Stress-testing the
mind of Christ

Where a recovering ex-atheist rams the Bible into other worldviews to see what breaks (note: Scripture cannot be broken)


exchanges
Abortion and the Holocaust

An informative exchange with an indignant pro-aborter.

Here is a brief exchange illustrating how some pro-abortion advocates tend to be blinded by their own emotional rhetoric so they cannot focus on moral reasoning.

Paul Attwood In 50 years the world will look at planned parenthood in the same way we look back at the Nazi’s death camps with horror and revultion

Petra Žagmajster Planned Parenthood and nazi death camps are not the same thing. They will never be the same. It’s really disrespectful thing to say.

Ed Hettman A holocaust is a holocaust. This one is far, far worse and far more of the blood of those selfishly murdered is crying out from the soil of the USA than Germany. The comparison is accurate despite whether you like it used or not.

Cory Taylor

The comparison is accurate…

No it isn’t. You cannot win an argument by doing that. It is a fallacy for a reason! Comparing abortion to Hitler is irrelevant, since it’s nothing but a diversionary tactic from your argument.

Bnonn Tennant It isn’t diversionary at all. It is precisely on point. http://abortionholocaust.org

Petra Žagmajster Abortionholocaust.org? Yes, and I’ll believe aliens exist if I read it on website Aliensarereal.com

Bnonn Tennant Is there something factually wrong on that site? If so, what?

Petra Žagmajster Not everything on the internet is true

Bnonn Tennant Therefore, I should doubt your doubting of that website. Which incidentally documents where it gets its data, unlike you.

Petra Žagmajster You should doubt my doubting of that website? No, you should accept the fact that I don’t believe you.

Bnonn Tennant What don’t you believe, specifically?

Petra Žagmajster Because your screwed up system would rather let a raped and pregnant 12 year old girl die at childbirth than let her have an abortion. Because she is not important. She is just an incubator for your screwed up ideas.

Bnonn Tennant Petra, I’m sorry, I’m not really following. I wouldn’t let a 12 year old girl die in childbirth if I could possibly help it. It’s a little hurtful that you think I would, like I am some kind of monster. I have a little girl myself who will be 12 in a few years.

But…when is an abortion ever necessary to prevent a 12 year old girl dying in childbirth? I’m not aware of any pregnancy-related health crisis in which abortion is the only possible treatment, let alone a childbirth-related crisis? It’s true that very rarely, such as in the case of some ectopic pregnancies, saving the mother’s life results in the death of her child—but that is not an abortion per se.

All this seems beside the point though. These are extremely rare, exceptional circumstances. The vast majority of abortions are done simply because the mother doesn’t want the child, doesn’t feel up to having a child, is pressured by family, etc. And organizations like Planned Parenthood facilitate this by telling her that the child is not really a child, but rather a “clump of cells”, that she is “empowered” by making a “choice” about her “bodily autonomy”, that abortion is “reproductive healthcare” and a “treatment”. As a result, 1.3 BILLION children have been killed by abortion since 1970. Are you disputing the figures? Or are you disputing that the Nazis used the same linguistic tactics to make killing Jews palatable to the general public by classing them as nonpersons? I don’t get where you’re coming from.

Petra Žagmajster Not a 12 year old but still, I bet an abortion could have saved her
http://sourcefed.com/woman-denied-abortion-dies/

Bnonn Tennant I can’t really comment on that case; from what I understand it was more complex than the article makes out. But again, even if abortion was a valid treatment there, this is an exceptionally rare circumstance in which the child was certain to die anyway.

But you keep avoiding my question. You said that it’s disrespectful to liken Nazi death camps to abortion. I’ve given reasons that the analogy is very valid. What specifically do you think I have gotten wrong?

Petra Žagmajster Because Hitler didn’t kill Jews, gay people etc because he was too poor to take care of them. Or because he knew they would endanger his life and he might die. Or because someone raped him and they were the result of that. Hitler was evil. Woman who can’t even feed herself and knows she doesn’t have any money for prenatal vitamins and all that pregnancy stuff (in case she wants to give it up for adoption)… She is NOT evil. Maybe she even wants a child, but she can’t have it because it would probably die of starvation. That woman is not evil. She is just in a very difficult situation.

Bnonn Tennant 1. You continue to focus on marginal cases. But abortion as a whole is not justified on the basis of marginal cases. It is justified on the basis of “bodily autonomy” and “fetuses aren’t persons”. That is precisely analagous to Hitler’s justification for the Final Solution, viz lebensraum and nonperson classifications. So while you might be very legitimately concerned about difficult pregnancy situations, these are simply a red herring in terms of the similarities between abortion and Nazism. To disprove those similarities, you would have to show that abortion is not typically justified by consent arguments and personhood arguments—which obviously you cannot do since we all know those are major pillars of the pro-abortion position.

2. It is also extremely rare for women to become pregnant without willingly engaging in an activity they know might get them pregnant. Namely sex. Your example is designed to tug our heartstrings, but you conveniently omit how this poverty-stricken woman got pregnant in the first place. In nearly all cases, she had sex with someone. But engaging in an activity that you know might put someone’s life at risk (in this case her child’s) makes you responsible if someone’s life does, in fact, end up at risk. You don’t have a right to put people’s lives at risk.

3. Moreover, a situation has to be outrageously extreme before killing your child can be considered permissible. You try to make out that a woman is not evil for murdering her baby if she cannot care for it. But obviously it is evil. Murdering the child you are supposed to protect is in fact a paradigm example of a wicked thing to do. There is almost always some alternative. So in nearly every kind of situation similar to your example, the mother is evil—contrary to your flat denial of this. Indeed, she is doubly evil: first for deliberately putting her child in that situation, and second for then killing it.

You are trying to make emotional appeals to short-circuit our moral reasoning. But that is not virtuous behavior. That’s not commendable. Especially when children’s lives are at stake. With stakes that high, we cannot afford to have our judgment clouded by hysterical rhetoric; we have a serious obligation to carefully and thoughtfully reason through the issues.

Petra Žagmajster I’m trying to say that these things happen. Extreme situations happen. What would you do? Imagine you were single, homeless, unemployed, starving, raped and pregnant. What would you do? You said there must be an alternative. Here’s your chance. Come up with a plan. Maybe you can think of something nobody else did.

Bnonn Tennant Petra, none of what you’re saying is responsive to the reasons I have given that:

1. Abortion is directly analagous to the Holocaust.

2. A woman who commits abortion, even in extreme circumstances, is still a murderer and therefore still evil.

Petra Žagmajster Listen, I’m tired of this. This is going nowhere. You sound like a horrible, narrow-minded person. I’m glad I’m not a part of your family.

Bnonn Tennant Petra, it’s going nowhere because you have repeatedly refused to reason with me. You are doing the online equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling that you’re right and I’m wrong. You call me horrible and narrow-minded—yet it is you who is blindly insisting that women be allowed to murder their children. Name-calling is what people do when they don’t have an argument, but they are too hard-hearted to change their minds.

Petra Žagmajster I just stated the facts. You sound like a horrible, narrow minded person. That is the fact. Even if an abortion could save a woman’s life, you would stop it. You would torture her by making her carry her rapist’s child. And you’d call her Hitler if she said she wanted an abortion. If you don’t see what’s wrong with that… You are beyond help. Now I’m leaving because this is pointless. Goodbye.

Bnonn Tennant Actually I called into question whether it is ever medically necessary to have an abortion to save a woman’s life. Since I am not a doctor, I defer to their medical opinion, which contradicts your non-expert one: http://www.dublindeclaration.com

You continue to attack my character, even saying I would call a woman Hitler for having an abortion. Yet I never said any such thing, as you would know if you were reading my words with charity and care, rather than with blind prejudice and hate. I compared the abortion industry to the Holocaust; not individual women to Hitler. That was perfectly plain. You have consistently failed to even acknowledge the direct analogies I raised, let alone refute them, preferring instead to hysterically rant about imaginary fringe cases that do nothing to counter the real majority issue, and nonexistent medical cases that do nothing to justify the actual reasons that thousands of pre-born children are coldly burned or torn to death every day.

Can I ask you a question? Have you had an abortion?

14 comments

  1. Gabriel

    Bnonn, I am incredibly offended. Just yesterday, the situation that Petra described took place in my neighborhood exactly as she depicted. An innocent, single, homeless, unemployed, starving 12-year-old was raped and (somehow) became pregnant. :P

    In all seriousness, though, you should ask the question, “If a baby comes about by rape, how does it therefore become deserving of death?”. It’s basically like that “fill in the blank” argument you like to use.

    1. A woman was raped and became pregnant.

    2. ?

    3. Therefore, we should kill the baby.

    It would be interesting to see how they would respond. Some might say that it would remind the woman of the incident, but I find that response inadequate. The baby doesn’t do it on purpose. And she could always put it up for adoption. What do you think?

  2. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Quite right. I talk about this here:

    http://bnonn.com/4-reasons-consent-argument-for-abortion-is-sociopathic/

    But one has to choose one’s battles. Tackling every possible argument and angle is counterproductive; it’s better to try to focus down for the sake of having a fruitful conversation.

  3. Kirk Skeptic

    I am a physician, and am unaware of any reason in the First World necessitating abortion.

  4. Smokering

    Fulminating pre-eclampsia occurring before viability?

  5. Kirk Skeptic

    @Smokering: it’s not so much an abortion as it is like the delivery of a stillbirth or the termination of an ectopic pregnancy, as opposed to abortion in the lay sense. Should a mother’s life be in immanent danger – and not due to the rage of a jealous paramour – that is a different matter. Of all the abortions committed in the western world, what percentage of the decisions to abort were based on maternal immanent danger? Rule by exception or New Age sob story makes for lousy government and lousy science.

  6. Smokering

    I agree that the motivation and ethical considerations would be different to the majority of abortions – if the mother dies, the fetus dies anyway, so the doctrine of double effect comes into play and all that.

    Nevertheless, while abortions to save the life of the mother are undoubtedly extremely rare, they do occasionally occur. I’ve seen pro-lifers claim that there is NEVER EVER EVER any reason that a woman would need an abortion to save her life, and it’s just not true. If a woman gets fulminating pre-eclampsia at 14 weeks, abortion is probably the only way to save her life. I don’t think it’s honest to pretend that these situations never exist, although as you say, they are outliers.

  7. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    In defense of those pro-lifers, like me, who claim there is never any reason for a woman to need to an abortion to save her life, they are deferring to the testimony of expert witnesses. For instance, why would so many physicians have signed the Dublin Declaration if it were medically false?

    http://www.dublindeclaration.com/

  8. Smokering

    So what would they suggest as a course of treatment for a woman who develops fulminating pre-eclampsia at 20 weeks? From what I’ve read (and I just checked up on it), the only solution is delivering the baby. Babies can’t survive at 20 weeks. (It does seem that pre-20-week pre-e is generally associated with molar pregnancy, so ignore my 14-week example earlier.)

    I suppose, depending on the method of delivering the baby, they could quibble about whether or not it’s technically abortion – sometimes there isn’t time to wait for induced labour to progress naturally, so they deliver the baby by C-section, which is certainly a different procedure from abortion – and perhaps the drugs used to induce labour for pre-e are different to those used to induce labour for late-term abortions – but that seems disingenuous. The underlying principle of “sometimes we do something we know will kill the baby to save the mother” is still there, and that’s the principle to which people refer when they talk about abortions necessary to save a mother’s life.

  9. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    I don’t think it is disingenuous. Killing the baby directly via abortive techniques is substantially different from delivering the baby and not being able to keep it alive.

  10. Smokering

    So your argument is essentially “Abortion is never medically necessary, because if it’s medically necessary it’s not abortion”.

    Some thoughts on that:

    1. If you’re going to argue that with pro-choicers, I think you ought to be very clear on exactly what you’re saying. I’ve seen pro-lifers argue simply “Abortion is never medically necessary” without qualification, which just seems to deny reality.

    2. Focusing on the technique used raises problems. I just read about a woman with severe pre-e who was carrying twin boys, one of whom had already died. Her condition was so far advanced that her doctors felt the only option was to quickly dilate her cervix and perform an abortion. This wasn’t a ‘failure to save the baby because his lungs were immature’ situation – it was a nasty, bloody, dismembery abortion. So either ‘abortion is never necessary to save the woman’s life’ is incorrect, or ‘it’s not abortion if it’s to save the woman’s life’ does not require the death of the baby to be indirect or passive.

    3. Focusing on the intent – the principle of double effect – could lead to an interesting discussion, because a good many pro-choicers see *all* abortion as a double-effect situation. It’s not “kill the baby for the sake of killing the baby”; it’s “save the mother from a live of poverty/single parenthood/the disadvantages associated with being a teen mum/the trauma of childbirth”, with the death of the baby being seen as a regrettable but justified side-effect. So they’re likely to view the double-effect explanation as a distinction without a difference, arguing that abortion ‘for a good cause’ is still abortion.

  11. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    I would characterize my argument in terms of the technique, since my impression is that is how the Dublin Declaration deals with the question.

    Moreover, I have not had the occasion to make a positive argument that abortion is never medically necessary. Rather, I’ve simply called into question the assertion that it sometimes (“often”) is medically necessary, by asking for specific examples—which have never been forthcoming. Not having any interest in medical research, I’ve never delved further than that.

    Knowing that an actual abortive technique is occasionally necessary is interesting, and useful for accurately attenuating my position in further debate—but it’s not ultimately ethically relevant given the doctrine of double effect.

    Arguing for general abortion from DDE is obviously doomed to failure for the kinds of reasons I’ve already outlined on this blog many times. No adult with a properly functioning conscience would accept that, any more than they would accept killing Jews as an example of DDE for the sake of lebensraum.

  12. Smokering

    I’m not sure that the presence of actual abortive technique isn’t ethically relevant. I can agree that DDE allows that killing A to save B, where A would have died if B died in any case, is permissible. But is it still permissible to *dismember A without anaesthesia* to save B, where A would have died if B had died, but with far less pain? (The baby in question was 6 months’ gestation, so he could feel pain.)

    I don’t know. Maybe it is. Obviously a horrific situation to be in, and whatever the doctor chose would have probably felt very wrong. But it seems like the brutality of the method used is an ethical factor, even if it’s not decisive. (It also raises the question, why didn’t the doctor administer some kind of knock-out drug to the baby before performing the procedure? Surely that could have been done quickly?)

  13. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Good points.

  14. Kirk Skeptic

    This will not happen, because anesthetizing the infant would constitute a tacit admission of his personhood, which was previously denied by the Messianic State.

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