Someone get this printed on a t-shirt:
“Free Megan Huntsman!”
Slap it on a bumper sticker. Start the campaign.
Megan Huntsman — every bit the same sort of feminist hero as Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards or Abortion Martyr George Tiller — is being persecuted. Prosecuted and persecuted before our very eyes (in the year 2014!) all for allegedly making a choice. A difficult choice, mind you. An alleged choice that she must have grappled with torturously.
She considered her options and, in the end, came to the conclusion that she wasn’t ready to be a mother. So she terminated her post-birth fetuses — six of them — and put them in boxes in her garage, according to the charges.
Police say that Ms. Huntsman has admitted to conducting this medical procedure, and why shouldn’t she admit to it? Why shouldn’t she have the freedom to make decisions about her life and her body, and why shouldn’t society herald her bravery in doing so?
Now, it’s true that I am a man and so I have no right to form an opinion on whether a fetus ought to be suffocated, either in its pre or post-birth stage of development. We know that one cannot reach an objective conclusion unless one is emotionally tied to the issue at hand, which is why, according to the dictates of jurisprudence, every jury is stacked with people who’ve been personally victimized by whatever type of crime the defendant stands accused.
Be that as it may, I am also a modern, progressive, American (in the year 2014, for God’s sake!) and so I have dutifully formulated my ideology through the passive absorption of popular culture. This process can only bring one to the inescapable realization that the worth of a fetus, or “human being” as right wing propagandists and biologists might call it, really depends on the feelings of the unwilling host, or “mother” as rabid Republican loons might refer to her.
Melissa Harris-Perry said as much a few months ago, confidently declaring that life begins when the woman feels like it. Cecile Richards has, for her part, insisted that the issue of life is irrelevant to the matter entirely, and Obama famously professed that, although he has taken a position on abortion, the job of formulating a theory that would justify that position is really quite above his pay grade.
So if the definition of ‘life’ hinges on the mother’s emotional willingness to call it life, and if the whole subject is irrelevant and impossible to quantify anyway, then who are you to tell Megan Hunstman that her post-birth fetuses were ‘people’ and had ‘human rights’?
You can’t. We can’t. And it is a travesty of justice that the criminal courts would even try. Look, it’s not the 1950s; it’s 2014! Time to move out of the Stone Age. Only a Neanderthal would think that the God given right to an abortion somehow ends at the moment of natural birth.
We’ve drawn this line in the sand, but the line is arbitrary. Indeed, whatever argument you make for abortion can easily be made by Ms. Hunstman.
Let’s go down the list:
Pregnancy is an incredible burden on a woman; who are we to tell her what to do with her own body?
This is the most trusty and commonly cited reason to support abortion, and the argument is important because it clearly defines the fetus as an extension of a woman’s body, or else negates the rights of the fetus by using its dependence on the woman’s body against it.
If the fetus is a part of the mother’s body, why should it not be considered as such once it is born? If it was literally a body part, then that is its nature, and if that is its nature, then how could its nature change upon birth? My thumb, my arm, my bladder, these are all pieces and parts of me. If I were to have one removed, would I suddenly lose jurisdiction over it? Surely, my thumb has no legal rights, no protections outside of the laws that protect me — the person to whom my thumb is a mere member. If I chopped off my thumb and threw it in the garbage, could I be accused of ‘murder’?
But if the fetus is a person, or a human, or at least some entity distinct from the mother, then, our argument goes, its DEPENDENCE on the mother’s body means that it cannot claim any rights which would supersede her own.
Alright, so what of a post-birth fetus? Is it now somehow able to exist independent of the woman? Of course not. In fact, it becomes all the more demanding. It needs not only its mother’s body, but almost all of her time, her energy, her money, everything. A pre-birth fetus ONLY needs a woman’s body, a post-birth fetus needs her body AND everything else. So how does the post-birth fetus get off the hook? It makes no sense.
Sure, a woman can find other people to fill those roles, and she can buy formula rather than breastfeed, but SHE is still LEGALLY REQUIRED to go out and seek those replacements, which is not only a hassle, and possibly financially cumbersome, but emotionally taxing. Who are we to FORCE her to do that? If the technology existed for a woman to transfer her pre-birth fetus from her uterus to someone else’s, or to a machine of some sort, I can’t imagine that any self respecting pro-choice feminist would throw up her hands and say, “Alright, no more abortion — now all women who don’t want their fetuses need to undergo a fetal transfer!”
Obviously abortion rights would still be protected even if pregnant women had an option in between giving birth and having an abortion. To relent would be to tolerate yet another imposition on women, brought upon by a paternalistic society dominated by white male Christians.
Yes, Utah is a Safe Haven state, which means a baby can be abandoned at a hospital, no questions asked. But, again, that is only one way to deal with a post-birth fetus. Who are we to say it is the RIGHT way? And who are we to hoist that opinion onto anyone, least of all a woman in the midst of such a difficult moment in her life?
A fetus isn’t fully developed, so it isn’t a person.
Tying ‘personhood’ to physical development — where would the abortion rights movement be without this essential argument? A fetus, remember, is only a clump of cells. It can’t even breathe through its lungs or use an iPhone yet. What about a post-birth fetus? Sure, it has attained a few more developmental milestones, but it’s far from fully developed. A fetus doesn’t become rational and reasonable until it’s about 93 or 94 months old. Scientists believe the brain itself isn’t finished forming until it hits about 309 months of development.
The point is this: if the abortion rights camp rejects, as it should, the inane idea that this mysterious entity with its own DNA and genetic makeup should be considered a person at conception — or, in other words, at the moment in which its unique DNA and genetic makeup come into existence — and if we reject the idea that it should be considered a person at any other random gestational point thereafter, why should we automatically concede the matter once the fetus emerges from the birth canal? If a lack of physical development makes the creature/body part/whatever-it-is undeserving of personhood, then we must see that logic all the way through.
Full physical development — i.e. personhood — does not occur, for most fetuses, until they are 26 or 27 years old. And then physical deterioration immediately begins, but we can have the forced euthanasia debate some other time. If incomplete physical development contributes in any way, shape, or form to our pro-abortion position, then we have universally tied development to human rights. We have said that, to some degree, the fullness of our rights rests on the fullness of our physiological formation. Think of the glorious implications if we only possessed the courage to apply this reasoning consistently!
Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.
In other words, butt out. None of your business. It doesn’t concern you. Ms. Hunstman could say all of these things, and I’m sure she has. Anyone who has ever done anything to any other person could also say this to every person to whom he or she didn’t do it. This means we really shouldn’t have an opinion about almost everything that’s happening, has happened, or will happen — including, for instance, the Holocaust and the Manson killings — as the vast majority of the world’s events will not directly and immediately impact us in any obvious way. Once we’ve more roundly adopted this slogan, we will be free from much of the onerousness of having a moral compass, because we will have defined ‘morality’ as simply ‘a distaste for that which inconveniences oneself.’
Women will have abortions anyway, we need to make sure they are done safely.
The appeal to inevitability. Well, as long as there are women who wish to have pre-birth abortions, there will also be women who wish to have post-birth abortions. The only question is whether they will be able to do them in a safe and sterile environment. Infanticide has been around for as long as abortion — probably longer. No law against it will ever stop it from happening.
Without abortion, there will be a lot of unwanted children, who Republicans will refuse to provide with food stamps and welfare.
In my research, to be honest, I’ve yet to find very many Republicans who categorically oppose welfare. This appears to be more of a Libertarian position, but don’t tell that to the progressive college kids who fancy themselves Libertarian because they like drugs and booze.
In any case, as we have established, once a fetus is ‘unwanted,’ it will be destined to a pointless life of misery and sadness. Why should we, as a society, only have the opportunity to alleviate them of that burden while they are in the womb? If they are unwanted in the womb, they will be unwanted out of it. This was a point on which Margaret Sanger — the founder of Planned Parenthood — was very clear. Those who might be a drain on society must be exterminated.
It’s unfortunate that Ms. Sanger was photographed at KKK rallies and such, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss her ideas. Her ideas are the cornerstone of the abortion rights movement, after all.
It’s clear what must be done: free Megan Hunstman. If we aren’t disgusted by terminating a fetus in the womb (and we shouldn’t be — in the year 2014, for goodness sake!) then why are we pretending to be disgusted by the termination of a thing merely moments after it, according to popular notions, stops being a fetus? How could one be a right and the other reprehensible, when the acts are the same, the motivations are the same, and the results are the same?
I’ve even seen pro-choice people wonder aloud about why she didn’t “just go get an abortion.” How absurd is that? So if she had gone to some building and asked some man to do it for her, it would be fine, but instead she waits a few days and does it herself and now she’s suddenly Satan Incarnate? She terminated them seconds after they emerged from her body, and so she’s a serial killer, but if she’d killed them as they emerged, she’d be a role model for the pro-choice cause? This is insanity.
Why are we selling ourselves short? The ideology of abortion allows for so much more, yet we limit ourselves because — why? Because we fear the Christians? This is understandable — those monsters regularly resort to militant tactics, like sign-holding and prayer — but we shouldn’t let them bully us around. If Ms. Huntsman is charged with anything, it should be for practicing medicine without a license. But, really, she’s guilt of nothing more than being an empowered woman.
What a shameful lack of conviction my pro-choice brothers and sisters have demonstrated. Come, let us take our beliefs to their logical conclusions, and then toast to the Land of Freedom and Peace we will have finally forged for ourselves!