Archive for February 8th, 2012
Rawstory reports on how one State Senator put in an “every sperm is sacred” amendment proposal to a controversial “personhood” bill in Oklahoma that would make all forms of abortion and some forms of birth control illegal.
The above Monty Python classic song, from the film The Meaning of Life exemplifies why I find arguments opposing contraception and abortion to be so weak.
If one really believed that all human life, even very early stages, was sacred and not to be interfered with, then one would have to question any sort of non-pregnancy related use of male ejaculation. Masturbation, anal sex, and even sex when a woman is not likely ovulating is questionable. One could also argue that women are obligated to have sex when they are ovulating because not to do so does not give the egg a chance to grow. Indeed, birth control during ovulation would be a clear denial of the chance of life.
The idea that abortion or contraception interferes with God’s will is utterly absurd. Humans do all sorts of things ranging from mass murders, wars and genocides to bad diets and dangerous sports. If those things don’t hamper God, not having a baby isn’t going to be some kind of disaster.
The claim that human life is inherently valuable is also a canard. Consider: why do we choose to consider human life valuable? It can’t be valuable just because cells with human DNA are reproducing and creating the building blocks for a later human birth. There is nothing inherently different about those cells than any reproducing cells of any creature, except that given time they will become something else. Moreover, in terms of feeling, intelligence, and capacity to endure pain, the born creatures we slaughter and devour are more like us than early stage human fetuses.
So when someone gets indignant about how abortion is murder, I simply shake my head and think “their imagination is running wild.” The cells that get aborted are no more human or inherently valuable than any creatures early cells. One can imagine a child, a baby, and think about what it could achieve and say that this is being ruthlessly stifled. The same when an ovulating female gives her partner a condom to wear before sex. Or when that same woman chooses not to have sex.
Life is valuable because we choose to value it. Humans have value because they have emotions and thoughts, we can empathize and imagine what it would be like if it was ourselves being killed and not another. Humans ban murder because they want to live in peace, and murder creates threats to our existence. We choose to have a world with stable social systems, customs, traditions and laws.
Abortion and contraception do not kill or harm anything that is truly human, at least in the sense of what it is about being human that causes us to consider human life valuable. The fact that cells can become humans does not alter that fact.
Forcing women to keep a pregnancy to full term or not to use birth control is a violent and repressive form of control, one that does real harm to human dignity and value. Real existing humans are repressed in such cases, and often psychologically abused in order to be made to feel guilty about their choice.
I realize that religious and philosophical reasons many people disagree strongly with what I wrote. I can accept that and respect the difference of opinion. I also find the arguments against abortion when the child is viable outside the womb to be persuasive for a variety of reasons. But the radical anti-abortion argument just seems inherently weak.