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Be careful how you argue. I was reminded of that last week while listening to an abortion-related sermon clip that kept popping up in my network feeds. In this instance, a courageous, high-profile pastor was exactly right about the evils of abortion, but he was wrong about some of the facts. Unfortunately, he is not alone. I’ve heard the same misstatements before, and the widespread sharing of the clip in question simply illustrates how extensive our general ignorance can be.
At the heart of the confusion is a discrepancy between fetal age and gestational age. The fetal age of an unborn child is measured from conception. Gestational age is measured from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period. Embryologists—who study prenatal development—use fetal age. Obstetricians—and abortionists—use gestational age. Generally speaking, the fetal age of an unborn child is two weeks less than the corresponding gestational age.
People can get into trouble very quickly when they start to unknowingly mix these aging metrics—as was the case in the sermon I heard. Here is an excerpt:
By eight weeks… babies will suck their thumbs, they respond to sound, there’s evidence building that they are dreaming… they recoil from pain… At eight weeks, all major organs are functioning—which means you have a nervous system that’s developed and you have a brain that receives signals… The heart is pumping, the liver is making blood cells, the kidneys are clearing fluids, and there’s a
Today is the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that struck down all state prohibitions against abortion. Within two years of that verdict—in 1975, the year I was born—the annual abortion total surpassed one million. In the forty years that have followed, more than one million innocent and helpless human beings have lost their lives to abortion every single year—until now. Yesterday, I completed my latest round of analysis on state-level abortion data which revealed that the total number of U.S. abortions in 2013 was approximately 984,000.
Here’s the good news: 2013 marks the first time since 1974 that fewer than one million human beings lost their lives to abortion in the United States.
Here’s the bad news: In 2013, almost one million human beings lost their lives to abortion in the United States.
We might not have the “official” 2013 abortion tally for another year or two. We may never have it since the Guttmacher Institute tends to only publish abortion statistics in three year increments and the CDC data is perennially incomplete. Either way, I feel pretty confident in the reliability of my calculation model—which correctly estimated the 2011 total (1.06 million) well in advance of Guttmacher. If you’re interested in the mechanics of my estimate, I’ll briefly explain the process at the end. In the meantime, I’d like to turn our eyes forward as we continue our labors to expose and eliminate the injustice of abortion.
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Last week, I received an email query that is worth sharing. It comes from a young woman who says she believes abortion is murder but came across an online argument for abortion that she had a hard time refuting. She writes, “I don’t agree with everything this person said, but some of their arguments make sense.” She copied and pasted the argument and asked how we would respond. Here it is (with some minor grammatical edits for clarity):
If my younger sister was in a car accident and desperately needed a blood transfusion to live, and I was the only person on Earth who could donate blood to save her, no one can force me to give blood—even though donating blood is a relatively easy, safe, and quick procedure. Even to save the life of a fully-grown person, it would be ILLEGAL to FORCE me to donate blood if I didn’t want to.
See, we have this concept called “bodily autonomy.” It’s this cultural notion that a person’s control over their own body is above all and must not be infringed upon. We can’t even take LIFE SAVING organs from CORPSES unless the person gave consent before their death. Even corpses get bodily autonomy.
To tell people that they MUST sacrifice their bodily autonomy for nine months against their will in an incredibly expensive, invasive, difficult process—to save what YOU view as another life is desperately unethical. You’re asking people who can become pregnant to accept less bodily autonomy than we grant to dead bodies.
Yesterday, I did a brief, over-the-phone radio interview with NPR. I’m not sure when the segment will air, but they wanted my take on the 1-in-3 campaign—which is the latest effort to convince post-abortive women to go public with positive abortion stories. NPR contacted Abort73 because we’ve amassed a fairly substantial archive of online abortion testimonies over the years, and most of them do not paint abortion in a positive light.
Nevertheless, we do on occasion hear from women who express gratitude for the abortions they’ve contracted. Percentage-wise, they make up less than 5% of the testimonies we receive, but it would be dishonest to simply sweep their stories under the rug or pretend they don’t exist. Every time one comes in, I am both grieved and challenged. We received one such testimony in October and another in November—both of which I’d like to share.
The first comes from a 26-year-old woman in Elmont, NY. She writes:
I was nine weeks pregnant when I found out. I felt numb and cried. I was in a healthy, loving relationship on birth control. Even though my boyfriend and I had discussed babies in a year or two, right now was not the right time financially or emotionally. Terrified, I booked an appointment for a surgical abortion the next day. I was afraid to tell my boyfriend, but he took my hand and told me he agreed with and supported my decision. We would both be heartbroken, but we weren’t going to bring a child into the world whom we couldn’t give
I have never seen The Blind Side. But I recently finished reading the book—and I’m glad I did. What a great read! Though it’s not a book that gives any ink to the topic of abortion, The Blind Side anchors itself upon one of the most unusual and controversial adoptions in our country’s history. The adoption of Michael Oher was unusual because it took place when he was already in high school. It was controversial because Michael Oher wound up becoming one of the most prized football recruits in the nation, and his extremely-wealthy adoptive parents were prominent Ole Miss boosters. By the time Michael Oher committed to play football for their alma mater, plenty of NCAA eyebrows had been raised.
Author Michael Lewis develops the story with a sort of back-and-forth narrative that covers not only the story arc of Michael Oher’s remarkable life, but also the evolution of pro football and the devolution of West Memphis. It isn’t until the second-to-last chapter, “Freak of Nurture,” that Lewis finally reveals the heretofore unknown backstory of Michael Oher’s childhood. Needless to say, it was not a healthy one. His childhood, in fact, is exactly the kind that abortion advocates point to when defending the necessity of their vile practice. Michael Oher was one of at least ten children, though his biological mother was incapable of caring for even a single one. His father was an ex-con who never took the trouble to meet the son who’d been named after him.