It’s unfortunate that that doesn’t seem to be the case for abortion opponents. Even if I were sympathetic to their cause, I’d recoil from the dishonesty.
This has always been the case. There is no argument against abortion that doesn’t rely on misrepresentation and dodgy associations. Every one of those signs plastered all over my region that declares “My heart started beating at 28 days!” is fundamentally dishonest, relying on a false association between a heart beat and humanity. My zebrafish embryos’ hearts start beating at about 22 hours, does that make them human?
Further, they love to mangle history. Poor Margaret Sanger. She was a true believer in eugenics, but so were many Americans, including many Christians, before World War II. It was a bad idea that relied on an extraordinarily naive view of genetics and devalued the importance of diversity, but keep in mind that she was not a scientist and was working to improve the lives of people in ways that did not depend on the Nazi-like tactics the anti-choicers ascribe to her.
Sanger was pro-birth control and anti-abortion. This may surprise you, considering that Planned Parenthood opponents frequently accuse Sanger of erecting abortion clinics in Black neighborhoods, a practice they claim the organization continues to this day.
But this is simply not true.
Sanger opposed abortion. She believed it to be a barbaric practice. In her own words, “[a]lthough abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious.” Her views are, ironically, in keeping with the views of many of the anti-choicers who malign and distort her legacy.
Sanger herself wrote in 1939 that she had joined the Anti-Nazi Committee “and gave money, my name and any influence I had with writers and others, to combat Hitler’s rise to power in Germany.”
She also said books of hers had been destroyed and that she had intellectual friends who were sent to concentration camps or put to death. Sanger did not have a connection to the Nazis, but a loose association comes through her involvement in the eugenics movement.
The facts don’t matter if you’re anti-choice, however; they have invented a monster, and that her primary goal was self-determination for women isn’t going to influence them at all. If they were honest, they’d have to admit that that was probably another stigma, as far as they’re concerned.
But the latest lie that ought to fill anti-choice advocates with shame is the doctored collection of Planned Parenthood videos, made by the “Center for Medical Progress”, which was neither a center, nor interested in medicine, nor an advocate for progress — it is, in fact, connected to Live Action and Operation Rescue, a couple of creepily ideological groups that are most definitely not driven by science or evidence.
The videos were not only edited dishonestly, but CMP provided transcripts (because the videos are so long and tedious that few are going to watch them — I haven’t) that include transcripts containing invented dialog and major omissions.
That’s just bizarre. There are facts that are not in dispute: Planned Parenthood does take donated fetal tissue and process it and ship it off to biotech, pharmaceutical, and research institutions. This is not hidden or lied about anywhere; you don’t need to fake anything to get the information; you can also talk to scientists or read papers and discover that fetal cells are used all over the place. You don’t need costumed phonies ala James O’Keefe to make up lying cover stories to get this information on video.
So why did they?
That’s what really bugs me. If you want to make a case for something, do it forthrightly and honestly. Passion is important, too, but emotional appeals are not synonymous with lies…except when the anti-abortion crowd tries to make them, it seems. If you’re convinced that you’re right about something, you ought to be able to make your point without cheating.
This principle, that the process is more important than the conclusion and that how you arrive at that conclusion ought to be open and transparent, is fundamental to how scientists are supposed to think. That the histrionic religious loons who rage against Planned Parenthood can’t follow it is a deep indictment of their cause.