Why Abortion is Not Genocide

14 Apr

I have absolutely no patience for people who are going to make ridiculous claims about how the Earth is flat, the universe is less than a billion years old, and fossils of dinosaurs were placed on the Earth by aliens. However, there comes a point where I must respond, and this is that point:

“America needs to wake up: it is genocide,” another campaigner, Rachelle Heidelbaugh, told me. “You couldn’t really have a political candidate who denied that, it would be like having a holocaust denier,” I asked her. “Exactly,” she replied.”

When I read that, I nearly fell out of my chair in shock. I read through the article again. This statement was really about abortion?

Genocide is a horribly unforgivable crime. But does abortion really equate?

Consider the definition of genocide:

The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

Consider the definition of abortion:

1. Also called voluntary abortion. The removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy.

2. Any of the various surgical methods for terminating a pregnancy, especially during the first six months.

3. Also called spontaneous abortion. Miscarriage (def. 1).

As the third definition of abortion is neither deliberate nor systematic, we can exclude miscarriages from the argument. Kind of makes you wonder exactly why certain legislators want to investigate miscarriages, now, doesn’t it?

As a surgical method is not by itself extermination, we will also exclude the second definition of abortion from the argument. This leaves the most controversial definition of abortion, that of voluntary abortion, as the most relevant.

First off, “voluntary” indicates that the abortion is not necessary for the survival of the mother. This indicates that people who deliberate over which life to save have no business claiming that such abortions are genocide. I would also like to make the claim that when a fetus is not viable for whatever reason, anti-abortionists have no right to claim that such abortions are genocide. Really makes you wonder about those legislators, now–what are they protecting, again?

Consider the following quote from “X-Men:”

Senator Kelly: Here’s a girl in Illinois who can walk through walls. Now what’s to stop her from walking into a bank vault, or the White House, or [indicating the gallery] into their houses?

For those unfamiliar with the movies, Senator Kelly’s opening speech establishes the fear-based conflict of non-mutant versus mutant, the conflict which is the basis of all other conflicts in the movies.

This is exactly like someone saying, “People have the ability to abort fetuses. Now what’s to stop them from selectively aborting unborn children of X race/culture/nationality or with Y characteristics?”

Ignore for a moment the switch between “fetuses” and “unborn children.” I’ll get back to that later, but right now it’s not important. What is important is the mentality of fear that begins with statements such as this and grows to encompass the whole pro-life movement.

Fear is simple. It creates the illusion that everything is black and white, that there is good and there is evil and there is nothing in between. Consider the following (overly-simplified) statements:

1.) Death is bad.

2.) Life is good.

3.) Anything that takes away life is death, therefore anything that takes away life is death.

4.) Murder is an act which takes away life. Therefore, murder equates to death.

5.) Murder is killing people.

6.) Abortion is the act of terminating the life of a fetus.

7.) Another word for murder is terminate. Therefore, abortion equates to murder.

8.) Murder equates to death. Murder is bad.

9.) Abortion is bad.

Notice that I haven’t even touched upon the line of thought that leads from “abortion equates to murder” to “abortion equates to genocide.” Also note that these statements are based on the over-simplification of life and death as “good” and “bad.” This specific simplification can only come about by the fear of death of some sort, whether spiritual, metaphoric, or physiological. In some cases, the train of thought is even more convoluted: death means some form of punishment, especially for the “other.” The “other” must be saved–hurry, hurry, we must help them see that their ways are wrong. If their ways include believing that abortion is not murder, then they must be convinced otherwise.

That, dear readers, is the product of brainwashing.

Having established a plausible train of thought that could lead to the equation of abortion to murder, we can then apply the previously defined definition of genocide as such:

“If abortion equals murder, and genocide is the deliberate and systematic extermination (murder) of people of a national, racial, political, or cultural group, and if people were to continuously selectively abort fetuses of specific nationalities, racial, political, or cultural heritages, then abortion equates to genocide.”

That’s a pretty big “if.”

There are numerous reasons why a woman would choose to abort a fetus. The majority of the ones I’ve heard go something like this:

  • Lack of resources. If a woman cannot afford to have a child for whatever reason, they may consider abortion an option.
  • Unwanted pregnancy, for whatever reason. This one is self-explanatory.
  • The baby will be still-born or severely deformed to the point where it would likely die within hours. Yet another self-explanatory reason.

As the first- and last-mentioned reasons have nothing to do with genocide, we can exclude them from the argument.

To constitute as genocide, the second reason for abortion will have to match the criteria previously outlined in the application of the definition of genocide.

“Unwanted pregnancy” is a huge generalization. It encompasses anyone who feels they are not ready for a child, for whatever reason. For the purposes of the argument, let us exclude victims of rape and those who feel they are just not ready for a child.

Wait a minute–what about people who choose abortion because they don’t want to give birth to someone of a specific nationality or race? Am I saying those people don’t exist?

Absolutely not. I never said any such thing. However, the point of the exercise was not to establish whether or not any abortion is genocide, but whether ALL abortion is genocide. And by the applied definition of genocide to abortion, not all abortion equates to genocide.*

Does that mean abortion isn’t genocide, or could it be considered genocide in certain situations?

Let’s step aside to another word: infanticide, or the killing of infants. Could infanticide be considered genocide? No, because the two definitions are distinct. Could infanticide be used in genocide? Yes, because that’s part of the definition of genocide. This comparison of definitions is similar to the statement “a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square.”

Now let’s apply similar logic to the connection between abortion and genocide. We have already established that abortion on the whole does not meet the requirement for genocide. Could abortion be used in genocide? Theoretically, it could. However, these abortions would likely fall under the category of “forced,” and so would exclude the definition we are most concerned with. As such, voluntary abortion cannot possibly equate with genocide.

In conclusion: regardless of whether or not abortion really equates to murder, it does not equate to genocide. As such, a pro-choice political candidate (in regards to this post, a political candidate for any office who supports voluntary abortion), does not equate to a Holocaust-denier. Neither does it equate to someone who denies the existence of abortion, for that matter. Fanatics really need to learn to use better language.

*Please note that this conclusion was reached regardless of whether or not abortion equates to murder. That’s a post for another day.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Uncategorized


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