Dissecting Pro-Life Opinion Pieces: “Abortion is Always Wrong”

Not surprisingly, a letter from Faust was published on the first newspaper of November. I won’t be dissecting that letter because it’s the same tired pro-life talking points he’s been recycling since he first submitted a pro-life opinion piece—the first known one being in 2010. I did pen a response to this letter, which was published a couple weeks ago:

“Exceptions to ‘child murder'”

I counter-protested last month’s Life Chain and was confronted by a woman who eventually stated she wasn’t sure if I knew “how many children are killed by abortion.” When I gave her a daily number of abortions performed based on current data, she scoffed, “My statistics don’t agree with your statistics!” In a different anti-abortion supporter encounter, when I debated the claim “women regret abortions” using a study where 95% of participating women didn’t regret their abortion, I was told, “Who is going to admit they regret something?” I’d love to debate the “science” behind Samuel Faust’s latest piece of recycled anti-abortion drivel, but I also realize it’s pointless because of my own frustrating experiences trying to correct anti-abortion supporters that ignore facts.

I do want to point out an important detail not found in these opinion pieces: the pro-life movement’s exception to abortion. Anti-abortion supporters often find abortion acceptable in certain situations, mainly when pregnancy is a threat to the woman’s life. While conversing with Faust in the early days of his group protesting Essential Health Clinic, I found he was supportive of this “life of the mother” exception. Around that same time, I attended an anti-abortion seminar hosted by the Wisconsin Right to Life—Faust is the chairman for their Jackson County chapter—and the speaker confirmed the organization supports life-of-the-mother exceptions. In 2011, Pro-Life Wisconsin reported that WRTL’s Legislative Director, Susan Armacost, issued a memo to legislators regarding a partial birth abortion ban proposed by Rep. David Craig: “Should you decide to co-sponsor Rep. Craig’s measure, please know that it must be amended to add a life of the mother exception to meet constitutional standards”.    

Assuming support for this exception remains unchanged, riddle me this, Mr. Faust: Why make any exceptions to something that is described as a “disgusting” “evil” that “allows babies to be murdered”? How could anyone believe that “Abortion kills children” and “Pre-born babies that are a threat to the mother’s life can be killed”? Surely, you cannot place blame on an innocent baby for risking the life of the mother! Why not just expect or force women to carry fatal pregnancies to give their babies a chance at life in the off-chance her trusted doctor is wrong or if the baby can somehow live while the mother dies? Does the essence and identity of the baby change if abortion becomes medically necessary to save the mother’s life or is it still an innocent baby and the mother is a murderer for getting an abortion so she can stay alive? Please use scientifically accurate statements if you decide to defend this exception to “child murder”, which I know you’ll have no issue with since you’re pro-science.

Furthermore, Faust has repeatedly compared abortion to the Holocaust. Is it wrong to think it’s absurd for someone to make an exception to abortion when that person compares abortion to this horrible human atrocity? After all, the only people that find any aspect of the Holocaust acceptable are Nazis. If someone that was so outraged by the horrors of the Holocaust that they regularly write opinion letters condemning Hitler’s actions argued that the Nazis killing a small number of innocent people just for being gay was perfectly fine, we’d probably call that person a Nazi.

Anti-abortion people only need to admit that the “right to life” is negotiable and not absolute to clear up any confusion. However, this would also require them to admit they compromise the definition of right to life to accommodate women, which inadvertently acknowledges that women’s reproductive rights are more important than fetal life.     

Sam Simmons 

Last week’s paper did have a response to this letter. I had peeked at it and saw the sentence “I never thought that I would agree with opinions expressed by Sam Simmons”. This past week I was busy preparing for a bake sale fundraiser for Network for Youth, a relatively new non-profit that works to help children aging out of the foster care system, as well as a vendor booth for the Christkindl Festival. Having an idea of what the rest of the letter would be like and not needing the extra negativity to go with my existing stress and anxiety over the preparations, I decided not to read it until after Christkindl.

And, boy, did it not fail it deliver on bullshit! For this letter, I’ll be dissecting it into sections instead of the usual posting the entire letter and then offering commentary afterwards. Here’s “Abortions are always wrong” by Tim Hopkins:

I never thought that I would agree with opinions expressed by Sam Simmons, but as they say “Will wonders never cease.” In her most recent letter to the editor, there were three things about which I do agree with.

First of all, and most importantly, I was glad to see that she does acknowledge that the pre-born child is alive.

While I didn’t make a specific statement that “the pre-born child is alive”, I had used the term “fetal life“.

I do acknowledge the fetus is alive. Just as a tree is alive or a fertilized chicken egg is alive, but we don’t call seeds “trees” or a fertilized chicken egg a “bird”. The question is not whether a fetus alive, but if it’s a person. When pro-choice supporters say they don’t consider a fetus a person, pro-life supporters translates that as “I don’t believe the fetus is alive” because they see “life” and “person hood” as the same thing.

To quote the end of her letter, she complains of those who think the “women’s reproductive rights are more important than fetal life.” 

Wait…what?

Here’s a perfect example of the pro-life movements ability to manipulate information. He only quoted a partial quote and then took it out of context to claim I was complaining about those that think women’s reproductive rights are more important than fetal life.

I thought this quote was pretty clear that I wasn’t complaining about putting women’s reproductive rights before fetal life, but rather stating that pro-lifers would have to admit that their idea of “right to life” is negotiable when they make abortion exceptions, which would require them to acknowledge they compromise the definition of right to life to accommodate women and, by extension, acknowledge that women’s reproductive rights are more important than fetal life. I didn’t think that required further explanation. I mean….it’s right in the damn quote.

The full quote: Anti-abortion people only need to admit that the “right to life” is negotiable and not absolute to clear up any confusion. However, this would also require them to admit they compromise the definition of right to life to accommodate women, which inadvertently acknowledges that women’s reproductive rights are more important than fetal life.     

Plus, the beginning letter described me counter protesting a pro-life event and debating the claim that women regret abortions! How the Hell did this guy come to the conclusion that I was complaining about reproductive rights trumping fetal life?????!!!!

If she did not think the fetus was alive, there would be nothing for her to complain about. Yes, Sam, the fetus is alive. I could not agree more.

Again, I wasn’t complaining.

Our second point of agreement is in regard to the Holocaust. The killing of anyone, whether they are Jewish or Gypsy or gay, is wrong. Murder is murder, and murder is wrong. I am a veteran. I have been to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC. It is a horrible reminder of man’s inhumanity to man. The names of more than 58,000 people are inscribed on that wall. But, according to the CDC, there are more than 2,000 babies killed in abortions every day. That means there are more than 60,000 babies killed by abortion every month. I think we can all agree which is the bigger number and which is the bigger wrong.

I guess that really depends on each individual’s opinion on what a person is and if abortion itself is more horrible than ripping living, breathing people from their homes, putting them in concentration camps, executing the ones that are unfit for work to death, overworking the ones that are physically able to work, starving them, having them live in horrible conditions, and leave them without several lifetime’s worth of PTSD if they managed to survive all that without dying from being overworked, sickness, starved, shot, gassed, experimented on, and whatever causes of death I forgot to list.

But he wants to talk about bigger numbers and bigger wrongs regarding man’s inhumanity to man? When I counter protested the Life Chain, my sign asked “Where are your pro-life vigils for these children?” followed by numbers on hunger, homelessness, foster care, and immigration detention centers. Most of these numbers were much larger than abortion statistics. Yet you don’t see the so-called “pro-life” movement tackling these “bigger” issues despite most of them being possible reasons women get abortions.

My letter mentioned being approached by a woman who was given a daily number of abortions, which closely match what the writer states, and she DISAGREED that those numbers were correct. But when it’s spoken by a pro-lifer, suddenly those numbers are accurate???

Our last point of agreement is in regard to an abortion done to save the life of the mother. I am completely pro-life. I am a vegetarian so I won’t be killing animals. I don’t believe in putting the dog down because it is too old or sick. I don’t believe in the death penalty. I don’t believe in euthanasia. I don’t believe in doctor-assisted suicide.

I literally laughed out loud when I read the claim that he was completely pro-life and then stated he was vegetarian so he wouldn’t be killing animals.

Vegetarian means you don’t eat meat. Depending on his degree of vegetarian diet, he could still partake in eggs and milk. If chickens lay eggs or cows produce milk, it doesn’t kill the animal.

HOWEVER…there are things to consider.

Male chicks in the egg industry are considered useless because they don’t make eggs and they are not used for meat. What happens to these male chicks? Well, they are put into a machine that grinds them to death! When hens slow down on egg production, they are processed into meat.

He could buy eggs directly from a small farmer, but there’s the possibility of fertilized eggs if that farmer raises roosters. So he would have to get his eggs from a farmer that doesn’t raise roosters or admit that he doesn’t consider fertilized chicken eggs as bird life, which would compromise his claim that he’s “completely pro-life”.

But milk doesn’t kill the animal either…right? Cows are forcibly impregnated in order to produce milk meant for calves—I mean, that kind of fits into the pro-life idea that women should be forced to carry pregnancies that maybe they didn’t want and not giving a shit about the child once it’s born. But if a heifer stops producing milk or is found to be not great at producing milk, she can be sold at market and slaughtered for beef. Male calves can be killed for veal.

We have the county fair in town that has an animal auction. I admittedly don’t know much about it as I’m not a farmer myself. What I do know is that there are dairy farmers that will enter their animals to win ribbons and then sell them at the animal auction and at least some of those animals will be turned into meat.

The writer should know all of this as an acquaintance informed me that his family farms and he lives across the road from it. “I think its dairy, but I’m not sure what all they do.” (Oh, and apparently reads the paper while he drives. I guess reading the paper is more important than potentially not running over people—how prolife!)

The reality is he’s not “completely pro-life” (by his own definition) if he’s buying his milk and eggs from a grocery store or from a farmer that kills their animals once they are no longer useful or sells their livestock to butchers that will kill them for meat. He would be voluntarily contributing to an industry that kills life. The only way he wouldn’t be a complete hypocrite is if he were to find a farmer that lets their animals live to a ripe old age and die of natural causes and his family farm doesn’t participate in such slaughter whether directly or indirectly.

If the mother’s life is in danger, there is always the choice to have the doctor do a caesarian.

Only if the pregnancy is far along. And what if the woman has a life-saving caesarian and the baby dies anyways?

There have been C-sections done on babies as young as 22 weeks. There have been premature babies born who weighed less than one pound.

Just because there have been babies born at 22 weeks, been under a pound, and survived doesn’t mean that’s the norm. If it were normal for babies to survive that early in gestation, it wouldn’t make headlines. Even Life News called a micro-premie at 22 weeks, less than a pound, and given a 2% chance of survival a “miracle baby”.

About 18,000 very premature babies are born every year with about 5,000 of them being born at 22-23 weeks. The general survival rate for babies born at around 22 weeks is very low and survival rate for any premie depends on many factors like gestational age, weight, how developed the organs are, the presence or absence of infections or deformities, etc. A NY Times article about a study on viability stated most of the babies born at 22 weeks did not survive while a small percentage that did survive had received cutting-edge medical treatment. Regardless, premature babies, especially that young or small, would not survive outside the womb without any sort of medical treatment.

Come to think of it, why do pro-lifers think certain things that cause unnatural death is bad, but aren’t opposed to things that would unnaturally save or extend life?

I am glad to see that there are times when Sam thinks that abortions are wrong. I completely agree. Abortions are wrong. Abortions are always wrong.

I was trying to wrap my head around this. Where did he get the idea that I thought abortions in certain situations were wrong or that we somehow disagreed with abortion to save the life of the mother? I read and re-read my letter multiple times trying to figure out where he got the idea that I stated that there are times when abortion is wrong. The reasonable only explanation I can think of is that I questioned the reasoning behind pro-life supporters making exceptions for abortions and the writer thought I was questioning this because I disagree with those exceptions.

Faust’s letter—the letter I was responding to—had urged pro-choice supporters to own up to some sort of flaw in their beliefs that he pointed out. The point of my letter was to point out a flaw in their logic: calling abortion murder, evil, or wrong, but then making exceptions to this. I wasn’t asking why pro-lifers made such exceptions because I’m opposed to those exceptions, but  was questioning why a pro-lifer that refers to abortion as child killing would find abortion acceptable in some situations that I, a pro-choice supporter, also find acceptable.

Let me make this clear: I’m FOR life of the mother cases for abortion. In fact, this past June, I got banned from liking or commenting any posts on Wisconsin Right to Life’s Facebook page after they called Ireland repealing their abortion ban a “tragedy” (which had a link to a National Right to Life article on the repeal in the comments) and I commented about women who had been affected by the ban, including Savita Halappanavar.

“Interesting that the article you posted claimed people voted yes for no good reason. So Savita [Halappanavar] dying from a septic miscarriage that could have been avoided if she had access to abortion wasn’t a good enough reason? Or the women that had been told they either had to give birth to dead babies or travel to obtain an abortion? Or future women whose health would have been at risk if they carried to term, but wouldn’t be able to because of Ireland’s heart beat laws (which was the case for Savita)?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the assumption you actually support abortion if the pregnancy is a risk to the mother’s life. Or do you not trust doctors or women to make those decisions about their health?”

Of course, the comment has since been deleted by WRTL because pro-life groups want to appear as if everyone is supportive of their efforts and views so thank goodness for screen shots!

Anyways, if the writer had read the letter properly he would have found that he still disagrees with me.