I'm sick of the abortion debate. I'm sick of it because pro-choicers are unapologetic and unwilling to face the reality that they are aborting a potential child. I'm sick of it because pro-lifers throw emotionally charged rhetoric and are so caught up in saving the life of the fetus that they ignore the life of the mother. Obviously this blanket statement isn't true for everyone, but from the speakers we've heard, that's exactly what you'd think.
The pro-life talk yesterday was horrible. I really, really wanted it to be good. I wanted it to present a coherent argument that called attention to the life of the unborn child. I wanted it to challenge my beliefs as an open-minded pro-choice future doctor. I think there is a huge potential for a dialogue between the pro-choicers and the pro-lifers, because honestly folks, each side has some really valid points.
Here's my letter to her organization.
To whom it may concern-
I'm writing to express my disappointment with the presentation given by xxxx at the College of Medicine yesterday. A bipartisan group turned out to hear her speak, including representatives from both Medical Students For Life and Medical Students For Choice- as well as several students who have no affiliation at all.
I should first mention that I consider myself open-minded about the whole debate. I have never set foot in a planned parenthood, and I'm not sure that will change in the near future. I find the concept of an abortion repellant, though my medical training has convinced me that there are certainly times when it is, in fact, necessary. I truly believe that there is a lot that can be accomplished from an open dialogue between pro-choice and pro-life sides.
All this being said, the presentation given yesterday was an embarrassment to the pro-life cause. Among the reasons I feel this way:
- For every 300 doctors you can find who claim "there is never a medical reason to perform an abortion", I guarantee I can find you more who disagree wholeheartedly with that statement.
- Claiming that planned parenthood "gives away the bottom 2 rated condoms as rated by Consumer Reports, and therefore is clearly trying to get women pregnant so planned parenthood can abort their unborn babies" is both slander and absolutely untrue. Nobody would ever be this inhumane and I couldn't believe you would say such a thing.
- Hinting that pro-choice people are "terrorists" is a horrible thing to say. Furthermore, trying to link slavery, the death of Matthew Shepard, and the extermination of Jews in the holocaust to pro-choicers was particularly offensive, especially because if you strictly play odds on the political spectrum, those events are much more closely tied to the right wing.
- If you are going to make the argument that life begins at the meeting of sperm and egg and ANYTHING that destroys that baby after the union is tantamount to murder, please do not wholeheartedly endorse "removal of ectopic pregnancy" 5 minutes later "just because it isn't viable". That is a complete contradiction. Remember, you are talking to highly educated medical students, not impressionable high-schoolers.
- Whenever a pro-life point was given, every quote included all the "ums" and "ahs" to try to make them look stupid. It's a minor point, but served very well to emphasize that there was no respect for anything other than your opinion.
- When asked not to use pro-abortion and pro-choice interchangeably, if you claim you "don't recognize that rhetoric", don't turn around and say "partial birth abortion" instead of "intact D&E" to a group of medical students. Especially don't claim that you don't believe in using the medical term, because believe me, we certainly do. If pro-choice rhetoric isn't valid, then neither should be that of pro-life.
- Abortion is, like any other medical procedure, potentially unsafe. That being said, statistically speaking, carrying a pregnancy to term is more dangerous, and therefore presenting abortion as a highly dangerous procedure with many side effects is incredibly misleading.
I firmly believe that the facts speak for themselves on both sides of this debate. When you resort to rhetoric and invective you lose any ability to have an open dialogue, and you certainly ruined a perfectly good opportunity to present a coherent argument arguing for the sanctity of life.
Thank you for your time,