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It's a Child, Not a Choice

By Diane Dew

Critique by Punkerslut

March for Women's Lives, April 25, 2004
Image: March for Women's Lives, April 25, 2004, From Wikipedia

Start Date: August 8, 2008
Finish Date: August 10, 2008

Rights? Which?

We live in a rights-crazed society. Even animals are afforded rights these days. Still, the unborn are not protected.

     This is quite an interesting opening line. Our society is "rights-crazed"? What does that even mean? Doesn't Diane Dew believe in the right to life of the unborn to life? That is her Pro-Life ideology. The opposite of the Pro-Life activists are the Pro-Choice activists, who believe in the right to choice in matters of pregnancy, child-birth, and reproductive liberties. The domination of either ideology in a nation is not really due to a rights-crazed society. It is a rather odd way to begin an assault on abortion, by first declaring that society has become so obsessed with constructs of justice, of fairness, of equity, and civil liberties. In fact, I'm not certain that there has ever been a society throughout history that has ever been obsessive about its liberties. Most societies, whether stemming from Hindu, Christian, or Islamic background, tend to create authority and grant it certain powers over the average person. What we have had is an authority-crazed society, throughout all states and governments, and very rarely can one find a society with citizens that are overflowing in boldness to defend their freedom. And yet, this is the starting premise in demonstrating the evils of abortion: we must first declare that people have become maniacal and neurotic in their excessive fixation with rights and liberty. How peculiar.

Legally, the fertilized egg of an eagle has more rights than an unborn child. And in Wisconsin, stepping on a snail can land you in jail -- with a $10,000 fine. But a woman can have her baby sliced and diced, for a price, right into the ninth month of pregnancy -- all within the confines of the law.

     The reason why wildlife deserves such protection is obvious. If species are carelessly removed or displaced from their natural habitat, the result can dramatically effect the environment. Humanity might find itself the greater victim of disease and infestations, or the land itself may cease to grow certain types of food, to only grow at a staggering rate, or not at all. These laws that are made in place for the defense of wildlife, like a bird or an insect, are made to guarantee the rights of all people to live in a world that is clean, healthy, and promising. It is not simply just the recognition of the right of the animal, but of the entire community and the world. When we look to an unborn and if we gave it no right to existence, the community does not sacrifice anything. On the contrary, unwanted children are usually born into abusive homes, physically and emotionally, and it is more likely that they will be held back in all of their endeavors. In employment, education, and social interaction, this person will have had the least advantages of anyone. They'll be more likely to require assistance from charities, to receive social welfare, or to be begging for money in the street. In every respect, the birth of the child is likely to drain and diminish such available resources, limiting the property of others. When we grant the right of life to wildlife, it is for the benefit of humanity to enjoy, and likewise, when we grant the right to abortion, it is so that the world is not burdened even more with unwanted children. It does not mean that the mother must abort their child; it only means that she has the option to prevent the birth of a child that is more likely to deprive the community, endure a deprived upbringing, and perhaps even suffer an early death.

We are beginning to see some of the effects of that diabolical decision, as universities nationwide find themselves strapped for students.

     It won't take much to prove this wrong. The condition of students applying at universities is actually the reverse of what Diane Dew predicted. This piece of hers was composed in 1992. In 1975, eleven million students enrolled in a college or a university. In 1980, it was twelve million. In 1988, it was thirteen million. And on the date that this was written, it was fourteen and a half million. And to date, as of 2008, there are eighteen million students enrolled in colleges or universities. [*1] From 1975 to 2008, thirty three years, student population has risen from eleven million to eighteen million. Averaged, this means that universities enrollment rate will rise by 200,000 every year. This acceleration of enrollment was something that had set itself as a trend before Diane Dew and continued for almost two decades after its composition. On the contrary to what Dew suggests, universities nationwide are not going to "find themselves strapped for students." With much more demanding strains on the social institutions of education, justice, and healthcare, it's likely that the addition of even more students will decrease the efficiency of the whole structure. Just like the addition of even more victims of crime or even more patients, more students are going to mean higher average costs for each individual and a greater sacrifice of standards of living. No, abortion hasn't given us a people-shortage yet. It's just helped people better plan their families so that they can fully provide for their children when they are ready to have them. It has increased the living standard of every human being.

How many Michaelangelos have we destroyed in the name of convenience? How many Edisons have we erased from the pages of human progress?

     This is quite an interesting argument against abortion, and it requires more than one or two sentences to fully and sufficiently respond. Let is examine the first error. It asserts, perhaps indirectly, that each human being has a fair chance at becoming a great individual who overall contributes to the greatness of society. Not necessarily an equal chance, but at least a chance good enough for us to consider when collectively considered. When proceeding upon this argument, let us consider some essential facts on this matter of a child becoming some great artist, inventor, or scholar. First, we must take into consideration that when there are more people, this means that the resources for education and upbringing are spread more thinly. This means, in terms of education, society will have to give these children thinner textbooks, meeker libraries, smaller museums, shorter hours of teaching by an educator, a smaller chance of getting an educational grant, lesser funds for university schooling, and fewer volunteers per school. In terms of society, it means more cramped activity halls, greater exclusion at places of social interaction, and fewer vacancies for youth organizations, sports leagues, or other activities. In terms of direct society, the more children in a family means a decreased chance of the parents spending getting time with them; they'll be less likely to have social encouragement, tutoring, or coaching from their parents, out of lack of necessity by the other siblings. Their resources and income will also suffer some limitations, meaning that the parents will be less likely to secure higher schooling or other benefits for their offspring. As the population of children expands, one thing can be guaranteed: the resources that have been allocated for the development of the young become produce less and less output per child. And what is the output of all these educational institutions, or at least, what is their intended output? Very simply, knowledge and culture.

     By increasing the number of children, we are decreasing each one's availability of knowledge and culture. Without these two key ingredients, the minds of many great men, like Michaelangelo or Thomas Edison, would not have developed. Artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, and Dali are the products of cultural and social development. The same is true of innovators like the Greek inventor Archimedes, the Russian scientist Isaac Asimov, or the American discoverers the Wright Brothers. These are developers of science that could not have reached their level of insight and brilliance without being exposed to culture and countless books. By increasing the childload under the care of society, we are making resources shorter on a per-child basis, and therefore, we are also reducing their chances of achieving something great and significant, such as Michaelangelo or Thomas Edison. There is one more child who can achieve that one soaring height, but every child's chance of reaching it has been cut. This is only logical. Is it likely that Albert Einstein would have been born in the slums? Would he have had as much chance to achieve his level of mathematical sophistication if he were born underneath the kitchen table of a crowded, tenement apartment? If his father had to work fourteen hour days to support the six or seven kids, and his mother was so busied by preparing food and mending clothing, would he have just as much chance to become a great physicist of the world? It is more likely that he would have had better opportunities if he were brought up with parents who were much more freed from material necessity and could better nurture their young? It's quite obvious who has the advantages to excel.

     Not only do we decrease their chances of becoming someone great, but we increase their chances of developing criminal, thieving, or anti-social behavior. To quote Lawrence Veiller, "It is a simple matter to investigate the records of our reformations, hospitals, dispensaries, and institutions of similar kind, to find out what proportion of the patients and inmates come from tenement houses. Here in New York we know that nearly all are tenement-house dwellers." [*2] One of the muckrakers of the late 1800's, Henry Demarest Lloyd gives us another example, "Scarcer bread means more crime. An increase of one larceny to every hundred thousand inhabitants comes with every rise of two farthings in the price of wheat in Bavaria." [*3] In 1683, Matthew Hale would write, "...doubtless as the multitude of Poor, and necessitous, and uneducated persons, increase, the multitude of Malefactors will increase, notwithstanding the Examples of [penal] Severity." [*4] The Anarchist Herbert Read would deal with the matter of crime more succinctly than the others, "Crime is a symptom of social illness-of poverty, inequality and restriction. Rid the social body of these illnesses and you rid society of crime." [*5] As want and poverty spread throughout the cities and the neighborhoods, it increases the chance of the people to develop habits of theft, crime, or exploitation. By creating more children, not only do we need to ask ourselves why we are finding fewer masters of art and science, but we need to ask ourselves why there is a swelling in the ranks of murderers and thieves.

     More children means lesser chance of each child becoming a bulwark of civilized development, either in the arts or in the sciences. And likewise, the fewer resources means greater chance of a life of crime and theft. But there is still a third side of this to be considered. When society devotes more of its energies, its labors, and its consideration into the education and growth of the youth, this means that there is less to take care of the older generation. Where the hospitals are more preoccupied with child delivery and birth, there will be fewer wards for the treatment of cancer, age-related disease, physical injuries, or other illnesses. For instance, George Orwell died of a common, curable disease before he was fifty in a Paris hospital; if the hospitals weren't teeming with countless young and infants, perhaps greater medical resources could've prevented the loss of this brilliant star of literature. Where more books, teachers, and buildings will be allocated for the education and social development of the youth, there will be fewer of these things for adult education and culturing. The more incentives and awards that are given to the youth for demonstrating excellence, the fewer that can be given to adults who break significant barriers in their professions. There will be fewer and less sophisticated methods of luring out the inner scientist, innovator, or artist in the common average citizen. Albert Einstein, for instance, languished in a patent office during the most brilliant and insightful years of his physics discoveries -- by the absence of a program to support and promote developing minds, his mind eroded under monotonous, rote, and unstimulating toil. In all things, culture, knowledge, education, and finance, the geniuses that we admire were expensive, but their contributions certainly outweigh their cost.

     Much of the question here is that of poverty. Those who oppose abortion spend more time promoting their political agendas at rallies and protests than they do in eliminating poverty. Instead of blocking a medical clinic, they could've leafleting pamphlets about contraception and safe sex in the lesser educated regions. Instead of waving a sign that reads "No More Dead Babies!", they could've been serving food at a soup kitchen or volunteering their time to charity work. Instead of their political agendas, they could've done something to reduce poverty and reduce unwanted births. If they had centered their activity on this behavior, it is likely that they would have had the effect of reducing the total abortions of the areas they worked with. It was the loss of need for abortions that lowered the number. But instead of such activity that would prevent the loss of unborn life, they are determined to change the law and public opinion in this matter of personal liberty. A great deal of Pro-Life supporters are so puritanical, religious, and traditional that they even oppose contraception. For instance, Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program seeks mothers to carry unused embryos from fertility labs. Over one hundred children have been born from the two-celled zygotes. This Pro-Life organization follows along the line of "Every sperm is sacred," and this is definitely a trend in other organizations. Even if it meant the prevention of an abortion, many of them would oppose the use of a condom.

     Similarly, the Pro-Life political organizations focus more of their attention on those that have yet to be able to sense or feel than on the many billions who suffer grueling poverty and starvation. The highest infant mortality rate on earth is in Sierra Leone, where it is at 16%. Another 12% will be claimed by the time they reach five years old. In Afghanistan, the infant mortality rate is 15.7%, with 23.5% total claimed by age five. In Liberia, infant mortality rate is 13.25% and under-five mortality rate is 20.5%, and in Angola, it's 13.19% and 23%. [*6] In many of these nations, we also find some of the world's lowest literacy rates. In Mali it's 24%, in Chad 25.7%, in Niger 28.7%, in Guinea 29.5%, and in Sierra Leone 34.8%. [*7] In these parts, we also find a lack of access to modern forms of sanitation, education, and vaccinations. The children suffer miserably in the civil wars, famines, and economic depressions. The Pro-Life movement has not sought to alleviate these sufferings, but it has instead decided that it is a greater value of their time to popularize prohibition on abortion. They could be use their donations to pay for antiseptic supplies to lower the infant mortality rate in these nations, but rather than attempt a relief effort, they pay for signs, newspapers, letters, leaflets, and every conceivable form of propaganda. It is more important to spend money in the United States where the laws might be bent to revoke abortion, that it is to assure that the youth of the world can grow up to reach adulthood. Their cause is not to be the savior of children. Their cause is to protect their traditions and their heritages. There is an absence of care for the international situation of poverty-stricken children, but a strong consciousness for the unborn of America -- are they Pro-Life because they care for the young, or because it is the conditioning of their culture?

     Finally, consider if abortion was actually outlawed. This means that instead of a new hospital to be built, there will be a training academy for police. Instead of a research grant being made to scientists to reduce disease among infants, the state will create an intelligence agency to monitor and investigate those suspected of being illegal, abortion doctors. The money that would have paid for low-income individuals to become brilliant physicians and nurses instead goes to paying for another generation lawmen. The higher tax rate will make the people much more frugal when making donations to organizations that serve the poor. Likewise, the general effect of outlawing abortion would be to increase the need of abortions; though it's not likely that the number of abortions performed in clandestine operating rooms would outweigh those performed where it is legal.

     The argument that abortion limits such talent and genius to our world is false, on several understandings. First, care for more people means caring for everyone less, meaning the more people, the less each person is provided with the necessary tools to become a master of a science or an art. Second, the fewer supplies and resources means greater chances for developing criminals, thieves, and murderers. Third, by shifting the attention of society from the adults to the youth, they're encouraging the early demise of other brilliant minds yet to be recognized. Fourth, by focusing on Pro-Life issues instead of eliminating poverty, these groups are not helping to abolish the need for abortion among the poor. And fifth, the hiring of an additional "vice" squad, with its own "abortion tzar," would only increase poverty with new taxes.

     Before parting with the reader, Diane Dew wants to fill the reader with a sensible, logical, non-emotionally-driven statement, that is in no way skewed, biased, or laden with propaganda terms...

All abortion has to offer is a dead baby. What kind of "choice" is that?

     There are many things that can can kill the unborn, and many other things that taunt and deform them throughout their early childhoods. A wise choice would have been to use birth control, by all means. But if there is an unborn child that is not yet conscious, not capable of pain or desire or suffering, and it is guaranteed a difficult, painful life, perhaps physically deformed -- why would we want to bring this life to the world? It cannot feel. Why would we want to bring it to the stage where it would become conscious, awake, and feeling of its environment? It would be a thousand times more merciful to terminate it before it could become aware, and to wait for the time when the parents are ready to bring a new life into an advantageous environment for their growth, education, and development. That is the Pro-Choice position.



1. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics: 2005, Table 3. Enrollment in educational institutions, by level and control of institution: Selected years, 1869-70 through fall 2014.
2. "The Tenement-House Exhibition of 1899," Lawrence Veiller Charities Review 10 (1900-1901), 19-25.
3. "The Lords of Industry," Henry Demarest Lloyd, Chapter 3.
4. "A Discourse Touching Provision for the Poor," by Matthew Hale, London, Printed for William Shrowsbery, at the Bible in Duke-Lane, 1683.
5. "The Philosophy of Anarchism," by Herbert Read.
6. United Nations World Population Prospects: 2006 revision Table A.18, A.19.
7. United Nations Development Program Human Development Report 2007/2008 Table 1.

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