|Secular Pro-Life co-leader Terrisa Bukovinac|
As the abortion industry pushes the Democratic Party to further extremes, alienating rank-and-file Democrats, this conference is sorely needed. Tickets are available here. We hope to see you soon!
|Secular Pro-Life co-leader Terrisa Bukovinac|
|Photo by Alicia Petresc on Unsplash|
For the last several years I've been sympathetic to the pro-life position, supportive of really early gestational limits (e.g. 10 weeks) and disliked the vilification of pro-lifers, but I wasn't politically anti-abortion. However, I am now leaning towards a politically anti-abortion position.
One thing that is really making it hard for me to be open about this position, and I realize this sounds cowardly, is fear of people's opinions.
This fear does not arise from nowhere. In debates on far less divisive topics, like education policy, I've been called a c***, Nazi b****, "in love with Trump" (I supported McMullin), etc. The attacks come from both sides of the political spectrum. It got so bad, I deleted facebook.
How do you recommend being open about one's views and dealing with potential negative comments?Our response:
I wish I had the solution to this, but I do not. Abortion supporters bully pro-lifers on the internet because it's effective. By demoralizing those who would defend babies, the defenses are often weakened. It's the human condition, and beating yourself up for "cowardice" isn't going to make you any more confident. I can only offer two pieces of advice.
First, don't debate with the goal of persuading the bullies. Their minds are closed. Instead, keep the spectators at the top of your mind. When on-the-fence people see you, a pro-life person, advocating your position with compassion and reason while your opponents froth at the mouth, that can have a huge impact.
Second, remember that it's okay to take a break. You can't help anyone if you're burned out. Walking away from facebook sounds like it was the right call. If you aren't up for a debate, double down on your charitable endeavors instead. I've made a practice of donating a box of diapers to a pregnancy care center after a stressful, self-pitying day. When you help others, you can't help helping yourself -- and don't give a second thought to whether the trolls notice you volunteering. You could single-handedly eliminate world hunger and they'd still support abortion. Keep your focus where it belongs: on women and babies in need.Readers, what can you add?
|Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash|
|Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash|
According to the Biological View, I started out as an embryo. Does that mean that I came into existence at the moment of conception? Not necessarily. The Biological View implies that I came into being whenever this human organism did. But it is unlikely that this human organism came into being at conception -- that is, that it started out as a fertilized egg. When a fertilized egg cleaves into two, then four, then eight cells, it does not appear to become a multicellular organism -- any more than an amoeba comes to be a multicellular organism when it divides. The resulting cells adhere only loosely, and their growth and other activities are not, at first anyway, coordinated in a way that would make them parts of a multicellular organism. The embryological facts suggest that a human organism comes into being around sixteen days after fertilization. (Eric T. Olson, "Was I Ever a Fetus?", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 57 (1), 95-110, 1997)Pro-choice philosopher Peter Singer and embryologist Karen Dawson, in an attempt to argue embryonic stem cell research should be pursued, argue an embryo created in a lab is not a human being because it lacks the potential to grow into an older human being on its own. An embryo in a petri dish can survive for about five days and then it will die if not implanted into a uterus. They write,
But can the familiar claims about the potential of the embryo in the uterus be applied to the embryo in culture in the laboratory? Or does the new technology lead to an embryo with a different potential from that of embryos made in the old way? Asking this question leads us to probe the meaning of the term 'potential'...While the notion of potential may be relatively clear in the context of a naturally occurring process such as the development of an embryo inside a female body, this notion becomes far more problematic when it is extended to a laboratory situation, in which everything depends on our knowledge and skills, and on what we decide to do. This line of argument will lead us to the conclusion that there is no coherent notion of potential which allows the argument from potential to be applied to embryos in laboratories in the way in which those who invoke the argument are seeking to apply it. (Peter Singer and Karen Dawson, "IVF Technology and the Argument from Potential"in Embryo Experimentation: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues, ed. Peter Singer, et al (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 76-77, as quoted in J.P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae, Body and Soul: Human Nature and the Crisis in Ethics, (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 2000) p. 270)Still other people, even some pro-life advocates I've talked with, believe that we shouldn't consider an embryo at fertilization a human being because it can grow into things which aren't humans, such as an empty sack or a tumor.
The embryo...prepares for future events. For example, at the two-cell stage, the blastomeres synthesize a cell adhesion protein called E-cadherin. E-cadherin acts like cellular superglue, and the two-cell stage embryo makes it in anticipation of compaction, which occurs two days later. (Michael Buratovich, The Stem Cell Epistles: Letters to My Students About Bioethics, Embryos, Stem Cells, and Fertility Treatments, (Cascade Books, Eugene, OR, 2013), p. 58.)He also shows, referencing philosophers Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen, that this idea of Olson's ignores the goal-directed behaviors of the embryo. There are at least three goals of the embryo: get to the uterus and implant, form the structures necessary for successful implantation, and preserve its structure against the many hazards it might encounter. (Buratovich, ibid.) So the early embryo is still a coordinated whole organism, even at the very early stages of development. Olson is mistaken about the facts of embryology.
...it is important to appreciate that simply because two living entities share some common elements or overlap in a sequence of biochemical events, they are not necessarily the same kind of entity.
Distinct biological entities that share some initial molecular events are similar to two musical works that begin with the same notes...For example, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "The alphabet song" are identical until the fourth measure, yet they are distinct (albeit, very similar) songs. While listening to a CD recording, it would be impossible to determine which work is being performed until the first distinguishing note is heard, yet once this point is past, all prior notes provide clear evidence that a particular song was indeed recorded on the CD and was being played out from the first note. The CD does not begin playing random notes that resolve into a specific song, nor does it begin with one song and later "transform" into the other, nor does it begin playing "both" or "neither" song until the first distinguishing note is produced. From the beginning, it plays the single, specific song that is recorded on the CD. Indeed, prior to the CD being played, a sufficiently detailed examination of the recording (for example, analyzing the data encoded on the disc using a scanning probe atomic force microscope) would determine the precise song it contains without any ambiguity. (Maureen L. Condic, "A Biological Definition of the Human Embryo" in Persons, Moral Worth, and Embryos: A Critical Analysis of Pro-Choice Arguments, ed. Stephen Napier, (Springer Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, 2011), p. 216, emphases in original)It's just simply not the case that the embryo will develop into something non-human later on. A human embryo exists from the beginning, even if we don't have the ability to tell what it is from that point.
|Close-up of an 11-week-old's hand, via the Endowment for Human Development|
"Blood flow begins during the fourth week, and heartbeats can be visualized by Doppler ultrasonography." - The Developing Human, Moore et al, 10th Edition (2013)
"The heartbeat is initiated around the twenty-first day, and its continual beating is required for normal heart development." - Larsen's Human Embryology, Schoenwolf et al, 5th Edition (2015)But in neither case do they explicitly define the word "heartbeat." Merriam Webster defines the term as "one complete pulsation of the heart." Mosby's Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions (9th Edition) defines "heartbeat" as "a complete cycle of cardiac muscle contraction and relaxation." By these definitions the embryo does have a heartbeat from approximately 3-4 weeks postfertilization/5-6 weeks LMP onward.
|(Click to enlarge.)|
|(Click to enlarge)|
This is what an embryo at 6 weeks looks like. There is no real heart beat because it’s heart isn’t nearly complete - they’re heart “vibrations” (vibrations are caused my cellular activity where the heart WILL be. Meaning, yes, the title of the “heartbeat bill” is misleading, purposely). There is no brain, meaning no pain receptors. It does not feel pain. This is what you’re stripping women’s right away for. I, your sisters, your mothers, aunts, friends - we all have beating hearts and brains. Our lives are more important than this.
**Stop listening to pro life talking heads that use purposely emotional language to manipulate your view. They are not doctors or scientists.**
•This is not a “baby”. They use pictures of 6 month old babies to pull on your heart strings. This is an embryo. This is not “10 fingers, 10 toes” babbling cooing baby they’re trying to get you to imagine.
The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function in the embryo. The primordial heart and vascular system appear in the middle of the third week (Fig. 13-1). This precocious cardiac development occurs because the rapidly growing embryo can no longer satisfy its nutritional and oxygen requirements by diffusion alone. Consequently, there is a need for an efficient method of acquiring oxygen and nutrients from the maternal blood and disposing of carbon dioxide and waste products.In other words the embryonic heart exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide even before it fully develops into the more complex heart we're familiar with. Those insisting we say "fetal pole cardiac activity" instead of "heartbeat" or describing the embryonic heart as just "electrically induced flickering" or--more ridiculously--"vibrations" try to imply that the four chambered heart doesn't happen until months later; that's completely incorrect. Here's a diagram from Moore et al of the heart at 35 days (approximately 5 weeks post-fertilization):
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|If you haven't seen this movie, are you even pro-life?|
(Yes, I know the creators are abortion advocates. It's still great in spite of them.)