Thursday, March 23, 2006

A response to Judie Brown the anti-abortion activist

As I try to avoid the echo chamber, sometimes I'll read something written by someone living in a different world than mine, something like Judie Brown's latest on the Renew America website: Why is it so hard to understand? The abortion pill is simply wrong. (Judie Brown is a prominent anti-abortion activist, as detailed at the bottom of the piece I'm reacting to here.)

At the end of Ms. Brown's piece are seven questions she wants people to think about. I'll get to those in a minute, but first...

In her second paragraph, Ms. Brown refers to RU-486 as the "death pill". She thinks of it that way because she's a believer in the myth of the supernatural soul that exists independent of the brain. I don't mean to be insulting - if a person believes a particular myth is real then so be it. What I can't abide is the presumption of some believers that they have a lock on truth and the right to dictate it to others. So, no Ms. Brown, RU-486 is not a "death pill" except in your mind, and nobody is forcing it on you. Back off, please.

Ms. Brown complains that RU-486 is not "safe for every" "mother" who ingests it, as though the mere presence of a fertilized egg makes the woman bearing it a "mother". If the pregnancy goes to term, THEN the woman is a mother to that child. Ms. Brown's terminology is a fallacious emotional hook. As for the safety of RU-486, I wish Ms. Brown would identify anything at all that is absolutely safe for everyone. RU-486 is safe, which is part of the reason it was approved. In fact, RU-486 is much safer than childbirth. While Ms. Brown would argue that RU-486 is 100 percent fatal to the "child", that's the crux of the argument: it's not a "child".

Ms. Brown goes on to blast Planned Parenthood, where half of my bi-weekly contribution goes. Planned Parenthood is a great and necessary organization, Ms. Brown's opinion notwithstanding.

Ms. Brown blasts Dr. Vanessa Cullins of Planned Parenthood for, in the wake of the two RU-486 related deaths, pointing out that of half a million prescriptions, seven deaths have occurred associated with RU-486. Then Ms. Brown goes on to
hear those gnomes saying, "Not to worry, folks. The loss of your loved one is a minor problem in the scope of our successes, but gosh, we are sorry she died."

Far fetched? You decide.
Yeah, far fetched. Ridiculous. Nasty. Half a million pregnancies carried to term would have resulted in about 35 dead western women. 7? 35? You decide.

...blatant lack of respect for the dead ... nary a word from the White House ... war of terror being waged on preborn children ... tragedy beyond all telling ... war on procreation ... preborn children ... affection for the elimination of "products of conception" ... ... ...
Yeah yeah yeah... This gets tiresome. Affection for abortion? Oh please.

Ms. Brown's seven questions are readily answered:

Since when are human beings mere calculations on the slide rule of life?
Slide rules and Ms. Brown's anti-abortion stance are equally antiquated. The association is apt. To answer the question, though, the question is nonsensical.

Why is it that we are living in a nation where the government is more concerned with what happens in a distant land than they are with the human destruction that is described as "freedom of choice"?
Because it's more appropriate than going back to suppression of women's individual rights, and because this is supposed to be a free, secular country.

How can it be that the agency of our government that is charged with protecting our citizens from dangerous drugs can approve a chemical that kills preborn people and occasionally kills their mothers?

Because RU-486 is safe and effective, and the killing referred to is in Ms. Brown's mind.

Why hasn't the Food and Drug Administration recalled this drug?
Because the Food and Drug Administration is supposed to be an instrument of public safety and science, not religious dogmatism of any particular stripe.

Why isn't the Bush administration demanding that the FDA do so [recall RU-486]?
Because it they kowtow to fundies much more it'll cost them politically, and that's the last thing they need.

Why aren't members of Congress cutting off the millions of dollars that flow into Planned Parenthood bank accounts?
Because Planned Parenthood provides needed services safely, efficiently and legally.

What is it that mesmerizes so many of us with a false sense of security amidst the human, psychological, spiritual and mental devastation that occurs every few seconds of every single day?
I'm not sure what sense of security Ms. Brown is referring to, but she seems pretty mesmerized herself.

As I type, there's a fellow in Afghanistan who faces trial for his life over his conversion from one mythology to another. Offended clerics of the abandoned memeplex claim sufficient power over this individual's freedom of conscience as to end it by execution unless he recants his conversion. In the meantime, the Afghan government is squirming about for ways to wiggle out of the situation, such as by saying that the man in mentally unfit to stand trial.

Ms. Brown is a hair's breadth away from these Afghan religionists. She'd do well to back off and enjoy her faith in the peace she could cultivate by leaving people the hell alone.


jj mollo said...

There is a sect of Hindus called the Jains whose adherents hold the same feelings toward insects that Ms. Brown holds toward "human" embryos. Their respect for the tranmigrated souls in these creatures impels them to offer up their bodies to the mosquitos for some specified amount of time each evening.

Surely Ms. Brown can accept their feelings as legitimate and do likewise. She must also refrain from murdering stray insects, the revered flies and cockroaches who have chosen to honor her household.

Mr. Bush must be considered as a war criminal for allowing the senseless slaughter of our brothers, the termites, the fire ants, the cockroaches. There are even innocent looking trucks that roam the neighborhoods of America plying their abhorent trade, murdering millions with poisons. They are no different than the Nazis with their Zyklon B. How can he allow this.

Surely Judie Brown can understand how the protection of souls requires her cooperation. Legislators will, no doubt, see the wisdom of enlisting her cooperation whether or not she has come to see the light.

By the way, that hamburger is definitely off the menu. Half a billion Hindus insist upon it.

Mark said...

Apart from the fact that you're astoundingly ignorant on basic embryology, comparing the pro-life statements of Brown to "Afghan religionists" is beneath rational discourse.

Steve said...

Thanks for your perspective Mark. Apparently we're in different worlds. I've added your feed to my anti-echo-chamber list.

jj mollo said...

I don't know that you said anything at all about embryology, other than the implied presumption that an embryo is not comparable in value to a human life. This presumption is clearly not a matter of knowledge or of ignorance. Certainly Mark is disingenuous to describe this as astounding, since as a partisan, he must have run across similar sentiments on numerous occasions.

Comparing "Judge" Judie to an exponent of sharia is certainly impolite and somewhat unkind, but not beneath rational discourse. Every statement, as I have just demonstrated, is subject to rational discourse. If someone chooses not to indulge in rational discourse, perhaps for the sake of brevity, then there is more of a case that that person has placed himself above rational discourse. Since the answers are already known, as gifts from the lips of God perhaps, there is no need to address the disbelievers.

So the obvious question is, why bother to plant the verbal IED by your roadside. Perhaps, Steve, your analysis has risen to the level where it is considered a threat to the emotional wellbeing of your correspondent.

Steve said...

My first inclination was to respond with your observation that I had written nothing about embryology. There seemed little point in responding at all, though, so I left it as is.

I much prefer to be polite and kind than not, but sometimes one just has to say what needs saying. I see this fundie pro-life nonsense as akin to the positions of vocal (and more) mohamedan rantings about the cartoons. The cartoons were impolite and unkind, but they needed to be.

I felt no desire to be polite or kind ot Ms. Brown given her imaginary quote of the Planned Parenthood postion on the RU-486 deaths, which was highly impolite and most unkind.

On the Planned Parenthood website one can find the text of Martin Luther King's speech, delivered by his wife on the occasion of the good Reverend's acceptance of Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger Award. Following that is the text of a letter Dr. King wrote a couple of weeks later in which he expresses deep appreciation for the award, and regret over not having been able to personally present himself to receive it.

That some of these pro-lifers question the merit of Martin Luther King Day, and of the man himself, on the basis of his stance in support of family planning just blows me away.

Thanks for your comment JJ.