Bringing Reason to the Atrocity of Abortion!
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The following speech was the one that I prepared for the Protest Planned Parenthood event on August 22, 2015 here in Eugene, Oregon. I was unable to finish the speech due, in part, to time constraints. I believe it is one we should all consider, though, and so I have put it up in its entirety here.
If you prefer, you can listen to the Audio Version (22 minutes in length)
Shortly after the news broke about the new videos showing Planned Parenthood selling body parts from its victims, I ended up at the blog of Hermant Mehta, lovingly known to many as The Friendly Atheist. I don't remember exactly how I ended up there, but it had something to do with the fact that Mr. Mehta had written a blog article in response to the Planned Parenthood revelations in which he said that, essentially, Planned Parenthood had done nothing wrong. They weren't really selling body parts; they were simply recouping their costs for procuring them. It would seem that Mr. Mehta had not actually watched the videos, or I don't think he would have made such a claim, ut that was aside from the point that I made when I responded to his blog posting. In his blog posting Mr. Mehta disparaged those who oppose abortion by asking, "But what else do you expect from people who don't give a shit about science, women or facts?" I responded by saying "So, Mr. Mehta, do you care about science, women and facts? How about these facts? Fact #1: They are shipping organs. [This was according to Mr. Mehta's own words; he used the word "organs". The videos show the Planned Parenthood representatives talking about how much would be paid for various organs, such as lungs, hearts, etc.] Fact #2: Organs come from organisms. Fact #3: In this case, the organisms are human organisms. Fact #4: Those human organisms are dead. Fact #5: These human organisms did not die naturally. They were killed." I also asked Mr. Mehta if he truly cares about women, or whether he only cares about them at certain stages in their lives, but for now I will limit myself to the discussion of these five facts.
I was anxious to see what Mr. Mehta would say to these facts, but, to my knowledge, he never even saw my questions. He is a very popular fellow, and there were hundreds of comments posted at the end of his blog. My questions, however, did catch the attention of a couple of other readers at the blog who responded to challenge my argument. The reader that I had the major interaction with, though, a certain one going by the title "Bear Millots", was not interested in considering the argument that I was making. He would simply "summarily dismiss" each fact because he wished to call it either irrelevant, incorrect, or unsupported. After a number of exchanges I finally stopped responding when it was clear that he was simply unwilling to even give any consideration to the argument that I posted. He would simply dismiss it out of hand, and in doing so try to claim that I had not substantiated my point.
To those who are familiar with the communities of atheists that have developed in recent years you will be aware that the watchwords of the movement, if you will, are "science and reason". Atheists, or skeptics, as we also like to be called, do not believe in supernatural revelation. We believe that one should be skeptical of any such claims, and should test out all beliefs using rational scientific investigation and evaluation. "Science and reason" is what we claim as our guide.
Well, sort of.
As we can see from the example of Mr. Millots, he had no interest in science or reason when it conflicted with the position that he wanted to hold on the matter of abortion. A logical sequence of scientific facts were simply "summarily dismissed" when they didn't fit with his preconceived notions. So it seems that not all people who profess to stand on "science and reason" are really willing to face the facts head on and draw the conclusions that science and reason would lead to.
It has always puzzled me why people simply turn a blind eye to the facts when they don't happen to fit what it is that they would prefer to believe. I believe that I am a person who, when faced with a question, gets the facts straight first, and then applies my values to those facts to come up with my position on whatever the question is. I would like to think that my fellow citizens of planet Earth would do the same. How else would one come to a conclusion about anything? However, it seems that it doesn't quite work that way.
For the last year or year and a half a small group of us have been doing an abortion protest approximately once a month in downtown Eugene. We refer to these as "abortion victim demonstrations", because we actually show "abortion victim images" -- pictures of the victims of abortion -- the broken bodies of those who were violently torn to pieces before they had the chance to exit the womb. Some people refer to such pictures as "graphic images". Well, yes I suppose there graphic, but being graphic is not the point. The point is to show abortion for what it really is -- to educate the public as to what is actually happening.
I've always been puzzled as to how seemingly decent people can simply walk by these signs and do nothing, seemingly "summarily dismissing" them, like Mr. Millots. If somebody approaches us yelling and screaming and cursing at us with all kinds of venomous names, I can understand. What we are showing truly is horrible. If they are angry and hostile, okay, I understand. It is not easy to accept what it is that we are showing. It is maddening. I can't look at those pictures without getting mad. However, probably 95% of the people who walk by us show no reaction, or just a minimal shaking of the head as they continue walking on. How is it that people can see the horror of innocent children ripped to pieces and not be moved to have to do something about such a tragedy? Here we are showing them the facts. Yes, they are facts. They are pictures of actual abortions. They are facts. Yet the vast majority of people just walk by apparently not caring what it is those facts portray. How can this be? Are human beings so horribly vile and callous that seeing such facts means nothing to them? Are they so cold and hateful that killing little children is just fine? How can one explain this? The facts staring them right in the face, and they just ignore or deny them -- "summarily dismissed", apparently, just like Mr. Millets.
Well, the fact is, I cannot explain it. So I will not try. I will simply accept it. Whatever the reason behind it, however it can possibly be, it is simply obvious that people just are not very easily swayed by the facts -- no matter how true, no matter how obvious, no matter how clearly we portray it. Whatever the reason for it, it is just the way it is. So what then?
About 30 years ago, in 1984, I happened to see a notice in my local paper that there was going to be a meeting of the local Right to Life group. Up until that time I had not given a second thought to the matter of abortion. I had supposed that I did not agree with it, but I didn't really have any way of knowing at what point life began. I was certainly no expert on prenatal development, and it seemed that even the experts disagreed. So how could I make any kind of definitive decision? Most importantly, though, it simply was not a concern of mine. It just wasn't on my radar screen. My life, up to that point, had been focused on other things that I considered more important or perhaps less ambiguous.
It so happened, though, that this was a point in my life when I was going through major changes and did not know where I was headed in life. My previous direction in life was gone, but I did not have anything to replace it with. I suppose this was a major part of my reason for deciding to attend that meeting.
Attending that meeting and numerous meetings thereafter I became educated on what is actually taking place in my society. I came to the realization that we are indeed killing little human beings, babies, if you will, before they are born. Some people call them babies, some say that they are not yet babies. Both are right. "Baby" is simply one stage of life that we, along with all other animals, go through. There are baby gerbils, baby elephants, baby gorillas, baby warthogs. We all go through that "baby" stage, just like we do every other stage: child, adolescent, fetus, toddler, embryo, adult. But what is a baby? It is just like the term "adult". Some of us are very adult-like when we are still teenagers. For some of us we wonder if will ever make it. Even so, depending on your specific definition of the word "baby", you can say it is or it isn't. But whatever stage of life you wish to call it, there is a little developing human being in there. And whatever word you wish to use to describe it -- murder, abortion, termination of pregnancy, exercising "choice", "reproductive rights" -- what an abortion does is end the life of that little developing human being, however you wish to describe the stage that that human being is at.
So, since then, I have wanted to do what I could stop to such horrendous violence, and have been minimally involved in the movement to do so. I wish I could say I had done more. My record is shameful. I've done very little. While millions of innocent children have gone to their deaths, I have to confess I have done precious little to stop it.
However, perhaps to justify my lack of action, or perhaps not, but I wish to point out one thing. And this is the heart of what I wish to say today. It may also be the point at which you start hating me. After successfully convincing me, by providing me with clear and incontrovertible facts, that abortion is a horrible and evil violence being perpetrated upon the most innocent and vulnerable members of the human race, the so-called "pro-life" movement has spent the subsequent 30 years trying to convince me that what they taught me isn't actually true.
What do I mean by that? What I mean is that while they say that abortion is murder and that it is a horrible tragedy, their actions speak something else altogether. It has been said that words are only 10 percent of communication, and that one's actions say far more than one's words.
Of course, there is the issue of religion. It seems that all the people who call themselves "pro-life" or are verbally opposed to abortion have an incessant need to talk about their God and their religion in the context of abortion. This might, in itself, be enough to drive someone like myself to change my mind and support "a woman's choice" if I were not firmly convinced of my conclusions. But that is not the problem of which I speak. There are many other differences that could, perhaps, convince me that these "pro-lifers" are "off on the wrong track". They are almost universally conservatives, while I rankle at the collar if you dare call me a conservative. Many of them look down on many members of our human race and think that they are doing something somehow "evil" if they choose to have sexual relations with a person of their own sex. I see nothing wrong whatsoever with it, and am glad if anyone is living in such a way as to be unlikely to produce an unwanted pregnancy. We don't have to worry about them having abortions, or contributing more people to an already overcrowded world. And there are other differences that set us apart and often make it difficult for me to take them seriously. I have laid out some of these among my reasons for why I believe we have not ended abortion that I have listed at my AbortionReason.com website [this site]. You can read them there if you are interested. But it is none of those things that I refer to when I say that the "pro-lifers" have spent 30 years trying to convince me that their own assertions are false.
What do I refer to? Simply, that I do not believe I have ever in my life seen a so-called "pro-life" person who seemed very upset about abortion. Oh, people might say that they are appalled by it. And on a very few occasions I have even seen a woman speaker who has had an abortion, and was obviously distraught over it, and has even broke into tears over the fact that she had done so. But this only showed that she was upset about what had transpired in her own life. She was upset about the fact that she had had an abortion -- not necessarily about the fact that abortion is being practiced in our society. Have I ever seen a person who proclaimed to be "pro-life" who was evidently distressed by the fact that abortions were taking place in our society? I don't believe I ever have. They are always so happy. Have I ever seen a pro-lifer who was angry because children were dying? They might say that abortion angers them, but I do not recall ever seeing someone who actually acted so. Have I ever seen a pro-lifer who was so distressed that he or she was not able to sleep at night knowing that as he or she slept thousands more would perish? Have I ever seen a pro-lifer yell or scream in agony "Stop the killing! For God's sake, stop the killing!"? No, it is much more common for pro-lifers to smile and encourage people to "choose life".
I'll take an even greater chance at offending some who might be in the crowd today. At the local anti-abortion, or if you prefer, "pro-life" booth at the county fair the last couple of years the people behind the table smile pleasantly. The last couple of years they have even handed out nice, pretty balloons decorated with the logo, "Smile! Jesus loves you!" Perhaps some of you present today were at that table. Why would we encourage people to smile while 3000 innocent children are being killed each and every day? (That just in the U.S. alone, of course.) Does that make any sense? What is the message that we are giving these people? Is it the same message that I have been getting from "pro-lifers" for the last 30 years that there just isn't anything so horrible going on that they need to get upset about it?
If armed gangs were roaming the street, abducting children and dragging them into that building right there and cutting their heads off, what would we do? Would we be angry? Would we be horrified? Would we do everything possible in our power to stop the violence? Perhaps we would do nothing more than smilingly tell people to "love life", but I would hope that we would do far more. Are those children who are being butchered in facilities like this one any less human than those walking the streets? Are they any less deserving of our compassion and our pity? Or perhaps we don't really believe that those are children who are dying in there.
If we really believed that they were brutally murdering children in that building right there, wouldn't we be yelling and screaming loudly? Wouldn't we be frantic? Wouldn't we do anything and everything we could to stop such brutal violence? Wouldn't we throw our own bodies in between the killer and his innocent victim? Wouldn't we not be able to sleep at night until we had done away with this horror in our midst? That's what any decent person would do if they really believed that innocent children were being brutally slaughtered. Right? Most importantly, regardless of what he actually did, he would be absolutely and utterly horrified. You would know just by looking at him that some great horror was taken place.
But that isn't what is happening. So obviously, the people who claim that we are killing children don't really believe what they are saying. If they don't believe it, then why would I? In other words my friend, if I had gone by the actions of those who call themselves "pro-life", I would be solidly pro-abortion. As far as I am concerned, the "pro-lifers" convinced me 30 years ago that abortion was a horrible crime, the outrageous murder of innocent lives, and have since spent the last 30 years trying to convince me that what they originally told me wasn't really true.
Just so there's no misunderstanding, I am not putting my finger at anyone any more than I am myself. I always remember that every time I point my finger at another person, as the old adage goes, I am pointing three back at myself. As I've already pointed out, I am painfully aware that I have done precious little while millions have perished. Pointing fingers is not what matters. Pointing fingers will do us no good. What matters is that we do what it takes now to end the unconscionable slaughter of millions of innocent children. That won't happen until we are horrified enough to make it happen. There is really only one reason why we haven't ended the atrocity of killing pre-born children -- because we aren't horrified enough to demand an end to it. That is why I created my newest website: AreYouHorrified.org. It is a simple, one page site. You can read the whole thing in about five minutes. I hope you will visit it. I warn you, though, if you think I am being direct and forceful today, you will probably find that short page even more so.
This chart is a page that I printed out from the World Life Expectancy website, www.worldlifeexpectancy.com, on the last day of last year. I have a link to this page from my Human Rights For All Ages Campaign website, so you can find it also by going there. This table keeps a running count of the deaths in the world from various causes, so this represents basically the totals for 2014. These first two columns tabulate the worldwide deaths from various diseases, from 17 million for cardiovascular diseases down to about 5000 for leprosy. The third column lists everything else under deaths from injuries. This column lists traffic injuries, falls, drownings, poisonings, fires, other accidents, suicide, violence, war, and in this last line down here, abortions. (It is interesting that they include abortions. If you go to their website they try to claim that abortions are not actually deaths. But they include them anyway. It has something to do, I believe, with the fact that abortion affects population dynamics. You can go to their site and read more if you want to try to understand better, but the important point is that they do list the numbers.) If you can read the chart you will see that the numbers from accidents range from a little over a million to about 300,000, and the deaths from suicide, violence and war are about 800 thousand, 600 thousand and 200 thousand, respectively. The number for abortions -- 42 million. Abortion kills 27 times as many people as suicide, violence and war combined! Even if you add in all the accidental deaths, abortion still kills 8 times as many as all violent and accidental deaths combined. Yes, my friends, abortion kills many times over all the deaths from all other forms of violence on earth -- combined! And it is, therefore, as I point out at the Human Rights For All Ages Website, far and away the biggest human rights atrocity taking place on the face of the earth today. Nothing else even comes close! The question is, What do we do about it?
Defund Planned Parenthood? Yes. Of course we should defund any organization that is brutally killing innocent human beings. But it isn't enough to just defund Planned Parenthood. If we defund them they will keep on killing. Even if we could completely get rid of Planned Parenthood, the killing would continue. Yes, it would do some good to defund them, but if we are satisfied with only making it a bit more difficult to kill children then what kind of people are we? What we need to do is end the killing of the children. We can do that. We can start to do it right here in Eugene. There are, I understand, over 300 locations throughout the country where they are having similar protests or rallies today, and I can't tell you what will be the outcome at any of those others, but I what I know is that we can start to end the horror of the mass slaughter of pre-born children right here in Eugene-Springfield if we choose to do so.
How? I could give you a list of things to do, and if anyone wishes to come talk to me I will be happy to give you ideas. My first suggestions would likely be to join the Human Rights For All Ages Campaign and to join us in our next abortion victim demonstration in Eugene. We can do them as often as there are people willing to stand up and make the atrocity of abortion known. But it is not a question of what activities you should engage in or what duties you should carry out. There is just one thing that we need to do that will make the difference. We need to be horrified by the atrocity that confronts us. We need to be so horrified that we will stand up and demand an end to it and will not take "No" for an answer. When we do that we won't need to worry about what specific activities we will engage in. We will just do them. When we show people that we really mean it when we say that abortion murders children, that we truly are horrified by the outrageous violence, then they will start to pay attention to the facts that we have to show them.
I only hope that these latest revelations of what has taken place at Planned Parenthood will spur us into action. These revelations will not put an end to Planned Parenthood, nor to abortion. Nobody will care if they sell "body parts" as long as we ourselves only give lip service to the fact that we care. What will put an end to it is when we show that we really care, that we really believe the things that we are saying, when we make it known that we are horrified and will do what it takes to put an end to this horrible violence. What do you have to do tomorrow and the next day and the day after that is more important than saving the lives of thousands of innocent children? I don't have anything more important.
Let's make history. Let Eugene-Springfield be the place where we started. We can do so, or we can just let the children die.
I will leave you with the words of one of the songs that I have up at my AbortionReason.com website [this site]:
"How many more must die before we finally get together?
Before we stand our ground? Before we say 'No More! '?
What will it take before we make firm our endeavor
And demand that every child have its rights restored?"