The hypocrisy of the anti-abortion lobby
In a recent Twitter exchange, Kevin D Williamson, a writer for the US conservative periodical, National Review, stated that he would seek death by hanging for women who seek abortions and those in the medical profession who carry out abortions, or even politicians who support pro-choice measures. So stringent about this stance, Wiliamson stated that he would not even consider dispensation in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of a woman was in danger should the pregnancy be allowed to continue. Yet when asked if he would extend that law to his wife, who wanted an abortion, or whose life was in danger, he refused to respond.
Williamson’s stance is typical of the hypocrisy of a great many in the anti-choice lobby. I will not refer to them as “pro-life” because they are anything but. Especially in the USA, violence against clinics and personnel which carry out terminations is commonplace, and often fatal. There have been 17 attempted and actual murder attempts upon US abortion clinic staff since 1991, including the attempted murder of Dr George Tiller in 1993. In 2009 another attempt on Dr Tiller’s life was successful, and 16 other abortion clinic workers were killed in the same year.
Other countries which have suffered violent attacks by anti-abortionists are Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which have included murder attempts, firebombing of clinics, kidnappings, an attempted bombing of one NZ clinic, and even threatened and actual bio-terrorism acts of sending anthrax spores to clinics.
In other places, such as the UK, while none of the above have happened, it is commonplace for anti-choice protestors to picket clinics supplying abortions and harangue, staff, patients, and anyone who tends to disagree with them. I can personally recount merely refusing to take a leaflet from one such group, saying “absolutely not” on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, who were picketing a private clinic, and the next thing being having one woman, red-faced with anger, screaming in my face that I was a “baby murderer”. And I am just a guy with no kids. Imagine that happening to any woman seeking a termination?
And this is just one more aspect of the tactics of anti-choice protestors, to bully and abuse women seeking abortions, or merely entering clinics which happen to offer abortions, in extremely strong terms. They may claim in the UK to be nonvoilent but it is every bit as bad as violence. Shouting and screaming in someone’s face is both verbal and psychological abuse, and that is every bit as damaging as actually laying hands on someone, particularly when it is directed at women who are already in emotional and psychological turmoil.
The entire stance of those who oppose abortion is completely hypocritical. Based in the Christian religion, they maintain that they are standing by the protection of innocent, unborn children. There is only one thing wrong with this stance, it does not stand up to Christian theology. According to the Christian faith, the Fall of Man, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, stained all mankind with sin for all time to come. And that means not merely that not only are all living human beings sinful, but we were formed sinful in the womb. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.“ states Psalm 51:5, while Psalm 58:3-6 goes even further, advocating violence; “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear‘ Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord.”
The churches have of course evolved with the times over this issue. It remains true however that the very reason why babies were originally Christened / baptised was in the hope that they would go to Heaven should they die. The vast majority of anti-abortionists however have not evolved with the times; rather they take a fundamentalist view of Christianity, which includes a literal six day creation of a geocentric universe, and strong opposition to anyone who has been condemned in the Bible, including the LGBT community and Wiccans. They take these rules from the teaching of the Old Testament, yet they will not take OT teachings of all humans being formed in iniquity. Yet more cherry-picking from the fundies, which they excel in.
I have seen some Christian commentators try to claim that mankind only chooses to sin, but that cannot ever get away from the teachings in the Psalms mentioned above, and merely goes to show up yet one more glaring contradiction in Biblical teaching. And what is more, they cannot argue the “New Covenant” arguement of Jesus bringing new laws and new ways, because the New Testatment also teaches that mankind is sinful from the womb; “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned“ (Romans 5:12). Indeed, because Christianity has so many hang-ups concerning sex, the very reason why Mary would have to be impregnated by God was so that a virgin could conceive a child without sin.
Anyway you look at it therefore, the claim of the anti-choice lobby that they are attempting to protect “innocent” unborn children simply does not hold water. And for them to attempt and carry out murder, to bomb clinics and to harangue people outside of clinics makes it all the more hypocritical. Some may argue that they are abiding by the Ninth Commandment “Thou shalt not kill” which outlaws murder. Actually, it does not – it means what it says; don’t kill – ever. But even if it pertained only to murder, then they have blood on their hands already through actual murders and attempted murders. In the broader sense they must likewise carry upon their consciences the deaths of countless women who, either by choice or through their bullying, followed their dogma and died as a result of complications in pregnancy.
And of course, the Ninth Commandment includes all murder, including the state-sponsored murder which is called capital punishment. And that merely serves to underline the hypocrisy of Kevin D Williamson, and those who share his views.
It will be no surprise to those who are unfamiliar with my writings to learn that I am an atheist (Really McTavish? Gosh! Shock! Horror! Who would have THUNK it?). And yet, I do believe human life to be sacred; so much so that I am strongly opposed to the death penalty, and I am an ardent pacifist. It is also because of my belief in the sacrity of life that I am pro-choice. There is no contradiction here. Before the advent of legalised abortions, women who could afford to do so would go to back-street abortionists. Those who could not would attempt to terminate the pregnancies at home, often using the most brutal methods imaginable. In both cases it was all too common that many women ended up either unable to conceive another child in the future when the time was right for them, or dead as a result.
Legalised abortions therefore became an absolute necessity, to have terminations carried out in safe, clinical environments, by medical professionals who know what they are doing. Abortion ultimately has actually saved a great many lives, and in that estimation, to be pro-choice is the only ethical and correct stance anyone can take.
There is one thing for sure, whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is the hardest decision a great number of women will take during their lives. That cannot be an easy choice to make, and as a man, I do not even pretend to try to understand what they go through, and it is not a choice I would ever like to have to make. For those who do choose abortion however, the vast majority will already be going through hell, and will continue to do so through a life of thoughts of “what if?”. These women need our love, support and caring. The last thing they need is to be outcast as pariahs and vilified as murderers by a bunch of judgemental hypocrites who would happily kill to suit their own agenda.
All Biblical verses are King James Version throughout.