Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Tragedy That is the Pro-Life Movement

      Pro-life is a very catchy adjective, it's not hard to tell someone that you're a supporter of life. That is probably the main reason why so many people are persuaded by the pro-life movement's arguments, the name alone. But the problem is that if you look at the arguments, you can plainly see that they aren't for the protection of life, but instead are used to further goals with actually destroy lives.
      First let's talk about the stem-cell research. Stem cells could offer us miraculous ways at bettering people's lives, with the potential for being used to treat diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and the list goes on. These treatments could save a person's life, thereby greatly increasing their happiness as well as the patient's family and friends. Pro-lifers think this would be great too, except they don't believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. They think that an organism, which is roughly made up of 150 cells, is not worth destroying so that lives can be saved. They feel more compassionate to this cell which has no conciousness and doesn't even know that's it human, than they do to the sick and their family. Here's an interesting parallel: we (especially the republican pro-lifers) believe that war is necessary in order to protect American lives, even if it destroys both American and (in the most recent case) Iraqi lives. It's a sacrifice that must be made to protect those at home from threats that would kill them. Now, let's say that the Iraqis are a dangerous disease. Our American soldiers represent stem cells. Wouldn't it make sense to sacrifice the stem cells in order to save American lives from the disease? It would appear so. The interesting part of this analogy is that it comes to the conclusion that stem cell research is okay even while assuming that a stem cell is worth the same as a human being! Now of course that's ridiculous, but that's exactly what most pro-life supporters believe. I spoke with a christian friend of mine about this a few months back and it was clear that he believed that all human life, no matter at what stage it was at, was equal and that it always was more important to save than any other life, whether it be animal, alien, whatever. I made the argument that the worth of a life was related to the level of conciousness that the living thing experiences. This would put human beings that have been born above all other animals on this earth, but it would not put things as silly as stem cells above or equal to a human being which has memories, desires, a loving family, etc.
      So now that we've seen how the pro-life movement actually harms life, it's also important to realize that the pro-life movement is hypocritical in that they ignore on a daily basis people dying when they could otherwise save them. People all over the world, especially in Africa where it hits hardest, die from starvation. This would seemingly be something that the pro-life movement cares about, but do you hear them talking about it? They got into a huge uproar about Terri Schiavo, who was in a vegetable-like state. Pro-life supporters stood outside the hospital and cried. They demonized her poor husband, who after almost 10 years of caring for her, wanted to move on with his life once he saw she wasn't going to improve. But is anyone crying for the African children who die everyday? No, and it's not because they aren't aware.


Enlightenment said...

I am a former presbyterian pastor turned deist and finally turned atheist. I am constantly amazed by the "pro life" (or rather "pro misery") attitude of the far right. Save the fetus but execute the adult. My son--who by the way is your age--wrote a post on another blog in which he tackled this same topic although in a very humorous manner. He presented the following situation. Suppose a woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy, but during the birth she had a coronary and died. Using the Biblical standard of a life for a life, and keeping with the pro death penalty crowd, would this not oblige us to exceute the baby on the grounds that he had killed his mother? At the very least would we not shove junior into an adult prison? This is how loopy religious "logic" can get when taken to its ultimate limit.

Anonymous said...

I wish more people felt the same way as you do. I am so sick of people more concerned with something that has no feelings instead of caring about the people who are alive and suffering from diseases. Basically the people who are against stem cell research are saying "screw all the sick people I want to save some cells".