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Writer offers the "strongest argument" for abortion and for life.

On her twitter account, writer Caitlin Flanagan says she wrote, "The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate: Why we need to face the best arguments from the other side" for the Atlantic in an attempt "to answer the question my father used to ask me about so many of my opinions: What's the strongest argument for the other side?"

I don't think it's either unfair or inaccurate if we conclude from reading this 3,323 word essay that Ms. Flanagan comes down on the side of "choice." But does she offer the strongest argument both from the "prochoice" side and from the prolife side?

Let's see, bearing in mind she was not writing a piece that covered all the arguments from both perspectives, just what she considered the strongest.

Flanagan doesn't recycle the tiresome pro-abortion cant about "autonomy" or other appeals to the "head." She goes right for the gut, appreciating that can be a very effective block to any consideration about the child or of finding better solutions for mother and child.

So it doesn't matter that the abortion techniques Flanagan writes about in enormous and gruesome detail are a thing of the past. Or that even Planned Parenthood conceded, as far back at 1960, that 9 out of 10 illegal abortions were done by licensed doctors: "they are physicians, trained as such... Abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous, because it is being done well by physicians, to quote Dr. Mary Calderone, a former medical director for Planned Parenthood.

Flanagan writes about them because of their shock value and because they are to serve the bedrock argument for pro-abortionists--Women have always had abortions and always will--so go away prolifers.

But what makes Flanagan's essay so powerful is that she really does offer the best argument for life--ultrasounds/ sonograms--and uses her own pregnancy experience as supporting evidence. Here are a series of quotes. The first one sets the stage:
   These sonograms
   are so richly detailed
   that many expectant
   mothers pay to have
   one made in a shopping-mall
   studio, much in
   the spirit in which they
   might bring the baby
   to a portrait studio.
   They are one thing
   and one thing only:
   baby pictures. Had
   they been available
   when I was pregnant,
   I would definitely have
   wanted one. When
   you're pregnant, you
   are desperate to make
   contact. You know he's
   real because of the
   changes in your own
   body; eventually you
   start to feel his. The
   first kicks are startling
   and exciting, but even
   once they progress so
   far that you can see
   an actual foot glancing
   across your belly and
   then disappearing
   again, he's still a
   mystery, still engaged
   in his private work,
   floating in the aquatic
   chamber within you,
   more in touch with the
   forces that brought
   him here than with
   life as it is lived on the
   other side.


Then
      The argument for
   abortion requires many
   words. The argument
   against it doesn't take
   even a single word.

      For a long time,
   these images made me
   anxious. They are proof
   that what grows within
   a pregnant woman's
   body is a human
   being, living and
   unfolding according
   to a timetable that
   has existed as long as
   we have. Obviously, it
   would take a profound
   act of violence to
   remove him from
   his quiet world and
   destroy him.


So what has Flanagan done? From the pro-abortion perspective, she has made concessions to reality that cannot--cannot--be made.

First, there is a baby inside every pregnant woman. Second, left to follow the laws of fetal development, this "human being" will be born in 40 weeks unless there is "a profound act of violence to remove him from his quiet world and destroy him."

But these two acknowledgements of the truth are not as devastating to the "pro-choice" position as a third: the undeniable, recognizable humanity of the unborn child as early as the 12th week (it's actually sooner but that's something for another day). This "baby," this "human being" is "one of us."

Flanagan tells us she was "comforted" when a friend told her most abortions occur in the first trimester, which is true. But then "it occurred to me to look at one of those images taken at the end of the first trimester. I often wish I hadn't."
   A picture of a 12-week
   fetus is a Rorschach
   test. Some people say
   that such an image
   doesn't trouble them,
   that the fetus suggests
   the possibility of a
   developed baby but is
   far too removed from
   one to give them pause.
   I envy them. When I
   see that image, I have
   the opposite reaction.
   I think: Here is one of
   us; here is a baby. She
   has fingers and toes by
   now, eyelids and ears.
   She can hiccup--that
   tiny, chest-quaking
   motion that all parents
   know. Most fearfully,
   she is starting to get a
   distinct profile, her one
   and only face emerging.
   Each of these 12-week
   fetuses bears its own
   particular code: this
   one bound to be good
   at music; that one
   destined for a life of
   impatience, of tap, tap,
   tapping his pencil on
   the desk, waiting for
   recess.


Flanagan is not only saying that the baby "looks" like a baby. In some ways more devastating, she is, by inference, also telling us that each and every one of these babies is unique, a one-of-a-kind, not interchangeable, disposable "fetal material."

Flanagan doubles back in the very end to give the last word to the "pro-choice" side. But before she does, Flanagan summarizes why she is so unsettled by abortion:
   What I can't face
   about abortion is the
   reality of it: that these
   are human beings,
   the most vulnerable
   among us, and we have
   no care for them. How
   terrible to know that in
   the space of an hour, a
   baby could be alive-his
   heart beating, his
   kidneys creating the
   urine that becomes
   the amniotic fluid of
   his safe home--and
   then be dead, his heart
   stopped, his body soon
   to be discarded.


Flanagan is making one final acknowledgment of what abortion does and to whom: "the most vulnerable among us" who is literally alive one minute and dead the next, "his heart stopped, his body soon to be discarded."

I would highly recommend that you read her post for yourself.

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Article Details
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Author:Andrusko, Dave
Publication:National Right to Life News
Date:Nov 1, 2019
Words:1052
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