Philosophy - Index > Abortion vs. AR
Animal Rights and Abortion Dilemmas

On Wednesday, April 18, 2007, the Supreme Court determined:
"No more partial birth abortions."

Hillary Clinton, 59: "Erosion of our constitutional rights..."
John Edwards, 53: "I could not disagree more strongly..."
Rudy Giuliani, 63: "I agree with it..."
John McCain, 71: I'm very happy..."
Barack Obama, 45: "I strongly disagree..."
Mitt Romney, 60: "A step Forward..."

The Notmilkman, 55: "This is an intellectual argument that all people must come to terms with. Abuse of any defenseless creature is a crime against all that is humane."

"Animal Rights and Abortion Dilemmas..."

Abortion has again become a defining litmus test issue for political candidates as it does every four years. Liberal democrats shift one way while Conservative republicans lean the other.

"Compassion is the basis of morality."
Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

As an animal rights activist, can I cry for the rat or mouse that is about to be the subject of an experiment in which surgery is followed by pain which is followed by death while ignoring sensory pain cells in the human model?

Many animal activists have spent days or months or years in jail after passionately defending the rights of defenseless animals who have no voice. Many of those same passionate individuals misplace their compassion when it comes to defenseless unborn humans. Is there a contradiction here?

Each year, one thousand or more animal rights supporters gather near Washington, D.C. for their annual convention. The majority of these activists are women. As a matter of fact, there would be no animal rights movement without the gentler sex, who seem to possess a spirituality and wisdom that their male counterparts lack.

Animal rights activists protest pain to laboratory rats, but support a woman's right to bring pain to her unborn fetus. Some vegan activists demand that meat eaters acknowledge the horrors of slaughterhouse films, or vivisection, or bullfighting. Yet, they turn a deaf ear and firmly shut a blind eye to the conscious being who grows within the mammalian human mother.

Most of these passionate animal rightists also support the decision of a woman to cause pain to her fetus, as if it is their right to decide pain or no pain decisions regarding the living creature within a human body. Where is the compassion for the human animal that is destined to suffer? More than one female animal rights author has paralleled the abuse and struggles of animals to the sexual politics and multiple i ndignities suffered by women at the hands of a male-oriented society.

Is abortion murder? Of course it is. It is more than just murder. It is death without compassion, for the living creature, not yet named, possesses pain receptors and is aware of his or her own suffering.

In defense of their ignorance, some animal rights activists argue that the fetus feels no pain, much the same way that animal abusers which animal rightists protest use the very same argument to defend vivisection, sport, or the consumption of sentient farm animals.

As an animal rights activist, I am faced with an enormous dilemma. Do I call abortion anything other than torture or murder? I cannot rationalize the willful delivery of pain to a rat, cat, dog, rabbit, calf, pig, circus elephant, or unborn humans when alternatives exist.

I cry for the cow and the calf, and the bull in the bullring, and the dog who is euthanized, and the rat who is burned in the name of science, and the squirrel shot by the young boy in the name of sport, and the coyote who is anally electrocuted so that her fur can adorn a parka.

Many people do not recognize the unborn child as possessing the same rights as the rest of us, yet, a study published in the May, 2003 issue of Psychological Science (2003;14:220- 224) reveals that a fetal infant is able to recognize the voice of her own mother.

Scientific studies have demonstrated that the growing human fetus feels pain and learns about the external environment while within. The fetus recognizes songs and voices. The brain works, the heart beats, pain receptors feel. How much compassion do animal rights activists emote for sentient human infants, not yet born?

Supporting animal research is a transgression of the laws of nature and an insult to the respect of life. This is why Animal Rights activists are so right in the things they protest. Supporting pain and death for even one of the 4,700 species of mammals is a contradiction in terms against all of the good that animal rights activists do.

There are anti-abortion people who show no compassion to other living things. They eat animals and wear furs and hunt and support animal research. There are also pro-abortion people who are vegans and protest animal research and animal abuse of any sort.

One must be true to a universal truth. Abuse of any living creature is a crime against Universal Wisdom. One cannot act passionately against one form of abuse while supporting another and defend that action by rationalizing with an excuse of personal convenience.

Is the killing of an animal against the law? Is murder against the law? People kill animals for food. As a vegan, I am offended by the process, but have never suggested that the killing be made illegal. I have urged that people take responsibility for their actions, and call the act what it is, murder, and recognize that their action of eating meat leads to the painful death of a sentient being. In that same sense, I am horrified by every single act of abortion. I feel the pain of every woman who feels that she has no alternative, and must make that life or death decision. It is a decision that she lives with for the rest of her life, and nothing can be more painful than to kill a part of oneself. Abortion is murder. It must always be called murder. Although it immediately ends a pregnancy, it must not be called a pregnancy termination. It must be called what it is, and if that change in nomenclature occurs throughout our society, it might become a less common act than it is.

In the same sense that I would not prosecute a person who kills a living creature for food, I would not prosecute a woman who makes such a choice. Nor would I prosecute a physician who performs that terrible, terrible act of murder, just as I would not prosecute the butcher of a slaughterhouse or the owner of such an operation. I support every woman's right to murder her fetus, and wish that no woman would ever do such a thing, but she must have the right, just as an individual must have the right to eat a chicken or a duck or a rabbit or a lamb or a veal calf.

As a society, we get into trouble by placing veils over controversial issues. We must look life and death squarely in the face and recognize each act for what it is and then take full responsibility for the things we do. If that ever happens, we will all live in a better world.

Robert Cohen
http://www.notmilk. com
[email protected] net

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