the world.

Some people might be against reading these. But if you don't, how can you ever expect people to listen to your views, even if they're different from your own? You can't ever expect people to be open-minded if you're not either. 

Princeton - Embryo
Human Rights Quotes
Life Begins
Federal judge: life begins at conception

"This is the moment of conception, when an individual's unique set of DNA is created, a human signature that never existed before and will never be repeated."  
In the Womb, National Geographic, 2005.   

"Biologically speaking, human development begins at fertilization."  
The Biology of Prenatal Development, National Geographic, 2006.

Take home message: equal rights begin at conception, and they continue till natural death.


LuAnn said...

Excellent post on a important topic from an angle I've never heard before! Really great! Thank you!

Sheila said...

I totally agree with you.

I guess the pro-choice response is, "There is no difference before and after birth, but we draw a line there because we have to draw it somewhere." In other words, our culture can decide who we allow to live and who must die, and we've just decided to come up with a rule that says the born have rights and the pre-born don't. It's just up to the mother to decide if her baby is a baby or not. However, if she abuses her newborn, I think we all agree that isn't her right.

That point of view, to me, is very scary. I've heard it said before. One time I've even read a post by a woman who had an abortion in the past, reflecting on how strange it was that she felt her 13-week fetus was her real baby, but the 13-week abortion she had wasn't. How does that work?

Then someone commented and said something like, "I believe our babies keep coming to us until we are ready to receive them. I miscarried my son three times before I finally carried him to term."

Um, I really don't think that's how it works. :P

Anyway, excellent arguments.

Arlee Bird said...

I am with you on the abortion issue. Pro-choicers deal with whatever argument that is convenient to suit the outcome they want, where logically the argument should be essentially the same no matter what. Nowadays logic is often tossed out the window, and the one's screaming that their rights are being threatened are in fact the ones who have most of the rights and ignore the rights of those who are on the correct side.

Tossing It Out