Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pointing Out the Speck in Their Eye

Back in September I wrote a little piece called The Girder in Our Own Eye, which I had intended as a preemptive strike against “ourselves” for the piece that was to follow in the next week or two.

And then a few other things came up, I wrote about other things, and I never got around to it.

Well, now is the acceptable time…even though I have a stack of other things to write about; and having taken a look at the girder in our own eyes, it’s now time to take a look at the speck in theirs.

While I accept the fact that the goals of many in the anti-abortion camp come from the best of intentions, I absolutely hate how they seem to “cook the books” in order to try to reach their goal; and I hate how while using their own religious arguments to demonstrate why abortion is wrong, they don’t take into account other religious arguments that might say that it’s not quite an open and shut case.

I hate their scare tactics. There’s a billboard that crops up on a regular basis that says that “abortion increases breast cancer risk.” Now I’m an open-minded person. When faced with information that I’d never heard before, I don’t immediately dismiss it out of hand…I do a little research. And where best to go for information about breast cancer than the website of the American Cancer Society? What did I find there? I found that in the huge majority of tests, they’ve found neither causality nor correlation between abortions and breast cancer. However, in a very small minority of cases, a correlation was found (not the same thing as causality), and this is the “fact” that this billboard, and others like it, are based on.

Then there’s that famous Planned Parenthood video about them selling fetal body parts. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard from people who have, that it’s a really terrible editing job, spliced and cobbled together to make it look like people are saying things that they’re probably not. The only real way to tell for sure would be to have the original “frame codes” showing at the bottom of the screen. Then we’d know when a few important seconds from the conversation were left out, or moved around, in order to change what was said.

But wait, there’s more. When this whole controversy first hit, a friend of mine said, “The same thing happens to fertilized eggs left over from in-vitro fertilization, so where’s the outrage over that?”

Good question.

And a week or two ago, a friend of mine posted a pie chart that purported to compare all the abortion deaths since Roe vs Wade to all the American war deaths since 1776. That includes The American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, and our various conflicts in the Middle East. According to this chart, abortion deaths were something like 90% of the pie.

But while this may be true, I believe that the case was severely overstated by comparing abortions over a 40-year period to wars that each lasted a limited amount of time. Compare apples to apples. Compare, say abortions during any four-year period from 1973 to now to the total American war deaths during World War II, and then we can talk. It may still be more, but at least the overstatement of the case wouldn’t be stretching the credibility of the chart.

I wrote four years ago about how what may be a good cause suffers in my eyes when they stoop to tactics that either lie outright or distort the truth. I was talking about anti-smoking campaigns at the time, but I think the same can be said about the anti-abortion movement. This is the speck in their eye.

And if we could all stop treating this as a zero-sum game, and instead agree that we’re all going to have to live with a half-loaf, we could work together to reduce the number of abortions without infringing on anyone’s rights.

Or lying.

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