Thursday, January 13, 2005

How Pro-Choicers Argue: Part Two

Intro, Part One

Part Two: Using moral relativism as a crutch

"That's just your opinion"

"Why are you trying to force your views on us?"

Instead of coming up with logical or scientific arguments to show why the unborn aren't human beings many pro-choicers will try to ignore scientific evidence and try to shove prolife arguments aside by saying, "that's just your opinion."

This is moral relativism at its worst. It is also very lazy.

Moral relativism is a type of worldview that says, "there are no absolute truths" and that "everyone should be able to make up their own truth."

Many individual pro-choicers and pro-choice organizations use moral relativism as a crutch, to support themselves and their lack of logic and reasoned arguments based in science.

Example #1 - Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Abortion: Finding Your Own Truth

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is a pro-choice organization that attempts to use religion as a way of proving that abortion should be legal.

On their web site they use to have a page called "Abortion: Finding Your Own Truth." This was a piece for women who might be considering abortion. Some quotes include:

"Your voice of Truth resides in a place within you that is wise and loving, and knows when you choose to honor it. When you step away from your Truth, experience the pain of self betrayal."

"To discover your own unique Truth, you will want to explore all aspects of the question you face, in light of the current circumstances of your life. You will also want to look into your heart to understand your beliefs and feel what is right for you."

"Choosing to honor your Truth is not an act of selfishness. It is an act of caring about yourself and about others."

"If honoring your Truth means choosing abortion, you may want to say goodbye to the pregnancy and send the spirit of that life on its way with love. (emphasis added)"

Example #2 - Planned Parenthood's Ask Dr. Cullins

Planned Parenthood, America's largest abortion provider, has a web site with a section where visitors can ask Dr. Vanessa Cullins (a board certified ob/gyn and one of Planned Parenthood's Vice-Presidents) questions.

One visitor asked, "My friend says that life begins when the egg and sperm join together. I say that it begins when a baby takes it first breath. Which of us is right?"

This person realizes that either she is right and her friend is wrong or her friend is right and she is wrong.

Dr. Cullins "corrects" this person's question by avoiding the issue.

"All kinds of people - theologians, philosophers, scientists, lawyers, legislators, and many others - hold very different views about when life begins."

"The really hot question is, ‘When does being a person begin?' Most medical authorities and Planned Parenthood agree that it starts when a baby takes its first breath."

Does this mean that Planned Parenthood wouldn't have a problem with killing born children whose umbilical cords haven't been cut and who haven't been hit on their bottoms yet? I wonder how many babies Dr. Cullins has delivered.

Most medical authorities? That's a lie. Which medical authorities have position papers on the begining of personhood?

Dr. Cullins continues, "Some of our oldest religions have changed their views about this question many times over the centuries. Today, some people sincerely believe that being a person begins when the egg is fertilized. Some, just as sincerely, believe that it begins with birth. And lots of other believe that it begins somewhere in between."

She concludes by saying, "It would be wrong to force her (a pregnant woman) to observe someone else's religious belief."

Dr. Cullins dodges the original question and then tries to answer another question using moral relativism as her doctrine and attacks anyone who would disagree with legal abortion because believing that human personhood starts at conception could supposedly only be a religious belief.

Instead of using evidence to prove that life doesn't begin at conception, pro-choicers try to avoid facts and logic. One great response to this kind of argument is to ask, "Am I wrong? Is it not true that abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being?" This is tough for a moral relativist because they can't say that something is completely right or wrong for everyone.

The moral relativist would probably say something to the effect of, "Well, it maybe true for you but not for me." Then you should say something like, "Well, if I think its okay to kill toddlers because I don't think they are human beings, then is it ok for me to kill toddlers?"

Subjective Claims vs. Objective Claims

When pro-choicers say that "It is just your opinion that human life begins at conception" they are confusing subjective claims with objective claims. Objective claims are claims that can be proved or disproved using objective evidence. For example, claiming that President George Bush weighs 175 pounds is an objective claim. We can put the President on a scale and if he weighs 175 pounds then the claim is correct but if weighs 178 pounds then the claim is wrong.

Subjective claims are claims where one person or a group of people express their opinions about something that is a personal preference. For example, claiming that President Bush is an attractive man is a preference claim. Some people may find the President to be attractive while others may not but either claim is a subjective claim because they cannot be proven using objective evidence. Another example of this is if I stated, "Halle Berry is more attractive than Charlize Theron." This statement can't be proven with evidence. It's personal preference.

Prolifers claim that abortion kills an innocent human being. This is an objective claim. Pro-choicers who argue this way ("That's just your opinion") are treating your claim like it's a subjective claim, saying that the matter of whether something is a living human being is a matter of opinion not fact.

However, this is not a prolife opinion or feeling. Prolifers aren't saying "Justin Timberlake is cuter than Brad Pitt." Or that "McDonald's fries are better than fries from Burger King." Whether or not abortion kills an innocent human being is a matter of being right and wrong, true or not true, not a matter of opinion.

Paper ripping example

If John Doe is ripping a piece of paper up and then Jane Roe sees John ripping the paper and accuses John of killing an innocent human being, how will John argue with Jane? Will he tell Jane that it is just "her opinion" that ripping paper kills an innocent human being. No, of course not. He will probably look at the piece of paper and say, "What are you talking about? This is a piece of paper, not a human being?" He would probably then commence to prove to Jane that a piece of paper is not a human being by inspecting another piece of paper, looking for signs of life such as growth, cellular division, energy use, etc. He could also try to extract DNA from the paper to see what kind of being it is or what kind of being it used to be by looking at its chromosomes. John could also try to figure out if the parents of the paper were human beings. The evidence would clearly show that the piece of paper was not a human being and Jane would be wrong.

Jane made an objective claim about the paper being a human being. She was either right or wrong. Prolifers are making an objective claim about the unborn being human beings. They are either right or wrong. Pro-choicers often use moral relativism as a crutch because they can't use science to prove that the unborn aren't human beings On the other hand, in my example John had no need to use moral relativism because he could easily prove that a piece of paper isn't a human being.

Either abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being or it does not. Just because someone refuses to accept the scientific reality that life begins at conception doesn't mean that abortion can be wrong for someone else but is okay for them.

On to Part Three


  1. Women's Right to Choose2:54 PM

    I'm Pro-Choice and find your article to be rather biased. I have never argued those points and do not persecute others who have religious reasons for forming their own opinions. Women's rights on this issue aren't argued because a fetus is not a "human." Women's choices are argued because it is their body, their life, and their choice.

    Do you agree with the denial of selling Plan B emergency contraceptive? It does not terminate a pregnancy, nor harm an already fertilized egg; rather it only delays ovulation. Contraceptives do not have a 100% success rate. So why then, would certain pharmacists decide they can choose what is right for another person? I see no fault with a woman wanting to be able to provide for a family when she is ready.

    Do you disagree with women taking birth control or using condoms? Margret Sanger invented the birth control pill to help women plan their families and help avoid a life of poverty based on the strains of having a large family. What then, do you think about miscarriages? Should law makers have the right to deem miscarriages "illegal"? No, because a miscarriage is a natural process. The body terminates a pregnancy. The mother may have abnormal hormone levels, the fetus was not developing correctly, a cervix dilates or is thin, or a placenta that was not attaching to the uterine wall properly.
    -Miscarriage occurs in all mammals that experience pregnancy.

    A pregnancy being terminated is not a new concept. The body does it naturally. Most abortions occur during the first trimester since they are the safest to preform at that time. Abortions do not lead to breast cancer (that is a myth), and many women go on to have healthy families in the future after receiving an abortion.

    Women should not be 'slut-shamed' for deciding what is right for them.

  2. Just because you may not argue that way doesn't mean other pro-choice people don't. My series of posts on how pro-choicers argue has multiple posts because different pro-choicers argue differently.

    For example, from your comment, it appears you might be interested in Part 8 -

    Margaret Sanger didn't invent the birth control pill - she promoted it. I'm not opposed to methods of birth control which prevent conception.

    A pregnancy being terminated is not a new concept. The body does it naturally.

    And your point is? Thousands of children die from natural causes each year. Does that mean it should be legal to kill them?