Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tiny arms and legs won't change this one's mind

Writing at Salon, freelance writer Amy Beeman describes her past job working at an abortion clinic and the first woman she saw have an abortion (my emphasis).        
I followed my trainer to the lab where products of conception (P.O.C.) were inspected to make sure the doctor removed all the bits that, if left behind, could cause an infection. My trainer made a point to show me the tiny arms and legs floating in the glass baking pan. At 10 weeks and beyond, those appendages are formed and clearly recognizable.

It was all so heavy. The loneliness of those little arms and legs. That girl, so clearly suffering during the procedure. Before my job at the clinic, my stance on abortion had been so black and white. I had been firmly pro-choice for as long as I could remember. Was it possible that working here could change my mind?
Of course not.  This piece is in Salon (my emphasis). 
Abortion is fraught with so much negative sentiment, and in a sense, abortion is plucking a life from existence that has yet to have the opportunity to thrive. No one is claiming it’s pleasant. There is nothing black and white about abortion. It’s every shade of gray. But for us pro-choicers, the woman’s life trumps the embryo or fetus. That’s the bottom line. We place value on a woman’s ability to know what is best for her. It simply needs to be a safe and legal option.

In a sense?  No.  In reality.  

What I noticed is how Beeman admitted earlier that the unborn have tiny arms and legs, yet goes on to use the intentionally dehumanizing term “unwanted growth” to describe them as if the human individual these arms and legs were torn from was like a wart on a foot.
Seeing every side, the whole complicated and profound process, I came out more pro-choice than ever. I started to see it from a purely biological standpoint. We were removing an unwanted growth to preserve the woman’s chosen course.
This seems to be a somewhat common phenomenon with pro-choicers who recognize the humanity of the unborn. On one hand, they’ll admit the unborn are living human beings (or something similar) and then go on to argue in favor of abortion from a bodily autonomy viewpoint.  However, they later use terms which intentionally dehumanize the unborn.  Beeman even laughably claims this is a "purely biological standpoint" as if her rhetoric had anything to do with biology. 

I always wonder why.  If the bottom line is that a woman's life (well, not really her life but how she wants to live her life) trumps the life of the unborn then why the need to intentionally dehumanize the unborn? 

My thought is that the idea that a woman should be able to kill the helpless human being living inside for whatever reason she wants is not a position most people are comfortable defending even if that's the actual reason they favor legal abortion.  It's much easier to push those tiny arms and legs aside and imagine the unborn as a bunion or a pimple because making the bodily autonomy argument is much easier if another human being isn't being torn apart.   


  1. Anonymous7:10 PM

    Your post is very intriguing to me. I myself am pro-life but the way you have described the dehumanization of the aborted babies helps give perspective into what it is like to have to deal with abortions. It helps give a better idea of the psychology behind it all instead of just picking one side of the issue or the other. Your final analysis personally helped me to better understand the mindset of those who get abortions and defend abortions. Overall, this is a great post that really helped me gain the perspective and understanding that I was searching for.

  2. really good blog, thanks for sharing this.