Understanding Our Opposition

Pro-abortion protesters at League-sponsored Face the Truth Day in Chicago, 2009

Pro-abortion protesters at League-sponsored Face the Truth Day in Chicago, 2009 [Photo by Sam Scheidler]

Two undergraduate students at MIT, Colin McSwiggen and Fatima Hussain, recently wrote an op-ed for the school’s newspaper, the opening paragraph of which reads:

For as long as the United States government has existed, it has been shirking a critical moral obligation. We are talking, of course, about our nation’s failure to protect the right of every woman to receive an affordable abortion on demand.

As is clear from the opening paragraph, this opinion piece is barking mad.

But I do have to give the students credit on one thing: If you want to get your head around the “pro-choice” mindset and really understand what it is that makes them tick, McSwiggen and Hussain’s rather concise (887 word) opinion piece is as good an introduction as any you’ll find.

It didn’t take the two students long to trot out the “Anti-Choicers are Violent Extremists” Talking Point, noting in the second paragraph that, “Once they do get to a clinic, [many women] are frequently met with threats of violence from right-wing extremists”. Curiously, they provided documentation for nary one of these “threats of violence” that they claim occur “frequently”.

They go on to say:

The United States is very far indeed from providing universal access to abortion services, and the results of this oversight are nothing short of tragic.

A government’s failure to provide abortions constitutes depraved indifference to human life.

Be mindful of what they’re saying here: Merely permitting abortions isn’t enough; it’s the failure to actually provide them — that is, to force you and me to pay for them, and to force a doctor to do them — that constitutes “depraved indifference to human life.”

They go on to say:

According to the same WHO study, each year, unsafe abortions are directly responsible for the deaths of 70,000 women worldwide, a figure that is likely an underestimate, as maternal mortality is widely under-reported. Given the fact that the same number of women will seek abortions regardless of laws or policies, governments around the world are knowingly allowing these 70,000 women to die each year by failing to provide adequate abortion services.

70,000 women die every year from “unsafe” abortions? Well, no, explain Andrea Mrozek and Rebecca Walbert:

It’s a tragedy whether 700 or 70,000 women die from abortions. However, the issue is much bigger than the number. The assumptions used to calculate the 70,000 are debatable and the methodology isn’t up to scientific standards. In the end, 70,000 is nothing more than a stab in the dark by the World Health Organization’s own admission.

The source for the 70,000 lies in a series of reports published by WHO called Unsafe Abortion. There, researchers repeatedly clarify how hard it is to study the issue due to the lack of data. One citation (of many) reads: “As there are no feasible data collection methods that can reliably reflect the overall burden of unsafe abortion, one is left to work with incomplete information on incidence and mortality from community studies or hospitals … This is then adjusted to correct for misreporting and under-reporting.” It’s no big surprise that some of the world’s poorest or war-torn nations don’t keep impeccable abortion statistics. So researchers rely on assumption after assumption.

Note that McSwiggen and Hussain speak not of deaths due to “illegal” abortions, but rather “unsafe” abortions. Christina Dunigan trenchantly explains here why abortion advocates have shifted away from the dichotomy of “legal” versus “illegal” abortions, and toward one of “safe” versus “unsafe.”

They also write:

Equality of the sexes is impossible without free access to abortions.

Is there a better illustration of the radical difference between the pro-life and so-called “pro-choice” worldviews than that?

And, to further clarify the point, they write:

The government has a duty to ensure that no financial premium is placed on our reproductive freedom.

They conclude with this:

We look forward to a world in which every woman is guaranteed her right to an abortion whenever she wants, for any reason.

Based on this, one could assume that they even support a woman’s right to sex-selective abortion, although one can’t help but wonder how that squares with the belief about equality of the sexes.

As I said at the outset, if you want to get inside the opposition’s head, read the whole thing. This is likely one of the more candid and concise pro-abortion manifestoes you’ve seen in a while.

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