Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Estranged Notions: Do You Need God to Know That Abortion is Wrong?

Oh dear.

Do You Need God to Know That Abortion is Wrong?

I don't know whether this is deliberate dishonesty or egregious error: the article has a graph[edit: see below] supposedly showing the "latest" polling data on abortion but which is actually from 2012. This isn't because the whole article is recycled, either, because it is responding to a piece in The New Republic from last month.

The latest polling data available on the Gallup website—and even this is a year old—is far less favourable to Heschmeyer's argument, and moreover reveals the 2012 result as an outlier:

Furthermore, the "pro-choice"/"pro-life" labels are well known to be misleading, as shown by a more specific polling question:

Notice that the official Catholic position—"illegal in all circumstances"—has never been held by more than a small minority.

The rest of the article is no better. An attempt at the argument-by-biology-textbook fails hilariously by claiming that life "begins" in the same way—fusion of haploid gametes to form a diploid cell— in all animals—"[that's] how we get new birds, new bees"—in apparent complete ignorance of the fact that male bees are in fact haploid.

And of course any inconvenient biological facts—such as the fact that sperm and ova are just as alive as zygotes are, or the fact that the majority of human zygotes fail to implant—are ignored; as are the issues of bodily autonomy and medical risks. The question the appeals court asked in In re A.C. (a forced-caesarean case), "Are you urging this court to find that you can handcuff a woman to a bed and force her to give birth?" remains as relevant as ever.

Edit to add: Brandon claimed responsibility for posting the 2012 rather than 2014 image and replaced it in the original article. This is the original image that was used:

This of course makes the article's quotation of Gallup's 2012 post, and the conclusions that it draws, even more inexplicable, since they are flatly contradicted by the 2014 data.