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What We Need to Do to Stop Abortion

Abortion is "legal" because of a Supreme Court decision. So we can change this by the Supreme Court reversing its decision, or amending the Constitution to effectively override the Supreme Court decision. Reversing the Supreme Court's decision, however, would only return things back to the way they were, with the states being able to write their own laws regarding abortion. This would clearly not end abortion, since there were already 13 states that had permitted abortion before Roe vs. Wade was passed, and with the dynamic of freely-allowed abortion for the last 40 years, certainly even more states than this would continue to allow abortion. So the only way to end it is to overtly outlaw it. If the Supreme Court decision were reversed, it might be possible to then pass a national law that would outlaw abortion, but that would always be subject to change. What we need to do is clarify, i.e., amend, the Constitution to show that the Constitution upholds the right to life for all human beings, regardless of age, stage of development or state of dependence. In other words, the Constitution already outlaws killing children in the womb. We don't want to pass a law to outlaw abortion, but rather clarify that it is already illegal, and that the U.S. will uphold the human rights ("unalienable rights") delineated in the Constitution for all human beings.

So our goal is to amend the Constitution to clarify that those unalienable rights apply to all, including those still in the womb. How do we do that? Since the U.S. is a democracy (at least in principle), we need to convince the populace that abortion is intolerable so they will demand that their leaders stop the killing and will elect only leaders willing to do so. So the one thing we need to do to end abortion is convince the public. How, then, do we do that?

To do that we have to understand why the public accepts abortion. One would think that the killing of children, as is obvious is the case from the depictions of abortion victims and the other images and information regarding prenatal development, would automatically inspire protest and resolution on the part of the public to stop this. Somehow this hasn't happened. So one of three things must be true. Either (1) they haven't been shown this information, (2) they don't believe the facts and information that they have been shown, or (3) people in our society see killing children as acceptable.

I will start by immediately eliminating the third hypothesis. All one has to do is look at the outrage that is expressed when a man walks into a school and shoots 20 children, or when a mothers kills her children either by drowning them or by leaving them in a dumpster after they are born, and one knows that this hypothesis is simply not correct. Although there may be a few Peter Singer-type advocates of "after birth abortion" out there, this is clearly not the general attitude among our people. In general people are horrified at the killing of little children.

It is clear that the first hypothesis is at least partially true. We have sex education in our schools, but how many of these curricula actually show the development of the human in the womb (the natural purpose and result, of course, of sex)? I am not familiar with the curricula typically used in our schools, but I tend to think that this is lacking. Much less do any of them actually depict abortion in its reality. The news media report on all kinds of issues and problems in the world, but how often do they report on the thousands of preborn human beings who are killed every day? Oh yes, they talk about abortion every day, but only about the controversy surrounding abortion, not about abortion itself. Can you imagine the media reporting on the war in Afghanistan and not saying anything about the fact that people, including our own service people, are dying? It's as if all the media did was to report on the controversy surrounding the war, but never said anything about the fact that that people were actually dying. On the contrary, the media will report on the war itself, not just whether it is controversial or not. They will tell you that a battle occurred today in such-and-such a village, that so many of our men died, and that (an estimated) so many of the enemy combatants died, that there was so-much damage to the area's infrastructure, etc. They report the facts of what is happening, as well as whatever discussion or controversy might be surrounding the events. Not so with abortion. All they report on is the controversy no reporting on what is actually happening. So it is clear that people are not getting the information from the authoritative sources they normally rely on.

Are they getting it from any other sources? Clearly there are people and organizations out there that are trying to get this information out to people. The question is, Are they doing this effectively enough so that the populace in general is well-acquainted with the facts of what is taking place? This is a difficult question to answer. Public opinion polls frequently ask people their opinions about abortion -- Are they pro-life or pro-choice? Do they support abortion in this situation or that situation? However, these surveys do not delve into actually exploring the extent of people's knowledge about what is taking place Are they familiar with prenatal development? Do they know that the abortion procedure involves ripping off arms and legs and stopping the beating of a human heart? Have they seen pictures of abortion? Etc. This, of course, is a good place to make a "plug" for doing the survey of the public that Human Rights For All Ages is planning on doing to obtain such information, but, as of yet, we do not really have any definitive answer.

My own personal experience suggests that the information is not getting out there. In my 55 years of existence on the earth I have never been approached by any person to try to provide me with such information. I have never seen pictures of human fetuses, either whole or destroyed by abortion, except when I have myself been presenting such information or have specifically gone looking for it. My own personal experience as a member of society would suggest that there is not much effort on the part of anyone to get the information out there showing what is happening in our society under the label of abortion.

In my experience in the abortion movement I would also tend to make the same conclusion. Here in Eugene I have prepared a list of demonstrations that are supposedly taking place around our community and send out this information each month to all who I have found to include on my email distribution list. If people would show up and actively participate in such demonstrations it might go a long way to providing information and awareness to the public, but not many show up. When I tried to get people to agree to do demonstrations to show the public what is actually taking place, that is, displaying images of abortion victims so that the public would see the actual results of abortions, there was extremely little interest shown, and a fair amount of resistance to the idea by people who seemed to think that displaying this information was somehow going too far. We have had a couple of displays so far, but they are not frequent, and very few will participate. Even in the more "regular" demonstrations that we have here in Eugene, such as in front of Planned Parenthood, there are rarely pictures of living fetuses displayed or other factual information to educate people, and the number of people who show up are very few, if any. On numerous occasions I have showed up when a demonstration was supposed to happen and no one has been present.

So it rather appears to me that the answer is no, we haven't gotten the information out there to people very much, but we really don't know. However, just so that we can consider the second hypothesis, let's assume for a moment that people are getting this information. If so, it is clear that the populace in general isn't responding to this information with the horror that I suggested they would when discussing hypothesis three. So are there reasons that people might not be accepting this information and taking it to heart?

Hypothesis #2, that people don't believe the information that they have been shown, clearly has its merits. We have already pointed out that neither the media nor the educational system are informing people about abortion. How can people take seriously the claims of anti-abortionists when, as already mentioned, neither the media nor the educational system will report this? If 12 U.S. servicemen are killed in Afghanistan today, you will probably be hearing about it on the news. Obviously the media will inform us if killings are taking place, right? If they report on 20 children killed in a school house by a walk-in shooter, then people know that 20 children have been killed. Obviously the media will inform us if killings are taking place, right? If the government of Syria gasses a village and kills 100 of its citizens you will be hearing about it on the news. Obviously the media will inform us if killings are taking place, right? So when you don't hear that 3,000 children were killed today in the U.S. while still living in their mothers' wombs, then it must not be taking place, right? Likewise, if people were killing people in our society, our educational system would be teaching us about this so that we can do something about it. Since we are not taught in the public schools about this killing, then it must not be happening. Both of these are huge problems. When those institutions we trust to bring us our education and awareness about the world don't inform us about what is happening, they not only fail to make us aware of what is happening, but effectively tell people that these things are not really happening. So this hypothesis clearly has a solid basis. If people don't get this information from the sources that they trust to provide such information, then these authoritative sources are effectively denying it, and it makes it very difficult for people who are trying to provide this understanding of what is truly going on to get their message across.

And, of course, if people were to accept that abortion is the killing of a human being, then they would have to accept that, as reported at the Human Rights For All Ages Campaign website, 27 times as many people are being killed by abortion every year than are killed by all other forms of violence on earth combined. Furthermore, 30 or 40 percent of all of the women walking the streets of the U.S. are or will become killers. This is just too incredible to believe, no matter what the facts are that might support it. So how can people look right at a picture of an abortion victim that has been ripped to pieces by the abortionist's tools and still claim that there is nothing terrible going on? Because it is simply too incredible of a suggestion to believe it could possibly be true.

Furthermore, if we were truly slaughtering little human beings on the scale that this suggests, surely people would be adamantly resisting such horrible violence, right? Surely they would be running and screaming in the streets and rushing to save the lives of those being butchered. Since this is not happening, then it must not be true. No matter what facts you might provide, no matter what pictures you might show them, it simply can't be true.

I have elsewhere described what I perceive to be the blocks that prevent people from accepting our message. This last point, that anti-abortion people just aren't acting in a way that suggests there is a horror taking place, is indeed what I say is the biggest problem that people don't believe us. (Just to summarize, the other important reasons that we aren't affective include the loss of the grassroots basis of the movement, the inclusion of religion and other issues that block peoples acceptance of our message, our willingness to accept controlling rather than ending abortion, the trouble we have in working together in a unified manner, and our insistence on trying to take a "positive" approach to a matter of incredible horror and violence.)

So it is certainly reasonable to conclude that hypothesis two could be the main explanation for why we haven't gotten through to the public and aroused their natural horror of killing little human beings, but we need to know if hypothesis one is true before we can make a judgment. So as I alluded to before, having the information that the Human Rights For All Ages Campaign survey will provide would be critical to answering this question.

For the time being, however, judging from my own experience I would say that hypothesis one is correct, that the information isn't getting out there very well, but I also find the arguments about hypothesis two to be compelling, so I think that hypothesis two is also a substantial reason that people don't accept our message. I am not in a position to form a solid conclusion at this point, but what we can do here is to ask which of the two hypotheses we are in a position to actually do something about if it is true. That is, which of these dynamics can we effectively control in order to change the way things are?

I believe it is clear enough to say that there is not a lot that we can do, at least in the short run, about the lack of information provided by the news media and educational systems. These are important areas where we need to induce change, but the forces that prevail are pretty much beyond our control, at least for now, with respect to either hypothesis.

Could we do more in terms of getting the information out there ourselves? Yes, I think so, but what is the bottleneck that prevents this? There is probably more than one, but I think clearly the most significant is what I identified as the biggest reason in my other essay, the lack of enthusiasm and action by and large on the part of anti-abortion people.

If we are getting the information out there, but it is not being accepted by people, then what can we do about this? Again, I believe the biggest reason people don't accept what we say is that we don't ourselves act like what we are saying is true. We don't yell and scream in horror, so people don't believe there is a horror taking place. Of course, we can address the other issues I brought up. We can stop mixing religion with abortion opposition so that this can't block people from listening to us (see other essay specifically about religion). We can change the orientation of our organizations from a top-down to a grass-roots dynamic (but this, of course, still requires adressing this biggest problem of inaction and getting people to act like they really believe what they say). Rather than trying to pass laws to control abortion, we could stand firmly and say that we absolutely will not tolerate the killing of children at all. We could express clearly our horror and anger at the killing of children, rather than smiling sweetly and saying "choose life".

So there's plenty we can do to address the problem of people not believing our message, but whichever hypothesis is the primary reason we haven't ended abortion, the primary answer is to get people who claim to believe that abortion kills babies to start acting like they believe what they say, that is, to get them "off their butts", out from in front of their TVs, and simply acting like normal people would react if they saw children being slaughtered. Once they are motivated to take action, we need to make sure they aren't doing the things that get in the way and prevent people from listening to us, but the main thing is to get them into action.