Abortion is a sensitive topic that many people would rather not discuss. There are tensions between those who consider themselves pro-life and pro-choice. Often it can be difficult for people who feel one way about abortion to relate to the reasons that another person takes the opposite view. Some people even feel compelled to convince one another that their view on abortion is the right one. Frequently, this is a pro-life phenomenon.
Because the pro-choice stance essentially holds that abortion is a personal choice, people who identify as pro-choice tend to respect others’ feelings about abortion, and will generally assume that each woman is capable of educating herself and making decisions about her pregnancy in conjunction with her family and her doctor.
Pro-life proponents may simply feel they personally could not terminate a pregnancy. But there are a significant number of people who identify with a politically active pro-life camp. They tend to feel abortion is killing, and may also believe it’s a sin. Pro-lifers have protested outside abortion clinics, lobbied the government to restrict both comprehensive sex education and women’s reproductive health care options, and even created so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which are often staffed by untrained volunteers who sometimes disseminate misinformation about topics such as “abortion reversal” and allow women to believe they are actually doctors.
With the popularity of the internet, the pro-life camp has taken to creating websites that make false claims about abortion. Pro-lifers are also busy on social media with campaigns designed to change people’s minds about abortion. In fact, one of the campaigns run by a pro-life group called Live Action features a video called “Watch their minds change on abortion.” The video basically shows a series of people who are at least partially pro-life, and who are shown a series of videos about abortion that are specifically designed to shock and convert. After watching the videos, the people admit that their views on abortion have changed.
What’s Wrong with Anti-Abortion Videos?
The videos shown are specifically anti-abortion. That is, while they are narrated by a man who introduces himself as a doctor who has performed a large number of abortions, the videos specifically condemn abortion. If you Google this doctor you will discover that he’s a pro-life lobbyist who is paid to speak out against abortion. His job is to convince people abortion is wrong – not to convey the facts. In the videos, he tends to misrepresent abortion in a number of subtle ways.
Facts About Abortion
This video of an embryo is aimed at women whose pregnancies are planned and as such. it isn’t biased towards either the pro-choice or pro-life camp. It portrays an embryo at 6 weeks of gestation, the point by which a third of abortions have been performed. Notice how unlike a human baby the embryo looks at this stage of pregnancy. This contrasts sharply with the cartoon images in the videos used to convert pro-choice individuals.
The videos shown by Live Action can be seen on YouTube. There are several, including one that explains medical abortion using the abortion pill and several that look at surgical abortions in the 1st trimester, 2nd trimester, and 3rd trimester. None of these videos mentions that 89% of abortions are performed before the woman is 12 weeks pregnant, 63% before she is 8 weeks pregnant, and fully a third of all abortions are performed when the woman is no more than 6 weeks pregnant. At this stage of pregnancy, the embryo is the size of a pea and has no arms, legs, or facial features.
In both the 1st trimester videos, the demonstration uses a fetus that looks like a fully formed baby. These fetuses are between 9 and 11 weeks old. There is no attempt to either discuss or portray the considerably smaller and less developed embryos that most women abort. This leaves the viewer with the impression that all abortions involve fully formed fetuses – which is simply not true. Misleading and appealing to emotion rather than fact are, unfortunately, a common practice among pro-lifers who seek to convert others or lobby the government in order to restrict women’s reproductive choices.
Do you think the people shown by Live Action made an informed choice to adopt a pro-life stance? Will they remain convinced that abortion is wrong, or do you think they will revert to a pro-choice stance once they have the chance to research the facts about abortion for themselves? Let’s hear your views on abortion too. If we can dialogue openly about difficult topics, we can all come to a better understanding of one another.
For more abortion facts and information on prenatal development, you can consult the following sources:
“Medication Abortion Reversal” – American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists fact sheet, 2015 (www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/early-abortion-options/)
“Early Abortion Options” – Our Bodies, Ourselves (www.acog.org/~/media/departments/state%20legislative%20activities/2015AZFactSheetMedicationAbortionReversalfinal.pdf)
“Induced Abortion in the United States” – Guttmacher Institute (www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states)
“What are crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs)?” – NARAL (txpregnancy.org/)
“Pregnancy Week By Week” (videos) – Consumer Health Digest (www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdGeMxFseBldYVCWOl0bGXPXz6gSwo9AS)
“Stages of Pregnancy Week by Week” – Parents (www.parents.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/)
“Pregnancy Week by Week” – What to Expect (www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/landing.aspx)
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Original content © 2016 Kyla Matton Osborne
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