Sunday, May 17, 2009

Miracle of Life: The Action-Packed Days of Unborn Babies

The abortion debate is picking up again today. It turns out that John Sides is spreading the same half-truths on public opinion and abortion that I debunked previously (see, "Majority of Americans Identify as 'Pro-Life'").

At issue are the recent polls by
Pew and Gallup finding a majority of Americans as pro-life. As I pointed out earlier, the recent data confirm a decade-old decline among those who identify as pro-choice. The findings are bothersome to the lefties, especially "scholarly" Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money. Lemieux has dismissed the results as "outliers," despite the fact that Gallup has been asking the same question since 1995, and the data clearly indicate a decreasing proportion of Americans supporting abortion over time. Pew's data do so as well as indicated by the questionnaire page.

Also at issue is question wording, which is alleged to be "vague." Sides touches on that angle in particular. After a long review of the data
he concludes:

Simply put, the Pew and Gallup findings obscure far more than they reveal ... both Pew and Gallup employ vague questions that do not easily map onto actual policy debates. Once more precise data are employed, it becomes clear that opinion strongly depends on the circumstances under which the abortion would occur.
In fact, however, the surveys are quite specific, as I noted previously.

Perhaps Lemieux and Sides want pollsters to ask, say, "do you support abortion in the case of a promiscuous 17 year-old mother of two?" Or, "do you support abortion in the case of a 19 year-old college student with three previous abortions but who now claims rape to garner more sympathy for her irresponsibility"? Don't laugh. These are by no means outlandish circumstances. Indeed, pro-abortion extremism is on the rise: Recall that Planned Parenthood has refused to report statutory rape during abortion consultations for minors, and the Texas legislature has moved to decriminalize infanticide.

Poll respondents are not dumb, in any case.
When Gallup asks, should abortion be legal under any circumstances; legal under certain circumtances; or illegal under all circumstances, respondents have no difficulty thinking through the implications of the questions.

But if the leftists insist that both Pew and Gallup are methodologically flawed, that's their play. I mean, sure, it's true that
a bare majority of 53 percent supports Roe v. Wade in the Gallup poll. Yet, that's hardly robust given the fact that Americans are considered less supportive of the pro-choice position since Barack Obama assumed the presidency. Leftists, frankly, are simply in denial about the public's growing skepticism of the abortion-on-demand agenda.

In a related note,
the New York Times reports that President Obama called for dialogue on abortion in his commencement address at Notre Dame. And the Washington Post has the text of Obama's speech.

I'll simply close with a reminder on the bottom line on abortion: It kills. Leftists continue to spin slanderous tales about how conservatives are determined to suppress the rights of women. But what they rarely discuss are questions of sanctity of life - and that's because it's an argument they just can't win.

I just read an astonishing essay at Psychology Today on the science of fetal development in the earliest stages of pregnancy.

The title of the article is indicative: "A Fateful First Act: The Action-Packed Days a Baby Spends in Utero Influence Her Emotional and Physical Makeup for Years to Come."

The essay recounts the science showing that even within the first 40 days of pregnancy, the development of a fetus is powerfully influenced by environmental factors like environmental noise and the mother's oxygen levels. Difficulties in a fetus' brain development could later have consequences for cognitive impairment and susceptibility to disease. What is most interesting about the story is how scientists conceive of a fetus not just as a living organism, but as a developing person; and thus such a consensus makes even more grisly the arguments suggesting that fetuses are "brain dead" or other such nihilism we hear routinely among abortion-rights absolutists (for example,
right here).

Note this passage from
the Psychology Today piece:

Until recently, doctors believed that the journey from fertilized egg to baby followed unwavering genetic instructions. But a flood of new studies reveals that fetal development is a complicated duet between the baby's genes and the messages it receives from its mother. Based on those signals, the fetus chooses one path over another, often resulting in long-term changes—to the structure of its kidneys, say, or how sensitive its brain will be to the chemical dopamine, which plays a role in mood, motivation, and reward.

This new science of fetal programming, which investigates how in utero influences cause physiological changes that can linger into later life, is producing clues to mysterious disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, as well as evidence of the very early effects of stress and toxins. Scientists still don't know all the hows and whys of these fetal cues, but the when is very clear: earlier than we ever thought.

A Delicate Project

Our first nine months resonate for the next 70 or 80 years because the fetal enterprise is so enormously ambitious. In just 270 days, a single cell becomes trillions of diverse and specialized cells—that's more cells than there are galaxies in the universe. As in any construction project, events unfold in a highly coordinated sequence. Each cell not only has its own job to do, it spurs other cells to action—sending out chemical signals that tell its neighbors to divide like crazy or to self-destruct. So when something goes wrong it can set off a domino effect. Cells might not travel to their intended destination, or they might stop multiplying too soon, or, in the case of brain cells, they might fail to establish the right interconnections.

"We pass more biological milestones before we're born than at any other time in our lives," says Peter Nathanielsz, director of the Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "If we do not pass them correctly, there is a price to pay."
Well, we can't pass those biological milestones if the little lives of these human miracles are destroyed. And thus the obliteration of the moral soul is the ultimate "price to pay" among pro-choice extremists.

From conception to term, abortion is murder. Our goodness as a society rests on how we protect the unborn.


R. Stanton Scott said...

Where do you stand on punishment for women who choose abortion?

If, as you say, "From conception to term, abortion is murder," then they should be prosecuted for homicide, correct?

Death penalty?

Law and Order Teacher said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you. This shameful killing of children is a stain on America. It is a holocaust of unimaginable proportions.

This information will never see the light of day in the MSM because with their adulation of everything scientific, it is an inconvenient truth.

Noise like that above is what passes for debate. This is the same as calling criticism of Obama racism. Weak.

R. Stanton Scott said...

Characterizing this question as "noise" in the abortion debate falls flat from someone who classifies abortion as a "holocaust of unimaginable proportions." Stopping such a holocaust requires prosecution of the perpetrators.

If a fetus is a human being from conception, then all abortion is murder and women who have abortions have committed homicide. Ending a pregnancy for convenience is no different than killing a spouse because you don't want to be married any more.

If you don't think women should be prosecuted for this offense, then you can't really think that abortion is murder. This begs the question: what is your real objection to abortion? That it allows women to have sex without repercussion?

This is not a complicated question and the answer does not depend on the adulation of science.

Grizzly Mama said...

I believe that the way abortion is presented to women as an easy choice, as not really killing anything but a 'bundle of cells' - and with no lasting repercussions - contributes to the great number of abortions being performed. Of course, Planned Parenthood's collusion with pedophiles and child abusers doesn't help either.

I like the idea of doing an ultrasound to show the mother what it is that she is actually thinking of killing. I think most women, when presented with the truth and a REAL choice and support, would in most cases not choose to kill their baby.

dave in boca said...

Leftists, frankly, are simply in denial about the public's growing skepticism of the abortion-on-demand agenda.And in fervent belief in a lot of things that just ain't so, such as some sort of criminal conspiracy on the war in Iraq.

The fact that infanticide is murder is lost on these moral midgets, and their own narcissistic self-absorption is their lodestar, not anything or anyone else.

As science continues to improve on the development of a fetus in the womb, the Gallup and Pew numbers for Pro-Life will continue their upward direction.

Montag said...

i don't need a poll or focus group to tell me what to think!

it isn't unreasonable to call abortion homicide. but homicide is not always murder.

a person has a right to self defense and a right to exercise sovereignty over their own body.

the effects and dangers of pregnancy being what they are, i reckon that in most cases (short of sex selection, designer babies...) abortions can reasonably be considered self defense.

not being a lawyer, i'm not sure where this leaves doctors who perform abortions, but in my estimation, the law should shield them from murder charges as well in cases of the patient's self defense.

PRH said...

And yet our illegal Kenyan born President continues to fight "torture" of Terrorists, but has no problems with murder up until and including the moment of birth of the fetus.

Obama is the scum of the earth.

cracker said...

Dr. D
would you care you elaborate on this?;

" Our goodness as a society rests on how we protect the unborn."

Morris said...

I say the same thing that the NRA says about guns. Enforce the laws that currently exists and stop trying to make new ones.

If you are not born then you are not a citizen. Since there are no international laws for unborn entities then an unborn entity is not a person therefore there is no rights for that entity.

Constitution Article 14, Section 1

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

A woman who is a US citizen cannot be prosecuted because she is not killing a person.

Tom the Redhunter said...

Good idea to ignore the "noise," Law and Order Teacher ;-)

The pro-life movement today has nothing but compassion for women who have abortions. I know, because I've been to the March for Life uptown in WDC and heard the speeches. Without exception the speakers saw the women who have abortions as victims of predator men and a culture that encourages abortion.

Dave said...

As far as I am concerned, the abortion issue is in itself singular proof positive that liberalism is a mental disorder.

Don't believe me? Just put a connect the dots puzzle in front of a lib that contains more that two dots, and see what happens.

Linear logic is not a lib's specialty. In fact, most of them had it beaten out of them while attending government schools.

Liberals will get their panties all in a bunch over this nation's waterboarding of those who are working to destroy this nation, or putting to death child murderers, or murderers in general, yet they will not so much as blink when it comes to murdering innocent, unborn children:

What is worse still, these same brain damaged libs, who hurl ceaseless allegations of "racism" toward conservatives, unflinchingly support an abortion factory that was founded by a racist white woman:

BTW: That pic of Obama standing in front of an organization founded by someone who felt that "Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated" speaks volumes as to the insanity of the "modern," self-loathing liberal.

What is more disturbing still, these same brain damaged supporters of child murder will show up at a commencement event at Notre Dame, and respond to cries of "stop killing our children" with "yes we can."

Yet these same supporters of murdering the unborn, mostly out of "convenience," have the audacity to compare us to NAZIs, never mind the "experiments" of Joseph Mengele.