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Bioethics, Ethics, Pro-Life

Another Pro-Choice Meme – Does it Succeed?

pro-choice-argument

Recently, I saw a few people on Facebook posting this image. It’s a bit hard to see on here so here’s a transcript (skip this if you already read it and go to the “Analyzing the Meme” section [I typed it as it is without correcting punctuation):

Women: I’m pregnant what should I do?
Pro life: keep the baby!
Women: okay! Can I have prenatal vitamins?
Pro life: what?
Women: can I have financial help for doctor appointments?
Pro life: ummm…..
Women: can I at least get paid maternity leave?
Pro life: ummm… Excuse me?
Women: the baby is here can I get financial help?
Pro life: I’m sorry do we know you?

Analyzing the Meme

The meme is clearly aimed at the notion that pro-life advocates are inconsistent. They claim to be “pro-life” but when it comes down to the details of life, they jump ship.

I am not speaking for all who are pro-life (that would be impossible), but I do think it is extremely important to be consistently pro-life. That is, an argument like this can show that a position like pro-life is inconsistent, and that does discredit the pro-life position. We need to be consistently pro-life if we are to consider ourselves pro-life at all. But–and this is a really big “but”–the meme completely misses the point.

Missing the Point

It should be clear, however, that the argument presented in this meme is a bit off target. The point is that the real question at issue is whether the unborn is a person.

Think about the meme this way:

Women: I have a toddler what should I do?
Pro life: keep the toddler!
Women: okay! Can I have health care?
Pro life: what?
Women: can I have financial help for doctor appointments?
Pro life: ummm…..
Women: can I at least get paid leave if he/she is sick?
Pro life: ummm… Excuse me?
Women: the toddler is here can I get financial help?
Pro life: I’m sorry do we know you?

What conclusion could be drawn from this? That women (or men) have the right to kill the toddler if they don’t receive those things? I should hope the answer is obvious: no, that does not follow at all. Whether one thinks the answers to the questions the women ask in this scenario should be affirmative or not, suppose it was no to all of them: does that mean we’d go ahead and green light the parents killing the toddler?*

Thus, the argument begs the question. No one should take seriously the notion that if someone can’t pay for supporting a human being they should kill him or her. The only way the argument makes any sense is if one has already assumed that the unborn is not a human being/person. And that is an issue that should be discussed more thoroughly. I have written numerous articles in defense of the pro-life position, so I won’t repeat my arguments here.

Conclusion

One of the comments on Facebook a user posted from the group that put up this image was “How true..
They are not pro life…they are pro birth…then wash their hands afterwards..”

I think this comment demonstrates how much of an emotional impact a meme like this can have. We as pro-life individuals need to be consistently pro-life, lest people reject our reasoning because they see us as “hypocrites.”

However, the ultimate point–the one at the heart of the debate–is whether the unborn is a person. And a meme like this does nothing to discredit the pro-life position whatsoever. It does not follow that if I can’t pay to support my son, I should be allowed to kill him. Neither does it follow that the interlocutor of the meme has demonstrated the pro-life position is mistaken.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Pro-life– I have written a number of posts advocating the pro-life position. Particularly relevant to the present discussion are “From conception, a human” and “The issue at the heart of the abortion debate.”

*This is an example of the “trot out the toddler” defense of the pro-life position. It was coined by (I believe) Scott Klusendorf.

I am not sure who was the original user that put the image  up, so I can’t cite it appropriately. I make no claim to owning the image and use it under fair use.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

18 thoughts on “Another Pro-Choice Meme – Does it Succeed?

  1. Your analogy to a toddler doesn’t work because he or she is independent of you and can be provided care external to you. That’s why the toddler is a ‘person’. A fetus is not similar in that it is fully dependent on the mother.

    The Facebook meme is to demonstrate that the imposition by the anti-choice supporters to force birth on others does not come with the same level of responsibility. Because only the mother has the responsibility, only the mother has the right to choose to accept or reject that responsibility.

    Those who pay the piper call the tune… in this case the woman who pays for that womb.

    Posted by tildeb | February 16, 2015, 9:17 AM
    • The toddler is totally dependent upon someone. I suppose whoever that toddler is dependent upon can then decide to kill him or her, according to you, because he or she is totally dependent upon them.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | February 16, 2015, 9:54 AM
      • They can breath just fine. They can circulate their own blood. They can be cared for by anyone. That’s why they can survive daycare! The fetus is not similar in that they have an absolute dependency on that mom and no other during gestation. They are part and parcel of the mom; should she be affected by something, so too is the fetus. The toddler is not.

        Posted by tildeb | February 16, 2015, 10:40 AM
      • They are part of the mom? Do you have the scientific data to back up the notion that women spontaneously generate parts of themselves with different DNA and about 50% of the time different genders? It seems that the experts disagree with you.

        Your argument is not only scientifically nonsensical, but it also implies that the location of a person is what determines whether or not they may be killed at will.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | February 16, 2015, 11:01 AM
      • Also, apparently people need to be able to circulate their own blood or breathe in order to be a person. I suppose people who need life support are therefore not persons either. On any device that you need to breathe? According to your reasoning, you may be killed at will.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | February 16, 2015, 11:03 AM
      • Why are you being intentionally obtuse?

        Stand a pregnant woman next to a mom and toddler and think: iIs there an important dependent/independent difference between the mom and fetus versus the mom and the toddler as I’ve tried to point out?

        Not according to you. You’re wrong.

        Here’s a thought experiment:

        Fatally shoot the pregnant mom in the head and measure how well the fetus does over the next 12 hours.

        Fatally shoot the toddler’s mom in the head and measure how well the toddler does over the next 12 hours.

        No difference between the state of the fetus and the state of the toddler? Really?

        Come on, JW. Admit you are conflating a dependent fetus to be equivalent to and independent toddler not because it’s true (it isn’t) but because it fits the justification you need for your forced birth narrative.

        Posted by tildeb | February 16, 2015, 11:11 AM
      • When did I ever claim there is no difference in the state of affairs between fetus and toddler? My claim has been that so far as personhood is concern, there is no difference. Your claim of dependence vs. independence is arbitrary at best and can easily be shown to be such because similar states of dependence are simply dismissed by you without argument. Turn off an assisted breathing device that someone is using and how long will they survive? Not very. But according to you, it is only the dependence of the fetus that matters. Why? Because that’s what you need to justify killing it at will.

        To quote from my previously linked post: “As long as there is an environment in which the resources required for life continue to be provided, the zygote will continue to mature and, well, live (much like a baby, or a 20 year old).”

        We all rely on our environment in some ways. Of course the fetus has more reliance than we do. But what reason is there for thinking increased reliance = decreased worth and indeed the necessary possibility of being killed at will?

        Moreover, your argument, as usual, has subtly shifted over the course of our conversation. As usual, it seems you engage in goalpost moving.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | February 16, 2015, 11:20 AM
      • Your claim of dependence vs. independence is arbitrary at best and can easily be shown to be such because similar states of dependence are simply dismissed by you without argument.

        If this is all about me and my arbitrary differential, then why is birth the legal basis for when a fetus becomes a legal person with individual rights?

        What a mystery.

        In case you missed it, the key component for the law is the idea of the individual. Rights are individual, you see, so it’s not a matter of ‘goal post shifting’ to focus on that element of your argument (oh, that’s a rich criticism for your seemingly endless tolerance for doing exactly that by labreuer!), which is what I have done consistently with explaining why your analogy fails.

        There is a marked difference between fetuses and toddlers not just in principle of dependence/independence but practicality that is essential for this legal definition… a difference that you are willing to wave away in order to support forced birthing while conveniently overriding the individual rights of the mother in this quest to impose your choice in law on others. A toddler is not dependent on the mother alone to survive. A fetus is. And that’s why a parent can’t simply kill a born child (like Isaac had every intention of doing with your god’s blessing) without facing the charge of murder… a charge that does not apply to a woman who aborts a fetus (an event that occurs naturally in about 70% of all pregnancies let us not ignore). The difference is not trivial, JW nor is it one that can be waved away in law without dire consequences for all of us.

        Posted by tildeb | February 16, 2015, 12:43 PM
      • So effectively now your appeal is to the law rather than to logic. Once we start to decide that we can invent whatever difference we want to make a sliding scale of personhood, the consequences are dire. In fact, we’ve already experienced them with slavery. Ironically, regarding the latter, slaveholders used the same type of logic in appealing to the law and the notion that there was a marked difference between one class of people and another.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | February 17, 2015, 9:58 AM
      • Moreover, the problem remains that even when parallel cases are pointed out to you regarding dependence/independence, they are rejected summarily. Thus far the only basis for that rejection has been the location of the one considered dependent.

        Finally, regarding the aside about other people who leave comments on the blog–I allow for dissent on here (so long as it stays within the rules of the comment policy) and for a spectrum of opinions and viewpoints. I don’t always dive in and point out defects in logic or reasoning because, frankly, I don’t have the time to do so. I do, however, appreciate the comments I get even where they diverge from my own view. So what this all means is that whatever others say, my approving the comment doesn’t mean I endorse it any more than my approving your comments does. Your accusation–even if on target regarding others’ comments–seems pretty disingenuous because you should, by now, know all of this. If you have an issue with the comment someone else writes, feel free to respond to them; don’t act as though their responses are equivalent to my own.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | February 17, 2015, 10:02 AM
    • “Your analogy to a toddler doesn’t work because he or she is independent of you and can be provided care external to you.”

      If level of dependence were a relevant factor, the toddler analogy would still be relevant to the last thing the woman said in the meme: “the toddler is here can I get financial help?”

      But I fail to see any reason to think that an entity’s level of dependence has anything to do with whether or not it is a person. You say what makes a toddler is a person is that they can be provided for external to you. Even if I granted that was true, wouldn’t it follow that any fetus who reaches the point of viability is a person even though they hadn’t been born yet? Would you oppose abortion beyond that point?

      I don’t see how it follows that if only the mother is responsible for the child that the mother has the right to choose whether to accept the responsibility or have the fetus killed. Once the baby is born, is it your position that somebody other than the mother is responsible for him or her? All of society, perhaps? If so, does that give society the right to accept that responsibility or choose to kill the baby?

      Posted by Sam Harper | February 16, 2015, 12:31 PM
    • Help me understand your position, Tildeb.

      You’re saying that a human being is not a “person”, worthy of being protected from a violent death, if they cannot exist, independently, outside their natural environment? Is that right? After all, at that point in our human development, our natural environment is the womb. It’s where we are SUPPOSED to be.

      Using your logic, 8 million human beings per day lose their “personhood” when the aircraft on which they are traveling reaches cruising altitude. It also follows that any astronaut that has ever taken a spacewalk lost his personhood for those crucial few hours. It must also be true that submariners lose their personhood for months at a time while their vessel is submerged.

      To argue that a fetus is eligible for a violent death because she cannot exist outside her natural environment and not argue the same thing for airline passengers, astronauts, and submariners is nothing more than special pleading.

      Posted by Jeremy Choate | February 16, 2015, 1:11 PM
    • Of course the analogy works. The pro-life position is that there is no difference in terms of personhood between a toddler and the unborn. If you accept this position — at least for the sake of argument — then you cannot kill the unborn for lack if financial support any more than you can kill a toddler for the same thing.

      If, in order to make your point, you need to import the notion that the unborn isn’t a person anyway, then you are no longer arguing consistently from the pro-choice position. You’ve imported something from your own view. If the only way to justify your position is to assume that position, then you are begging the question.

      Posted by Izak Burger | February 16, 2015, 2:12 PM
      • Apologies. I meant to say “you are no longer arguing consistently from the pro-live position”, the argument which you seek to prove inconsistent.

        Posted by Izak Burger | February 16, 2015, 2:14 PM
      • No, it doesn’t Izak. You presume the conclusion as your premise, namely that the unborn is as much a person a s a toddler. This is not true in the legal sense.

        JW states The point is that the real question at issue is whether the unborn is a person.

        He then introduces the analogy to address this real question:

        Think about the meme this way:

        Women: I have a toddler what should I do?

        The problem with the analogy is that the toddler IS a person, whereas that description is a ‘real question’ for the unborn.

        Clearly, in law the unborn is not equivalent to the toddler. Presuming it is does not answer the question because it presumes what it sets out to prove as the essential premise.

        We’re all pro life. But I recognize the danger to my autonomy in law that the anti-choice force birthers are trying to accomplish in the name of protecting fetuses.

        Posted by tildeb | February 16, 2015, 7:42 PM
  2. I am not smart enough to enter into a debate with you guys. However, I do want to add my 1 1/2 cents to the conversation (the other 1/2 cent will be saved for seeding more thoughts). Two things come to mind. First, why are some people so determined to argue for the death of babies, and do the ones arguing for such ever ask themselves that question? Second, the meme is a straw man argument: all of those services ARE provided free of charge, especially to the poor (at least in America, which is where I assume the meme originated).

    Posted by Anthony Baker | February 16, 2015, 3:24 PM
    • To be fair, pro choice people aren’t typically out to get babies or anything like that. Their main concern is for the reproductive freedom of women and a woman’s right to sovereignty over her own body. They think bans on abortion infringe on those rights and freedoms.

      Posted by Sam Harper | February 16, 2015, 4:54 PM
  3. Think about the meme this way:

    1856 democrat: I have a slave what should I do?
    Overly religious abolitionist: FREE the slave!
    1856 democrat: okay! Can I get the government to pay my bills?
    Overly religious abolitionist: what?
    1856 democrat: can I have financial help to pay my laborers?
    Overly religious abolitionist: ummm…..
    1856 democrat: can I at least get paid for my loss in property?
    Overly religious abolitionist: ummm… Excuse me?
    1856 democrat: the slave is free. Can I get financial compensation?
    Overly religious abolitionist: I’m sorry do we know you?

    …it makes more sense to them this way

    Posted by Volker | February 16, 2015, 8:24 PM

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