This ought to piss pretty much everyone off. I have tried to avoid discussions and debates on abortion for a long, long time now, mostly because they are all emotional cluster-fucks where people who spend all their time “feeling” instead of “thinking” congregate and whine at each other. I can’t tell you when the last time I saw a rational debate of abortion from anyone, on any forum, from either the pro-choice side or the anti-abortion side. I don’t know that it’s possible to even have one with the majority of the population.
So it was somewhat of a surprise when I ran across a discussion on a forum about rational approaches to abortion. Of course, in just the first dozen posts or so, it was already going south. Theists had shown up and were demanding that God said abortion was evil. Feminists were showing up and screaming that stopping abortion was a violation of their rights. The clueless were showing up and claiming that atheists believed a fetus wasn’t human. It was already painful to read, but I decided to drop my opinion and see what happened. It should have been predictable, but madness ensued. I managed to pretty much piss everyone off across the board.
Let me clarify a few points then, in reverse order. First off, I absolutely think that a fetus is 100% human. Being human is a matter of genetics. A human fetus is genetically human, it is just as human as an adult human being. My response to that is… so what? I don’t get hung up on whether something is human or not. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m not even all that concerned about the typical human emotional attachment to humanity. It’s a matter of being able to scale the discussion and also being able to exempt yourself from the emotions. See, people care about people because people are people and people want to be cared about. That doesn’t mean that people are objectively important, just that people have a vested interest in being important. Yes, a fetus is human. Couldn’t care less on an intellectual level. Enlightened self-interest aside, it has no bearing on the details of the debate.
Secondly, I’ve already had my say on the existence of rights and frankly, I’m just not impressed by anyone who shows up and declares themselves to have rights, especially if they’re doing it on the behalf of an entire gender planet-wide. You have the rights determined by the society in which you live, no more, no less. That means that in a nation like the United States, women have a legal right to an abortion because the society has determined that it is so. It also means that in countries like Ireland, women do not have a legal right to an abortion. You can hate Ireland and similar nations for their stances, most are based on religion, but you can’t single-handedly over-ride their social order because you wish it was different. There simply are no universal rights to anything.
Third, I don’t give a rat’s ass what the Bible or any other religious book says on the subject, but please, can theists stop lying? The Bible says nothing whatsoever about abortion, in fact, the closest you can get in the Bible is the story of Solomon where the parentage of a baby is in question and he demands the baby be cut in half and be distributed to the two women. No, this is not abortion, but the ancient Hebrews didn’t even consider a child to be alive until it was a certain age, due to high infant mortality. Lots of kids died and killing a pregnant woman wouldn’t get you a second glance because fetuses were property, not lifeforms. Absolutely no argument that starts out with “God says…” will ever impress me, don’t even bother.
So what’s the reality? In the United States at least, we have decided that the line between a legally protected human being and a legally unprotected human being is at the moment of birth. That’s it. It’s an arbitrary line to be sure but it’s the line that we’ve set, just like we’ve set the arbitrary age of 18 as the line between adolescence and adulthood. Further, I don’t give a damn about women’s rights in the sense that anyone demands they have universal rights that are not granted by their society. Women have certain rights in this country. Those are the rights that they get. There was a time when they did not have those rights. Before that time, they didn’t have those rights. Society as a whole, through the ballot box, gets to decide how we distribute rights in this country. This is what society as a whole has determined.
Now to be honest, I would like to think that in a perfect world, there would be only a minimal need for abortions. I’d like for people to be responsible, I’d like for birth control methods to never fail, I’d like every child to be a wanted child and for people to put the well-being of a coming child ahead of their own. We just don’t live in a perfect world and never will.
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care if you like abortion or not, you have to deal with it. If you really don’t like it, try to convince enough voters in this country to overturn it and make it illegal. If you can do so, if the majority of Americans suddenly decide that abortion should not be legal, then it will not be legal. I wouldn’t hold my breath since most Americans are just fine with abortion, but I’m fine with people exercising their Constitutional rights to try to make changes in the law. The same goes for democratic nations where abortion is illegal, if you can convince the majority of your countrymen that it ought to be legal, by all means go for it! Change the system, but don’t whine about it if you’re in the minority and just don’t like the way things are. Learning to deal with reality is a part of the maturation process, just do it and stop whining. Your rights exist only so far as the nation in which you live decides they exist. If you’re really pissed at your lack of rights, find another nation to live in.
But it’s not fair? Life’s not fair. That’s another thing that everyone needs to get a grip on.