40 Years and Roe’s not looking any better

by Roger Resler

I discovered the writings of Francis Beckwith while doing research on the update and revision of my audio-book turned print edition, Compelling Interest. His name kept popping up in the reference section and footnotes of the materials I was reading.  Unfortunately, I did not actually get a copy of his book, or see any of his writings (other than what was quoted in other materials) until after my updated manuscript was finished. Once I began reading his materials on abortion, I was amazed at how similar our conclusions are regarding the abortion debate. Certainly some similarities are to be expected, given that we are both pro-life and both writing on the topic of abortion, but I was amazed at just how similar our thinking is. For example, on page 114 of his book Defending Life, he quotes Harry Blackmun’s fallacious argument from pity in his dissenting opinion in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) wherein Justice Blackmun attempts to illicit sympathy for the “millions of women” who have “ordered their lives around the right to reproductive choice…” but (it was believed at the time) apparently stood on the precipice of losing that right.  By this point in the book, Beckwith has already shown how such a line of reasoning is fallacious because it says nothing about whether the “right to reproductive choice” should be a right in the first place, but instead, attempts to suggest that the right should be retained since millions of women have come to structure their lives around it.

I have a habit of making notes in the margins of books I’m reading in case I want to quote something in the future. When I read Dr. Beckwith’s quotation of Harry Blackmun, I noted that “This could be parodied to Dred Scott.” I continued reading and on the next page Dr. Beckwith presents a parody of Blackmun’s logic by substituting his defense of Roe with a similar defense of Dred Scott. After several additional instances like this I reached the conclusion that Francis Beckwith and I must be twins who were separated at birth.

Given all this, it is no great surprise that I would heartily agree with his latest blog posts at The Catholic Thing website. I responded to part two of his posts. The following is a re-post of that response.

Francis Beckwith wrote:

 “What is key to understanding the third is that Blackmun concedes a symmetrical relationship between the right to abortion and the degree to which the fetus is not a person.”

“Degree” being the operative word. In theory, being a “person” or not being a person emerged as the pivotal moral factor in the abortion question during Roe v. Wade oral arguments, with even Sarah Weddington conceding that if the state could establish that a fetus is a “person” under the protection of the 14th Amendment, then she “would have a very difficult case.” (Pro-choice) Justice Stewart suggested that such a finding would render Weddington’s case “almost impossible” and Justice Blackmun wrote that Weddington’s case “collapses” with the establishment of fetal personhood. Thus, the metaphysical concept of “personhood” became the critical element that living humans are supposed to fully possess before their lives can be protected by the Constitution. This is a clear case of stacking the deck in favor of the pro-choice agenda.

It is precisely the ambiguous nature of the concept of “personhood” that was exploited by pro-choice proponents in order to facilitate the larger pro-choice notion that the decision (as to whether or not abortion is morally permissible) should be left up to each individual woman.

Ironically, with specific regard to the law, Justice Blackmun never conclusively suggested that the unborn are not persons, but rather that, according to the law, they had allegedly never been regarded as “persons in the whole sense.” The implication being that even if they were in some sense “partial persons” they were still not “whole” persons. This, of course, logically raises the question of how much “personhood” is required before one’s pre-existing life can be protected by the law; a question that can only be answered subjectively since personhood cannot be measured.

The debate over fetal personhood was therefore an ad hoc response specifically designed to facilitate the desire for abortion on request; a desire that had grown out of a larger desire to avoid moral responsibility to one’s own offspring. We would not be debating fetal “personhood” 40 years after Roe v. Wade, had there not previously existed a desire for legalized abortion on request

Roger is obviously a genius.

by Roger Resler

This is the first post under the new category: “Reviewing the Reviews” and, no, that’s not the title I wish the reviewers of my book Compelling Interest, would use – although for any potential reviewers who may be reading this, it does have a great ring to it, don’t you think? : )

Actually, the “Roger” is not even referring to me. It instead refers to a reviewer of my book who happens to share my first name – and is obviously a man of extraordinarily keen insight and good judgment. I can say this with confidence since Roger’s closing comment is that he gives the book 6 out of 5 stars. My kind of reviewer! Thanks Roger.

The purpose of this blog category, however, is not to give myself pats on the back (although that does make for a nice fringe benefit – at least when the reviews are positive) but to hopefully glean something of value from the insight of others and their responses to the book.

In that regard, Roger offers an analogy in his review that I think is excellent. In fact, I offer my own analogy in the book to a military general who is commissioned by his superiors to test a new bomb on what he believes to be an uninhabited island, but, instead blows up Tom Hanks and his volleyball friend, Wilson. (See chapter 11).

I think Roger’s analogy fits the abortion debate, and in particular, illustrates the fallacy of pro-choice reasoning even better. Here is how he puts it:

When does a person become a “person”. At birth? At conception? Somewhere in between? The pro-abortionist says we don’t know, so we can terminate the pregnancy at any time before birth.

This logic is atrocious. Lets take that same logic into another situation. Lets say I have an old building I need to demolish. I am not sure if there is any one in the building at the time. I send someone in to see if it is clear. They come back and tell me they were not sure. They saw a pot of stew cooking over a small fire and it looked like a homeless person had been there. I then go ahead and demolish the building, because the potential homeless person is not the same as a homeless person.

If I was not sure if there was someone in the building, why in the world would I destroy it anyway. If the abortionist is not sure if the fetus is human, why kill it?

Roger’s analogy captures the glaring fallacy of pro-choice “logic” extremely well. In fact, it might even work better than he realizes. Let me elaborate.

A very popular modern defense of abortion – and one that is claimed by very intelligent and articulate philosophers like David Boonin – suggests that even if a fetus is a person (or in Boonin’s case, a possessor of a “right to life”), the pregnant woman should still have the option to choose abortion since she has obviously not granted her unborn child permission to use her body for nine months. (In this case I can use the term “unborn child” uncontroversially because Boonin is conceding fetal personhood, or at least the fetus’s “right to life” for the sake of argument). Boonin argues that this consent by the woman to her unborn child is critical to the morality of abortion. Even if the unborn child has a right to life, Boonin argues that he or she does not have the right to use his or her mother’s body for nine months, unless the mother grants consent.

Roger’s analogy of a building owner who wants to demolish a building – let’s say because she wants to build a modern high-rise in its place – captures the essence of the “it’s my body, so it’s my right to choose” argument and it illustrates that even if we grant that the womb is the woman’s private domain, it does not follow that she should then have the moral freedom to kill her unborn child who is residing there without her formal consent. (Note: More can be said about whether or not the woman grants “consent” by engaging in intercourse. For this discussion, I am granting Boonin’s notion that she has not granted consent). Destroying a building is not acceptable when there is a human being inside it – even if you are the owner of the building and have not granted consent to the homeless person to occupy the space. Similarly, having an abortion, which will destroy the person in your womb, is also not morally acceptable.

In fact, actively destroying the building is immoral even if you’re not sure whether a homeless person is living inside. In Roger’s analogy, there are good reasons to conclude that a homeless person may indeed be located inside the building. Therefore it is immoral to proceed with the demolition until one is sure beyond any reasonable doubt that there is no homeless person inside the building.

In the case of abortion, we know for a fact that a living human is destroyed. The only question is whether or not a person is destroyed, and, just as in Roger’s analogy, there are good reasons to believe that abortion kills human persons. Of course there is disagreement over how to define the metaphysical concept of “person” but, as I point out in the book, this disagreement was innovated as an ad-hoc response to the desire for abortion. In other words, women wanted – and in many cases men wanted for women – the freedom to choose abortion. The debate over fetal personhood grew out of that desire.

But the very fact that people can rationally disagree on that, places the burden of proof on those who wish to destroy fetuses to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they are definitely not killing human beings. Because that can’t be done, they say the decision should be left up to the pregnant woman, because, after all, it’s her body.

Roger’s analogy shows that notion to be fallacious. It is, as he puts it, atrocious logic because it begs the question. It moves from an assumption it is trying to prove. It is only morally acceptable to demolish the building if you already know there are no living humans inside it. But that is what you are attempting to prove in the first place. You don’t know that, and, to make matters worse, indications are good that there may indeed be a person inside. Destroying the building, is therefore morally unacceptable until you can prove you are not also going to be killing a person.

Similarly, moving ahead with abortion on request is morally unacceptable until the people who want the freedom to kill fetuses can show conclusively that they are not killing living human beings. Good luck with that.

Boonin’s logic is even more unacceptable because he’s conceding that we do know that a living human with a right to life is living inside the womb but he’s still attempting to argue for the moral acceptability of abortion. We can adapt the analogy a bit to accommodate Boonin’s reasoning. He suggests that nine months of pregnancy is a great burden to ask of a woman who has not granted consent to the fetus to occupy her womb in the first place.

So let’s say you are the building owner in Roger’s analogy and you want to demolish the building but the report comes back that there definitely is a homeless person inside – this is analogous to what Boonin grants. Furthermore, the homeless person has managed to get himself trapped in such a way that it will require nine months of careful operations in order to free the homeless person without killing or severely injuring him. Must you wait for nine months and go through the hassle of bringing in experts to perform the necessary operations in order to free the homeless person from the building you want to destroy? Must you go through this in spite of the fact that you never granted consent to the homeless person to occupy your building in the first place? Or can you simply destroy the building – and the homeless person as a consequence of his being in the wrong place at the wrong time – because of your right to make private decisions about your building?

Roger, if you ever read this review of your review, thank you for sharing this powerful analogy! It reveals key fallacies of pro-choice logic particularly well. (And thanks for the kind words!)

Continuing with my response to Amplify

by Roger Resler

Picking up where I left off in my responses to Amplify Your Voice brings us to this:

4. Women who are raped or victims of incest should not be forced to carry out a pregnancy. Odds are that 1 in 3 women will be victims of sexual violence in her lifetime. Does this mean that 33% of all women should be forced to carry out a pregnancy from this violation? Considering how many people are killed during childbirth (see #2), should we allow this further risk to endured on top of what has already been done?

Many would argue that these women could endure the pregnancy, spending nearly a year of her life simply re-living the rape and its effects over and over again, to give up a baby at the end of it for adoption. However, we all are aware of the fact that there are millions of unwanted children awaiting adoption as we speak who remain unclaimed; in fact, UNICEF estimates that there are 210 million orphans in the world right now. If they have no one willing to be their parent or guardian, why would another baby have a better chance?

My theory is that people who spend so much time, energy, and money on anti-abortion campaigns should instead spend it on the precious children they say need saving so much—the ones who are alive and parentless. Imagine if all the funds spent on all those billboards and flyers and campaigns were instead either spent adopting or donating to places that are overrun with orphaned children… perhaps some actual credibility would be given to these people who claim to love children so much.

Also, there is the fact of the matter of the more than one million homeless youth in America alone. The number one factor for a child being homeless is physical or sexual abuse at home. Perhaps these “child-lovers” should step in and care for these already-born children as well.

By this point the pro-abortion proponent has moved to the time-tested, sure-fire argument. As I point out in my book, Compelling Interest, the question of rape and incest have gotten more mileage for the pro-choice cause than any other argument. Thus “the rape card” will be played in just about any abortion discussion that lasts very long or is going badly for the pro-choice proponent. (The former often leads to the latter).

Given the productivity of this argument, it will require a fairly lengthy response.

The reason the argument is so productive for the pro-choice cause is simple. In both cases a crime has been committed against a woman who did not willingly participate in the act that caused the unborn child to exist. This is indeed a very important moral consideration. This is what prompts this particular pro-abortion proponent to suggest that: “Women who are raped or victims of incest should not be forced to carry out a pregnancy.”

This certainly sounds reasonable to many Americans. And there are even some pro-life proponents who are willing to give in to pro-choice logic when it comes to rape and incest precisely because an injustice has occurred and the pregnant woman is a victim. It seems almost heartless to then ask her to carry for nine months an unborn child she had no intention of creating; go through the often difficult act of child-birth, and then either raise the child or give her up for adoption.

While the question of rape and incest is, in my opinion, the best argument pro-choice proponents have been able to exploit in order to promote their larger agenda, the logic is still flawed. In the case above, there are several clear fallacies.

Pheo152 (who wrote the Amplify article I am responding to) suggests that: “Odds are that 1 in 3 women will be victims of sexual violence in her lifetime. Does this mean that 33% of all women should be forced to carry out a pregnancy from this violation? Considering how many people are killed during childbirth (see #2), should we allow this further risk to endured [sic] on top of what has already been done?”

Pheo does not cite where she (I’m assuming Pheo is a “she”) got the figure that “1 in 3 women will be victims of sexual violence in her lifetime,” but on the face of it, the figure seems amazingly high. Either that, or “sexual violence” is defined extremely broadly. I question the number, but whether the number is accurate or not, certainly there are some women who will be victims of sexual violence in their lifetimes, and, whether it’s 1 in 3  or 1 in 300,000, each case is certainly a tragedy.

Pheo’s next statistic, however, simply does not logically follow.   She asks whether: “33% of all women should be forced to carry out a pregnancy from this violation?” This is clearly a not-so-veiled attempt to grossly manipulate numbers, when there really is no need for such egregious manipulation. Even if Pheo’s first statistic were accurate (and I seriously question its accuracy) it does not follow that “1 in 3 women” or “33% of all women” (!) will get pregnant as a result of “sexual violence.” In fact even in true cases of rape and incest pregnancy more often does not result. In other words, rape and incest are, thankfully, fairly rare to begin with, but even in those rare cases, pregnancy is much rarer still. Even the very pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute acknowledges that abortions due to rape and incest are extremely rare, less than 2%. Low as they are, Guttmacher’s numbers, however, appear to be misleading, as another source has taken an average of all abortions performed in the U.S. from 1980 to 2007 and found that rape and incest cases combined accounted for only .09% of the actual abortions performed during that nearly 3-decades-long time frame. I’m not a math genius, but that’s a minuscule number compared to total abortions; far lower than even Guttmacher’s numbers suggest.

So it is abundantly clear that pro-abortion proponents very often want the rape and incest numbers to be much higher than they actually are. This is why we see the outrageous figure of “1 in 3” and “33%” being cited above followed by the remarkable implication that 33% of unwanted pregnancies occur due to rape or incest. The figures are obviously grossly inaccurate. Think about that for a moment. As I mentioned, there should be no need to so seriously exaggerate on what would appear to be a “winning” argument for the pro-choice cause. So then why are the numbers often seriously exaggerated? Perhaps the argument is not as solid as it might seem.

Regardless of the actual numbers, women do occasionally get pregnant as a result of rape and/or incest. On that we can agree and we can also agree that such cases are tragic indeed. No woman should be raped. Period.

But it does not follow from that that she is then morally entitled to kill the unborn child she carries because the child’s father committed a crime. While the mother certainly is not responsible for the pregnancy, neither is the child. The pregnancy was indeed forced on the woman, but it was not forced by the child. It was forced by a criminal who disregarded laws against rape and incest. So why must the child be killed because of the sins of her father? This is not an acceptable reason to kill children once they are born. We would never allow a mother to kill her born children because they were conceived in rape. Why then are so many willing to make an exception to that basic intuition before the birth of the child? The answer is that the pro-choice community assumes the point they are trying to prove in order to justify abortion in cases of rape. This fallacy is called begging the question.

Only by assuming what they are trying to prove (that an unborn fetus is not the moral equivalent of a born child) can it make rational sense to allow abortion in cases of rape or incest.

To illustrate this fallacy, let’s adapt Pheo’s own argument and apply it to born children. In that case, it would go something like this: Many would argue that mothers of born children should endure the rest of their lives simply re-living the rape and its effects over and over again, and they also argue that giving them up for adoption is better than killing them. However, we all are aware of the fact that there are millions of unwanted children awaiting adoption as we speak who remain unclaimed; in fact, UNICEF estimates that there are 210 million orphans in the world right now. If they have no one willing to be their parent or guardian, why shouldn’t  mothers of unwanted children born from rape cases be allowed to kill them?

By constructing the argument in such terms – which no one would rationally accept – we see that either there must be a radically significant moral difference between a born child and an unborn child, or this pro-abortion argument is simply barbaric. In other words, Pheo is assuming what she’s trying to prove – that there is, supposedly, a radical moral difference between killing a born child and killing an unborn child. But she offers nothing in support of this very critical assumption throughout her entire article.

Beyond this fatal fallacy, Pheo commits several others. She cites no specific references so one can legitimately question the “210 million” figure UNICEF is allegedly “estimating.” But even giving Pheo the benefit of the doubt here, it does not follow that because there are a good number of orphans in the world that killing unborn children in the United States is therefore morally acceptable. There are unquestionably a lot of problems in the world. But just because there are problems in the world, it does not follow that Americans should have the freedom to kill their unborn children. Once again, Pheo is assuming the moral difference she wants to be true without offering any support for its truthfulness. Nevertheless, her

“theory is that people who spend so much time, energy, and money on anti-abortion campaigns should instead spend it on the precious children they say need saving so much—the ones who are alive and parentless. Imagine if all the funds spent on all those billboards and flyers and campaigns were instead either spent adopting or donating to places that are overrun with orphaned children… perhaps some actual credibility would be given to these people who claim to love children so much.”

Here we see another fallacy: the ad hominem fallacy, which is an (at best) irrelevant attack on the character of the one making an argument you disagree with.  The above is a clear example of such fallacious reasoning. Pheo is attempting to make the case that pro-life proponents are hypocrites because they “claim to love children so much” but, according to Pheo, spend too much “time, energy, and money on anti-abortion campaigns” and “should instead spend it on the precious children they say need saving so much—the ones who are alive and parentless.” Pheo also thinks that pro-lifers would have more credibility if they stopped running advertisements and “instead either spent [that money] adopting or donating to places that are overrun with orphaned children.”

It seems that Pheo may not be aware that many pro-life organizations and people do indeed operate and support crisis pregnancy centers across the United States. Even Planned Parenthood acknowledges that, while simultaneously committing another ad hominem fallacy by claiming these are “fake clinics run by people who are anti-abortion.” That is just silly. Crisis pregnancy centers are quite real “centers” that are designed to help women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies. Planned Parenthood simply doesn’t like it when groups attempt to discourage abortion because it robs them of potential revenue.

Pheo is also apparently unaware of people like Connie Youngkin who founded an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. The list could go on and on, but the point is irrelevant because even if Pheo were correct in her baseless implication that all pro-life people are selfish and inconsistent, such a truth would do nothing to demonstrate that the arguments they make are wrong. This is why “attacking the man” instead of the argument is fallacious. In this case, it’s doubly so, because pro-life people are indeed quite often the ones who care for both the born and unborn in need.

Another very important consideration that is nearly always overlooked is the fact that while abortion proponents claim that an abortion is the perfect “cure” for the predicament of unwanted pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, the reality is that there is no guarantee that abortion can “solve” the problem. In fact, chances are good that it will simply compound the problem. Abortion can’t reverse the hands of time and erase the violation. All it can do is kill the child. The woman will have the memory of the rape in either case, but when she adds an abortion, she now has two painful memories. In the first, she was the victim. In the second, she is responsible.

Pheo concludes with this:

“Also, there is the fact of the matter of the more than one million homeless youth in America alone. The number one factor for a child being homeless is physical or sexual abuse at home. Perhaps these “child-lovers” should step in and care for these already-born children as well.”

This argument is so patently fallacious it should be self-evident. How would Pheo suggest that pro-life people go about stepping in and caring for these already born children? By showing up on abuser’s doorsteps and demanding custody of the children? Beyond that, is Pheo suggesting that pro-lifers are somehow responsible for child abuse? Her point is unclear, but the implication is that abortion should solve the problem of child abuse since with the abortion option, there should be no reason for parents to bring unwanted children into the world, hence no more child abuse.

While Pheo doesn’t make this case explicitly, other pro-choice proponents have. But this is obviously refuted by the simple fact that Roe v. Wade did not stop child abuse.

The fact is that pro-lifers are not responsible for the problem of child abuse. Why, then, does Pheo imply that they need to “step in and care for these already-born children as well” even if she were to offer a viable way for them to do so? Why are pro-life proponents any more responsible for caring for already-born children than are pro-choice people? Does Pheo “step in and care for these already-born children as well”? And if so, does she do so legally? And even if she does, how is any of that morally relevant to her central thesis that unborn children are so morally inferior to born children that their mothers ought to have the legal right to kill them?

Amplify #5: Gender-bias fallacy

Halfway through my responses to Amplify Your Voice,
10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy we find this:

5. Most people who are against abortion will never even become pregnant. If a law would never, in any circumstance, apply to a man, a man creating that law is preposterous. It is akin to men creating laws that ban women from voting, owning property, or showing skin in public—only much more deadly.

As should be obvious by now, the top 10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy on the Amplify Your Voice website lack rational force. Argument number 5 is perhaps the weakest.

Many of the people who make laws against murder, for example, never commit murder, yet no one protests that it is wrong for non-murderers to write laws against murder. Similarly, we can recognize that it is wrong to commit murder, whether the one doing the judging has the capability of committing the crime or not.

Not only that, this argument implies that only men make anti-abortion laws, which is simply not true. Beyond this, if every woman in the U.S. was pro-abortion, then these types of gender-based arguments might at least have some traction. As it is, there are at least as many pro-life women in the U.S. as there are pro-choice women. In fact,  recent polls indicate a pro-life majority in the U.S. even among women! This means the claim that: “Most people who are against abortion will never even become pregnant” is simply false. The pro-life passion of women like Mother Teresa or Lila Rose, or Carol Everett or Helen Alvare and millions of others clearly demonstrate that these pro-choice, gender-based arguments simply do not correspond with the real world.

Finally, even if statistics actually were in support of the assertion this “reason to be pro-choice” would still be fallacious. It is an example of argumentum ad populum, or the appeal to majority fallacy which says if many people believe it, it must be true. Just because a majority agrees, doesn’t mean the majority is correct. The majority used to believe the earth is flat. Today, not so much. A majority of people in southern states used to think it was morally permissible to own black persons as slaves. That did not make slavery morally acceptable.

So, once again, we see that yet another of the top reasons to be pro-choice listed on a pro-choice website is fallacious. The way this is shaping up, what are the chances that the remainder will also prove to be fallacious? Stay tuned, to find out!

 

Still more from Amplify: Strawman fallacy

By Roger Resler

Continuing with my responses to “10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy” from Amplify Your Voice.com:

6. Reproductive restrictions do not end with abortion. Many people also argue that contraception itself is wrong—another mainly-religious philosophy—and will deny women the protection they need based on this belief. There are legislative acts that allow actual pharmacists to deny women their birth control because of their beliefs; does this not violate the Hippocratic Oath, especially if thousands of women are on birth control because their very lives depend on it (see #2)? Also, since it is my belief that men should not rape women, if I were a pharmacist, would I have a right to deny a man his Viagra just in case he uses it to rape? You never know.

The pro-choice arguments presented thus far are getting progressively weaker. Among other problems, the above “logic” suffers from a straw man fallacy. According to the Skeptic’s guide website, a straw man argument “attempts to counter a position by attacking a different position – usually one that is easier to counter. The arguer invents a caricature of his opponent’s position – a ‘straw man’ – that is easily refuted, but not the position that his opponent actually holds.”

While some (but certainly not all) pro-life people and religious organizations frown on or even prohibit contraceptive use among their followers, the contraceptive argument is a pro-choice diversionary tactic. Most people today, religious or not, do not oppose contraceptive use. By definition, a contraceptive inhibits conception or fertilization. Hence, very few people have any moral issue with contraceptive use and no group that I am aware of advocates for laws against contraceptive use. Those groups or religions that oppose contraception do so as a policy or church doctrine among their congregants, not in an effort to make them illegal in society. The recent hullabaloo featuring self-made pro-choice media darling Sandra Fluke centered around whether a private religious institution should be forced to purchase contraceptives for its students through the health insurance it offers them. Of course the media hype centered on the illusion that organized religion was somehow attempting to deny Fluke her birth control. This is simply utter nonsense. Fluke was free at any time to buy her own birth control.

Similarly, I am not aware of any “legislative acts that allow actual pharmacists to deny women their birth control because of their beliefs.” Not surprisingly, the Amplify Your Voice author of this article does not cite any actual examples that support  her (or his) case. I suspect that is because there are no such laws. Some pharmacies might allow individual employees to refuse to participate in the sale of contraceptives if it violates their religious beliefs, but, quite frankly, I’ve never heard of this happening and even if, in some bizarre twist, it did, another employee would simply make the sale. While it is possible that something like this might happen in some obscure location (I mean McDonalds got sued because a woman spilled coffee on herself, for Pete’s sake, so, nearly anything is theoretically possible) if it did, it would obviously be an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence and the sale would still be made by another employee – if not, a lawsuit would surely follow.

By the way, its worth noting that despite this author’s reference to the Hippocratic Oath, there is nothing in the oath pledging allegiance to women’s free access to birth control. There is, however, an explicit condemnation of abortion – at least in the unedited, original version.

This argument is a clear example of desperation. Amplify is simply trying to fill space since “10 arguments” sounds better than 9. But filling space with baseless arguments does nothing to help the pro-choice cause or demonstrate why someone should be pro-choice instead of pro-life.

What pro-life people rightfully oppose is the intentional killing of unborn humans through induced abortion. The battle is over abortion, not contraception. Suggesting, as Amplify does, that a good reason to be pro-choice is that “Reproductive restrictions do not end with abortion” is diversionary at best; deceptive at worst.

Planned Parenthood foiled again

If a picture is worth a thousand words an undercover video may eventually be worth hundreds of millions of withdrawn taxpayer dollars. At least that’s the hope of Lila Rose of LiveAction. As a result of her diligence, Planned Parenthood finds itself in yet another sticky situation. Each time LiveAction comes out with another video exposé, I think: surely this must be the last one. You know, fool me once, shame on you, fool me six times… ? How slow can a multi-million-dollar non-profit trans-national conglomerate actually be?

This latest sting brings the total up to something like six P.R. nightmares for the abortion behemoth with no apparent counter-strikes. Just as the buzz begins to subside from the previous debacle caught-on-camera, yet another accommodating Planned Parenthood employee unwittingly provides LiveAction with enough unscripted moral bankruptcy for a juicy sequel – and is promptly fired for it.

This time, a Planned Parenthood counselor is caught red-handed aiding and abetting a young woman (a LiveAction actor) who says she’s pregnant and wants a boy but will have an abortion if the baby turns out to be a girl. Yesterday’s release is apparently only the first in what LiveAction indicates will be a series of videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s willingness to participate in sex-selective abortions.

You have to wonder what the damage-control meetings at PP headquarters must be like with each new LiveAction release. Upper level P.R. directors have got be getting a bit annoyed at what has become a persistent thorn in their side; no doubt keenly aware that a sympathetic media can only repair so much self-inflicted destruction,

In a valiant effort, Laura Bassett, for example, with the Huffington Post, parrots Planned Parenthood’s preferred script by characterizing the operation as a “hoax investigation” leaving the impression that the whole thing was something of a joke. If so, LiveAction continues to get the last laugh, leaving Planned Parenthood and the media to clean up a tarnished public image.

Commenting on the video, Bassett suggests that:

The staffer answers all of the woman’s questions honestly and makes it clear that Planned Parenthood will not deny the woman an abortion despite her reasons for wanting to have one. At the end, she directs the woman to an ob-gyn for an ultrasound and says, “Good luck, and I hope you do get your boy.”

Which then prompts this response from a Huffington reader:

Honest answers = encouragement? No wonder they are scared of decent sex ed!
Seriously, for the staffer to give other than honest answers is unethical. For her to chastise a patient would be equally unethical. – been2there

Hence, the classic rock and hard place. What tends to get lost in the hubbub is the fact that it is the very logic on which pro-choice doctrine rests that leads to the conundrum Planned Parenthood finds itself wrestling with in this and other LiveAction videos.

The simple reality is that if pro-choice logic is correct, then sex-selection abortion should be as morally permissible as any other abortion – which is exactly how the now famous PP staffer responds to the situation. If the human fetus lacks some significant moral quality (let’s call it “personhood”) that a baby possesses then abortion should be morally acceptable for any reason. If not, then pro-choice proponents have a problem. LiveAction videos demonstrate the latter in a way that the spin-meisters at Planned Parenthood can’t figure out how to effectively deal with.

According to Planned Parenthood Vice President Leslie Kantor, the staffer “did not follow our protocol for providing information and guidance when presented with a highly unusual patient scenario.” Kantor’s statement goes on to note that:

Within three days of this patient interaction, the staff member’s employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters. Today opponents of Planned Parenthood are promoting an edited video of that hoax patient encounter.

No information is given in the statement regarding what specific “protocol” the now unemployed staffer violated or how “retraining” will correct the problem. Nevertheless, the statement suggests that LiveAction is “now using edited videotapes to promote false claims about our organization and patient services” – a difficult claim to support in light of what the staffer is clearly seen doing and saying in the video.

Regardless, Kantor suggests that:

Gender bias is contrary to everything our organization works for daily in communities across the country. Planned Parenthood opposes racism and sexism in all forms, and we work to advance equity and human rights in the delivery of health care. Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices, including addressing the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote gender bias and lead some to value one gender over the other.

While condemning “gender-bias,” an unnamed Planned Parenthood spokeswoman (apparently Kantor) reportedly told the Huffington Post, that Planned Parenthood’s policy:

…is to provide “high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into” its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).

If Planned Parenthood will not “deny a woman an abortion based on her reason for wanting one,” it would seem that “gender-bias” is as good as any other reason.

What is most remarkable in all this is the fact that Planned Parenthood is no slouch when it comes to buttressing and embellishing its public persona. One need only look at the speed, precision and level of coordination in the recent Susan G. Komen shakedown to see how ruthlessly effective the Planned Parenthood revenge Juggernaut can be when firing on all cylinders. So why the lack of an effective counter-attack in the face of what is by comparison a tiny pro-life group?

Apparently, even millions of taxpayer dollars have a hard time erasing what hidden cameras reveal.

More from Amplify: the religious fallacy

by Roger Resler

Continuing with my responses to “10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy” from Amplify Your Voice.com:

7. Religious ideology is no foundation for any law. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to any citizen in the United States; so why would the beliefs and values of one religion mandate actual laws for all citizens? It would be unfair, unjust and immoral. We do not have laws against eating fish, nor do we have laws that declare it is legal to sell one’s daughter, rape someone, or keep a person as a slave—all things that are promoted in religious text.

This argument will receive special attention. I apologize in advance for the length of this post. This is one of my pet peeves. It is an especially egregious falsehood because it is doubly wrong. It falsely accuses its opposition of what it is guilty of itself.

Ironically, pro-choice proponents are rarely challenged on their hypocritical use of this argument, despite resorting to it often.

Let’s start with the silly stuff first. Amplify suggests that:

“We do not have laws against eating fish, nor do we have laws that declare it is legal to sell one’s daughter, rape someone, or keep a person as a slave—all things that are promoted in religious text.”

No pro-life leader or organization promotes or propagates these things which explains why Amplify doesn’t support this allegation with citations. To blithely declare that these are all “things that are promoted in religious text” is a dishonest attempt to associate pro-life people with archaic and barbaric practices that have nothing to do with a pro-life position. This  argument is patently dishonest on its face and should be abandoned.

Such tactics will likely backfire since the real hypocrisy of painting one’s opponents in a false light is difficult to conceal.  Why the need to define one’s opposition as something they are not? I suspect it’s because the actual reasons for being pro-choice aren’t very good reasons.

On to the more important allegation.

Amplify suggests that a good reason to be pro-choice is that “Religious ideology is no foundation for any law.” In the first place, the assertion is simply false. Whether or not pro-choice proponents approve, laws in western culture have been founded on the Judeo-Christian ethic and go back to the Ten Commandments.

But the more important point is that the implication that being pro-life is unequivocally religious is also false. While many pro-life people are religious, it is a mistake to assume the pro-life position is inherently religious or necessarily bound to religious ideology, much less that of a specific religion. It is not. Ultimately the pro-life position is based on observable biological data; whereas the pro-choice position rests on controversial, metaphysical dogma. Yet the pro-choice community is fond of claiming that science is on its side in a battle with the “religious right.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here is a classic example of pro-choice deception from the Pro-choice Action Network of Canada:

Personhood at conception is a religious belief, not a provable biological fact.

Religious communities have differing ideas on the definition of “person” or when abortion is morally justified. In the Canadian courts, however, a fetus has consistently been found not to be a person with legal rights. – PCAN, Canada

Notice how the burden of proof regarding the ambiguity of personhood is implied to lie with the pro-life community? Personhood, whether beginning at conception or not, is indeed “a religious belief, not a provable biological fact” (!) but the pro-life position does not rest on it! The pro-choice position does! Unfortunately, this backwards reasoning has become widely accepted to the point where it is now being taken for granted by many people.

Amplify suggests that, “It would be unfair, unjust and immoral” for the law to be founded on “the beliefs and values of one religion.” In a pluralistic society that might be true if the law required something out of the ordinary for purely religious reasons, such as making it illegal not to recite a certain number of Hail-Mary’s. That would be an unacceptable form of religious imposition. But the same religion that believes in reciting Hail-Mary’s also promotes the idea that murder is wrong or that stealing is wrong. Should we eliminate laws against murder and stealing because religious people who recite Hail-Mary’s believe it is wrong to murder and steal? Of course not.

What is ultimately “unfair, unjust and immoral” is to kill innocent human life. Atheists can agree with that assertion. So then, the relevant question becomes: does abortion kill an innocent human life? Without question, the answer is yes. There is no disputing this; at least not rationally.

Instead, what most often occurs is that pro-choice proponents attempt to separate the metaphysical concept of “personhood” from the tangible reality of a living human being. Without scientific support (as admitted by the Canadian article just cited), they suggest that the concept of being a “person” is the critically absent factor in a living human fetus that justifies abortion on demand. Abortion is perfectly acceptable, they inform us, because the fetus is not yet a “person.” Well there you go! Moral conundrum solved! All we need to know is when does a fetus become a “person” and the abortion controversy is history! So when, according to brilliant pro-choice thinkers, does that magical point occur? Answer: They don’t know and can’t agree. The result is that the answer varies depending on whatever point happens to suit their purposes at the moment. For Sarah Weddington, arguing in Roe v. Wade, the magical point occurred at birth. Justice Blackmun, writing the majority opinion, was much more ambiguous, suggesting that viability – which is not really a point – had more significance.

However, by noting in Roe v. Wade, that “the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense,” pro-choice Justice Blackmun inadvertently implied that the unborn are at least persons in a partial sense.

This is an amazingly tenuous line of reasoning. In the first place, it can’t be demonstrated that such a thing as a “human non-person” exists in reality, yet Roe v. Wade collapses if not. To make matters worse, Justice Blackmun implies that “personhood” might be acquired by humans in degrees. Extending the benefit of the doubt to this wild speculation begs the question of how much “personhood” is required in order to justify laws against intentional destruction of actual human fetuses? This, in turn, raises the absurdity of how to measure quantities of “personhood.”

Any answer is, of course, arbitrary and subjective. Not surprisingly, Justice Blackmun didn’t attempt an answer. As a consequence, pro-choice proponents rest their logic on the unproven and unprovable, metaphysical dogma of “personhood” in order to justify the position they take on abortion – ironically the very thing they falsely accuse pro-life proponents of doing. The concept of “personhood” becomes critical to the morality of their position – but not the pro-life position!

The pro-choice crowd, aided by the power of the media, Hollywood and academia has legitimately hoodwinked the public on this point for forty years! We’ve bought into the ridiculous notion that the pro-life position depends on the twisted logic that was developed by pro-choice proponents in an effort to bring their own desired position closer to some semblance of coherence. It doesn’t. “Personhood” is the mess created by Sarah Weddington, Justice Harry Blackmun and their pro-choice disciples. It’s their bed. They have to sleep in it. Not pro-lifers.

The problem for pro-choice proponents is that personhood is an inherently metaphysical and subjective idea developed with fluctuating and arbitrary criteria that can’t even be universally agreed upon among pro-choice proponents. For example, radical philosopher Michael Tooley thinks that born babies aren’t persons until they acquire the ability to have “interests.” One-upping Tooley in the race of philosophers-gone-wild are Alberto Guibilini and Francesca Minerva who argue for what they casually refer to as “After-birth abortion.” The abstract from their 2011 Journal of Medical Ethics article says it all:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

After the initial jolt, incredulous observers suspected a devious pro-life attempt at parody in this unusually sterile defense of premeditated, postnatal murder. Yet these philosophers were chillingly serious. In a classic case of pathological lack of empathy, the pair weren’t terribly concerned with whether or not the tangible, living newborn has any actual “interests” (like continuing to live) but whether he or she is capable of cognitive awareness of any interests he or she might possess:

We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.

Having moved sufficiently beyond the suddenly dangerous neonatal stage themselves, Guibilini and Minerva retroactively define and then arbitrarily deny their younger peers “moral status as actual persons” while also candidly admitting “it is hard to exactly determine when a subject starts or ceases to be a ‘person.'” Undaunted by the difficulty of pinpointing the presence of personhood (as they define it) and the annoying moral implications accompanying the resulting ambiguity, they, nonetheless, reason that since neither newborns nor fetuses possess this elusive but critical quality (or at least, one presumes, a sufficient amount of it) then “killing a newborn” is perfectly acceptable.

Shocking as this rightfully should be, this is exactly where pro-choice logic leads. Guibilini and Minerva may advocate barbarity, but at least it’s logically consistent barbarity.

One can sympathize with the unexpected dichotomy this forces onto unsuspecting pro-choice laymen who’ve mindlessly parroted the religious fallacy for decades as though it somehow supports their decision to be pro-choice. Perhaps inadvertently, or perhaps not, Guibilini and Minerva substantiate the pro-life assertion that there is no significant moral difference between a human fetus and a human baby:

In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.

Overlooking the nonsensical notion that a “newborn” could be “the individual killed” while simultaneously not a “child,” Guibilini and Minerva at least candidly acknowledge what other pro-choice proponents have emphatically denied since Roe first rolled off the presses: that a human fetus and a human baby are essentially the same thing from a moral standpoint.

The unintended upshot is that there is no longer any logical way to remain pro-choice without either resorting to arbitrary, metaphysical ideas that are contradicted by common sense or venturing into full-scale barbarism. Either abortion on demand is acceptable because there is something radically, morally different about the human in the womb as contrasted with a newborn (metaphysical concept), or there is no demonstrable moral difference but pro-choice proponents want the freedom to kill it anyway (barbarism) whether inside the womb or not.

Of course Guibilini and Minerva merely suggest that the magical point at which a sufficient amount of personhood is obtained occurs sometime after birth. Such theorizing illustrates the inherent problem with the “personhood” standard in the first place.

There is no question that humans in the womb are human. Humans can only reproduce other humans. There is no question that humans in the womb are alive. If abortion does not kill the occupant of the womb then pregnancy continues – which makes the debate over when human life begins an irrelevant side show. It doesn’t matter when human life begins since it obviously already began at some point before an induced abortion is required to kill it.

Pro-choice proponents tell us it’s okay to kill the living human in the womb because it either does not kill a “person” or it does not kill a “person in the whole sense” (they can’t agree on which). It’s time we challenge the purveyors of this metaphysical nonsense to conclusively prove it using the scientific method. No philosophical drivel. No semantic word games. No legal loopholes. Just documented, peer-reviewed, repeatable observation. Good luck with that.

It is the obligation of those who wish to retain the right to intentionally destroy human fetuses, under the moral assumption that they are not “persons,” to conclusively demonstrate the correctness of that critical premise of their argument.

Until then, pro-life people and independents who haven’t fallen for pro-choice propaganda will work to pass laws under the reasonable assumption that the pro-choice dogma of “personhood” is an unacceptable religious imposition designed to benefit one group of humans at the expense of another more vulnerable group of humans.

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.

More from Amplify: Motive Fallacy

By Roger Resler

Continuing with my responses to “10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy” from Amplify Your Voice.com:

8. The politicians “pro-lifers” so ardently support are only after one thing: self-interest.The majority of them are not “pro-life” because they agree with you; they are because they know you will continue to vote for them—and they know that making women remain pregnant not only takes away their power, but it also keeps them busy, in line, controlled, as well as a baking factory for their failing economy. The more people they have to rule over, the more they have to work and buy. Period.

This is an example of a “Motive Fallacy” which attempts to shift the debate to a question of motives rather than the actual issue. Instead of actually defending the pro-choice position, this argument shifts attention to a mischaracterization of the opposition’s motives.

This is also the point where pro-choice arguments begin to lose any semblance of credibility. It is simply insanity to claim that pro-life politicians use the abortion issue as a means of controlling women and keeping themselves in office. It is demeaning to sincere, pro-life elected officials who care about innocent unborn children. It would be like arguing that abolitionists really didn’t care about the plight of slaves. It is simply disingenuous and, in my view, illustrates the weakness of the pro-choice case when these types of reasons are given as the best reasons to be pro-choice.

Beyond that, the logic makes no sense. In the first place, no one is “making women remain pregnant.” Pregnancy is always a temporary condition. Pro-life people just want it to end naturally, with a live baby rather than a dead one. Seems like a reasonable desire to me.

In the second place, pregnancy may keep a woman “busy” (or better stated, “tied down”) for a few months, but it certainly can’t control her. Even if she decides to raise the child herself, there are still ways to pursue a career while raising children. Many women do so and to suggest that pregnancy forces women into subjection is demeaning to women.

Suggesting that pro-life politicians want abortion to be illegal so they can control women is about as ridiculous as suggesting that Mothers Against Drunk Driving want stiff DUI laws because they secretly want to control alcoholics. It’s a ridiculous allegation.In both cases, the concern is to save human lives. What a radical notion!

Bottom line? Pro-life people do not force women to get pregnant. Pregnancy is temporary. And pregnancy is not an effective means of controlling women.

This “reason” to be pro-choice is about the goofiest reason I’ve seen yet. If you’re pro-choice, do you really believe this stuff? Maybe it’s time to grow up.

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.

More from Amplify: It’s not about contraceptives

by Roger Resler

Continuing with my responses to “10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy” from Amplify Your Voice.com:

9. If people want to stop abortion, they should turn to methods that do work. These include comprehensive sex education and safe, affordable contraceptives. Unfortunately, as illogical as it sounds, the people who are most against abortion are also often most against these preventative measures. If they truly wanted to reduce the number of abortions that occur, they would embrace these methods.

Many pro-life people are against contraceptives for religious reasons. I am not one of them but I respect the rights of those who are. Pro-choice people often preach tolerance. They should practice it when it comes to those who avoid contraceptive use for religious reasons. People who are opposed to contraceptives on religious grounds are usually not the ones having abortions. If they oppose contraceptive use, then they nearly always oppose abortion.

So why do pro-choice people make a big deal about it? It’s part of a tactic to paint pro-lifers as backward, religious hypocrites whose real goal is to control women. But this is ridiculous. Contraceptives are widely available and no one is complaining or trying to ban them. Some churches discourage their use among their membership, but that’s about it.

Margaret Sanger – Founder of Planned Parenthood

Ironically, Margaret Sanger, champion of birth-control, darling of many modern feminists and founder of Planned Parenthood, was opposed to abortion. That was not a typo. The founder of Planned Parenthood believed abortion is morally wrong! In typical fashion, she didn’t mince words:

Although abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and viscous I bring up the subject here only because some ill-informed persons have the notion that when we speak of birth control we include abortion as a method. We certainly do not. Abortion destroys the already fertilized ovum or the embryo; contraception, as I have carefully explained, prevents the fertilizing of the ovum by keeping the male cells away. Thus it prevents the beginning of life. – Margaret Sanger, “Birth Control Advances: A Reply to the Pope,” 1931, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College MSM S71-243.

Today’s Planned Parenthood execs would do well to follow the logic of their founder when it comes to abortion. Sanger lived at a time when contraceptives were illegal. She advocated for the legalization of contraceptives as a means of reducing or even eliminating abortion. It’s ironic that birth control has been legal for many decades and yet we’re still talking about how it is supposedly the magic cure for abortion. Radical idea: maybe the real cure for abortion is abstaining from sex until marriage. Borrowing the stated logic of Amplify Your Voice: if pro-choice folks “truly wanted to reduce the number of abortions that occur,” perhaps they should consider the efficacy of just saying no.

Parents may also oppose sex-education in school because they want to instruct their children on such a personal matter and believe that sex-education in schools sends a message to kids that pre-marital sex is okay, which is often contrary to their religious beliefs, not to mention the related health risks. There is nothing sinister or hypocritical in the desire to educate one’s own children in the matter of sex and in adherence to one’s religious beliefs and health concerns, yet that’s the impression given by the Amplify article.

As far as contraceptives go, I and many other pro-life proponents would say, if it’s impossible for you to abstain from sex outside of marriage (which it isn’t, by the way), then, by all means, use contraceptives. But don’t attempt to use the fact that some religious groups oppose the use of contraceptives among their own membership as an excuse for the fact that you are now pregnant and want an abortion.

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.

Good reasons to be pro-choice?

by Roger Resler

For this post and several future posts I will respond to pro-choice arguments presented on a website called Amplify Your Voice. I welcome comments and feedback from anyone so long as they stay within the “good exchange of ideas” realm. Fair warning: as the unimpeachable blog dictator, I will mercilessly exercise omnipotent control over content on this site. Essentially, if I like your comment, it will see the light of day. If not, it will be forever banned to outer darkness (followed by maniacal laughter). So… with that in mind, let’s get started.

The voices wishing to be amplified at Amply Your Voice.com are no doubt backed up by sincerely held beliefs. The problem is, “sincerely held” does not necessarily equate to rational. Case in point:  “10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy.” Let’s begin with the first point which is actually #10:

10. Laws against abortion do not stop abortion; they simply make it less safe. The number of women who get abortions does not change when it goes from being legal to illegal, or vice versa. The only thing that changes is more women die. Every year, 78,000 women die from unsafe abortions.

With all due respect, this is propaganda. The 78,000 figure is cited with no supporting data, but it’s interesting to note that Amplify is claiming this number while abortion is legal. If legal abortion is safe (for the mother) and abortion is currently legal, then why are 78,000 women dying from abortion “every year” according to Amplify?

In 2006 I had a phone conversation with ex-abortionist turned pro-life advocate Dr. Bernard Nathanson who stated that the popular pre-Roe figure of 10,000 annual maternal deaths was simply manufactured out of thin air by the pro-choice community (of which Nathanson was then an active participant). The truth is no one knows how many illegal abortions took place (for the obvious reason that no one was reporting illegal abortions) but the pro-choice “estimate” of abortion related maternal deaths has now obviously inflated by a factor of 7.8! This is an absurd number; useful only for pro-choice propaganda.

Although we don’t know how many illegal abortions took place, we do have a reasonable estimate of how many maternal deaths were attributed to illegal abortion in the years leading up to Roe.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were roughly 1,350 such deaths in 1941. Due to the introduction of Penicillin in the 1950’s the figure had dropped dramatically to less than 200 by 1965 and continued to drop to under 50 by the time Roe v. Wade was argued. Did you catch the disparity? Those interested in keeping abortion legal are now casually claiming that 78,000 maternal deaths occur annually due to illegal abortions, when, in reality, the number was well under 50 by the time Roe was argued!

“Law’s against abortion do not stop abortion.”

Obviously true. Hardly surprising. Laws against speeding do not stop Mario-Andretti-wanna-be’s from flying past me on the freeway.

Laws against murder have not put serial killers out of business. If we could stop vice simply by passing laws, then we should be living in utopia.

The number of women who get abortions does not change when it goes from being legal to illegal, or vice versa. “

This is where a “my-stats-are-better-than-your-stats” tit-for-tat begins – except that Amplify provides no stats to support their claims. I deal with this topic in my book Compelling Interest (which will be released in the Fall of 2012 – the link, by the way, is for an earlier version audio book). It comes down to whose stats are we going to believe?

In his exhaustive book, Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History, (Carolina Academic Press, 2006) Villanova law professor Joseph W. Dellapenna methodically shreds this and other abortion myths that have been promoted as fact by the pro-choice movement for decades. Dellapenna’s research demonstrates that the modern origin of many of these now popular abortion myths goes back to the pro-abortion-agenda-driven research of a New York University law professor named Cyril Means Jr.

Over the course of more than 1,200 pages, Dellapenna shows that Means’ research was “seriously deficient even based on the evidence Means himself presented.” (Dellapenna, p. xi) Factual inaccuracy did not stop Sarah Weddington from relying heavily on Means’ research, however, in her pro-abortion arguments before the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. And it also did not stop Harry Blackmun from perpetuating Means’ errors as he wrote the Roe majority opinion.

Obviously numbers are easy to inflate and the pro-choice community has been busily inflating.The important question is: does society wish to promote abortion as a public good which should be legal? Most people agree that at best abortion is a necessary evil. The debate becomes a matter of: when is it necessary?

The way Amplify frames the issue is revealing: “Laws against abortion do not stop abortion; they simply make it less safe.” While the actual number of maternal deaths is much lower than Amplify would have us believe we should keep in mind that abortion is never safe for the unborn child.

The idea that laws force women into back alleys is also flawed. Women choose to have abortions. They are almost never forced, and certainly not by anti-abortion laws.

Do we create laws against abortion in the hopes that more women will die from illegal abortion? Of course not. The hope is that women will be discouraged from participating in abortion because society is saying abortion on demand is morally unacceptable, just like murder is morally unacceptable.

Well, I’ve managed to answer only one of Amplify’s 10 points. Thanks for bearing with me. I will continue with the second point on my next blog entry.

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.