The challenge with discussing abortion, in my opinion, is that it confounds the sharp lines that we need for making laws. Laws settle who has the right to go on a piece of property and who gets to make copies of a document and who is responsible for a defective product. Whether someone should terminate a pregnancy involves a number of impossible shades of grey. The absurd claim that life begins at conception is an effort to project certainty where it does not exist. Note what the anti-abortion groups are pushing for–criminalizing abortion. If their real effort was to reduce the number of abortions they would focus on making contraception more available and attacking poverty. Criminalizing abortion only makes sense if the question is easy. The life begins at conception claim is the tool to do this.
People do not believe life begins at conception. Matt sent me a link to this post from Slacktivist that makes the case in one regard: most anti-abortion activist suggest stop short of bombing abortion clinics. Indeed, as I’ve pointed out, none of the anti-abortion Republican candidates advocated life in prison or the death penalty for doctors or mothers who participated in abortions in a theoretical world without Roe v. Wade and subsequent anti-abortion laws. How is that possible? If abortion is murder, why would you not advocate life in prison? Answer, you don’t think abortion is murder.
The other argument, that I know I’ve made before, is a comparison between a miscarriage and losing a child. Thankfully, Pat & I have never had to suffer through either of these tragedies, but we have been close to those that have. Losing a pregnancy is a heart wrenching tragedy. It does not compare to losing a child. At the risk of being out of line, I will tell you that I would find it offensive if someone made the comparison. It makes me angry.
Likewise, the suggestion that women who chose to terminate their pregnancies are committing murder is sickening. It is the kind of evil crap that has to end.