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Friday, July 26, 2013

What You Say vs. How You Say It

The recent debacle over HB2 in Texas was pretty heated. It even caused me to write about it with an emotional fervor that is usually lacking in my articles (since I try to write with a clear head, using logic rather than emotion). To be honest, I don't think any of the pro-choice people there distinguished themselves as clear thinkers on the issue. There were many signs that were just really bad, the result of poorly thinking through the issue. There's one sign in particular that has really caused an uproar that was created by 14-year-old pro-choice advocate Tuesday Cain, which stated: "Jesus Isn't a Dick, so Keep Him Out of My Vagina."

This sign has led to some pro-life people calling Ms. Cain a whore, and other unkind names. Now let's be clear, it is never okay to call a woman (especially an underage girl) a whore, or other dirty names. And I think she should be commended for having the courage to engage in a very controversial topic (although she has reached a conclusion that I, personally, disagree with). But let's be fair, she created a sexually-explicit sign, one that essentially takes a beloved religious figure and makes a vulgar statement out of it. Peoples' faith are a very important and personal part of who they are. While their behavior is not justified, it's at least understandable why people would be upset. But let's be fair again. Why are people so upset that Ms. Cain was called a whore, but no one seems upset that a 14-year-old girl would hold a sexually explicit sign, or that her parents would allow her, in fact, support her in doing so? Seems like a double standard to me.

Being insulted, while not right, is just par for the course. Believe me, I've been called much worse for no other crime than simply being a man who believes that unborn human life should be protected in the womb. If her parents want to shelter her from insults, they should encourage her to wait until she's older to engage in this issue. It has been a huge part of this blog to not only equip pro-life people with the best arguments for our side, avoiding the lousy ones, and to make them aware of the best, and lousiest, arguments for the pro-choice side. But I also spend a great deal of effort in trying to equip pro-life people to make our case effectively, which includes not resorting to yelling or name-calling, even if we are insulted first. So to reiterate (because I'm sure there will still be readers who will overlook my previous statements to this effect), I am not advocating what pro-life people did in response. I think it was shameful behavior, but I do think it was understandable.

LifeNews wrote an article about this sign in particular. As was recently pointed out to me, Tuesday Cain wrote an article of her own talking about her decision to create and hold this sign. I would like to weigh in and respond to her article. I think this is a perfect example to show that how you say something is at least as important as what you say.

I appreciate the fact that she weighed in on the situation. I appreciate it because not only do we now have a better understanding of her position, but also because this helps to put a face on the pro-choice advocate holding a sign that we don't agree with or don't approve of. It helps us remember that these are actual people who are holding these signs, not faceless pro-choice automatons. And it's because of that reason that they deserve a well-thought out response, not more cliches and soundbites.

She begins her article giving us some information about herself (I likewise enjoy art and music, being a musician myself, though I prefer in-person communication over talking on the phone). But then she says she wants to be a science teacher. Bearing in mind that according to embryologists, human life begins at fertilization, it will be interesting to see how she justifies her stance on abortion. As Dr. Jerome LeJeune, the geneticist who discovered that Down's Syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome, has said"To accept the fact that, after fertilization has taken place, a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or of opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention. It is plain experimental evidence." She then says that she believes in a woman's right to choose and the separation of church and state.

The "right to choose" is just a pro-choice euphemism, and one that's not very helpful. Everyone believes in the right to choose. My friend Josh Brahm likes to say that we believe in all sorts of choices for women: where to go to school, what religion (or none) to follow, whom to marry, etc. Simply having the ability to choose an act doesn't give us the right to choose it. I could choose to rape somebody but that doesn't give me the right to do it (although I do generally enjoy the right to make choices). But some choices are wrong.

Tacking on the separation of church and state is also not helpful. Abortion is not a religious position. The pro-life position is one shared by many Atheists and Agnostics, and there are religious people who are pro-choice. Abortion is a human rights issue. Abortion is a scientific and philosophical issue. As I've heard Scott Klusendorf argue in a debate against embryologist Malcolm Potts, the state does not have to take a stance on whether or not you have a soul to make it illegal to kill you.

Ms. Cain goes on to suggest that her reason for making the sign was to grab peoples' attention to protest the "scary restrictions" of HB2. First, it certainly grabbed peoples' attention, but in a way she didn't want it to. Second, it was good for shock value, but that's it. It doesn't make a reasoned case for why we should oppose HB2. In fact, it seems that she's just buying into pro-choice propaganda. Do you know what HB2 does? It's not really designed to restrict access to abortion (though that would certainly result in some cases). HB2 would make abortions on pain-capable unborn children illegal, which is from 20 weeks in utero on. And by the way, the majority of American citizens oppose late-term abortion so this isn't a controversial ban at all. According to a 2011 Gallup Poll, 94% of people who consider themselves pro-life and 79% of people who consider themselves pro-choice support a ban on abortions in the third trimester. And 90% of people who consider themselves pro-life, as well as 52% of people who consider themselves pro-choice, support a ban on abortions in the second trimester.

HB2 also would require abortion clinics to abide by a certain standard of cleanliness and sanitation (which is required of all medical facilities) in order to perform abortions. I would think that the side of the issue that prides themselves on supporting women's health would be ecstatic that women will be able to have abortions in sanitary rooms with sterilized equipment.

Additionally, HB2 would require abortionists to have practicing privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. Considering that abortion is an inherently dangerous procedure, this is just another piece of common-sense legislation. There are those who argue that abortion is safer than pregnancy and child-birth, which is debatable (since usually abortion-related deaths are figured into the deaths related to pregnancy), but the claim I'm making is that abortion, itself, is inherently dangerous. It's an unnatural procedure, and one that is usually performed blind (though ultrasound technology is sometimes used). In his textbook on abortion, Abortion Practice (Philadelphia, J. Lippincott 1990, pp. 103-104), Warren Hern quotes another abortionist, William Rashbaum, who said, "After I had done 1000 [abortions], I thought I was an expert, but by the time I had done 5000, I realized I was learning a lot. At this point, having done somewhere around 12,000 procedures, I'm beginning to think I'm reasonably competent." There are also many complications that can arise from a botched abortion, and since 1973, as of 2011, four-hundred women have died from legalized abortion. [1] If something goes wrong, the doctor needs to rush the woman to the hospital.

Tuesday goes on to say that she knew someone who has had a few abortions, (supposedly) regretting her abortions and now fighting against a "woman's right to choose" (read: a woman's "right" to have her child killed). Because of this, Ms. Cain believes it is all the more important for her to stand up for abortion. However, this doesn't really even make sense. Because a woman regrets her abortion, that makes it all the more important for her to stand up and support it? Shouldn't this give her pause and cause her to question why this person she knows now believes that abortion is wrong? [2]

She recounts an encounter that she had, when a pro-life person yelled at her. This person was definitely in the wrong. I can't even imagine what would cause him to fly off the handle and yell like that at a teenage girl. It would be better for all involved if people like him would stay home rather than go to pro-life events and make a fool out of himself and those whose position he shares.

In fact, this is a point that pro-life blogger Nathaniel Givens would add. By being belligerent and yelling at a pro-choice person (especially a young, impressionable one), you are only solidifying her resolve to support the pro-choice position. She and the people she knows are more likely now to continue seeing pro-life people in a negative light because of this encounter.

Unfortunately, it seems that Ms. Cain now believes that all pro-life people are like that, saying that we're "bullies" and that she "won't let [pro-life advocates] win in the fight over women's bodies." Unfortunately, it seems she has really bought in to pro-choice propaganda (no doubt taught to her by her own father, who actually supported her holding the sexually-explicit sign). Most pro-life people are not like the extreme few. The pro-life position is not that women are in any way inferior and that we want to control their bodies. In fact, according to a recent Gallup Poll, a full 46% of women in the United States consider themselves pro-life. The pro-life position is that the unborn are valuable human beings. They should not be intentionally killed without strong justification. Science has shown that the unborn are human beings, so killing them for most reasons is morally unacceptable, especially considering that the vast majority of women willingly engage in an act intrinsically ordered to creation of new human life.

So essentially, pro-life people really need to wake up and stop letting their emotions rule over them. Calling anyone a whore is unacceptable, especially a teenage girl. No matter how much they provoke us (and let's be honest, she was trying to provoke with that sign), we can't act like children just because they hurt our feelings. Let the pro-choice side alienate people. Right now we're fighting an uphill battle against abortion giants and biased media. We don't need any more bad press than we already have. Let's win the day by making the pro-life case persuasively, by using good arguments, and effectively, by being good ambassadors for the pro-life position.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Abortion Surveillance—United States, 2007”,Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 60, no. 1 (February 25, 2011.)
[2] Granted, I am reading into this a bit, as she's not clear of the motivation behind this person she knows now standing up for the unborn child's right to live. From the wording, it seems reasonable to suppose that it was because she regrets her abortion. Otherwise, why would Tuesday even mention this woman's previous abortions?

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