“Lie” and “gaslighting” are strong words, but they are necessary to use in this case.
Yesterday a majority of the U.S. Senate voted to ban most abortions past 20 weeks based on evidence that the unborn child can feel pain. The bill was blocked by a filibuster of 44 Democrats and 2 Republicans.
The most frequent argument against the bill that we saw was that most women who have abortions past 20 weeks have some health issue, or the child has a fatal condition or disability. Here’s an example, from Planned Parenthood:
Abortion later in pregnancy is rare and often happens under complex circumstances — the kind of situations where a patient and doctor need every medical option available: http://p.ppfa.org/2nkJnSc #StopTheBans
It’s a bad argument for three reasons:
A) Killing someone is not an appropriate response to suffering.
B) Having a disability doesn’t diminish your human rights.
C) It isn’t true. It’s a lie.
It’s not like this is a mistake, or an assumption, or wishful thinking. The Guttmacher Institute, formerly Planned Parenthood’s own research institution, has studied the issue [www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2013/11/who-seeks-abortions-or-after-20-weeks]. They found most women who have late-term abortions past 20 weeks fit one of these five profiles:
1) Single mothers with other children.
2) Depression or substance abuse.
3) Relationship issues or domestic violence.
4) Trouble deciding earlier in the pregnancy.
5) Young and without children.
These are reasons for many early abortions as well. Conspicuously absent is any mention of a child with a disability or health issues.
It’s also a disingenuous argument. Planned Parenthood doesn’t oppose a ban on late-term abortions because of health issues, they oppose them because they believe no unborn child has a right to life at any point in pregnancy. If such an exception were included in a late-term ban, Planned Parenthood would move on to a completely different and equally-deceptive argument to oppose it. Planned Parenthood knows that late-term abortion bans usually poll in the 60 percent range, and that even many self-identified pro-choice Democrats support such bans, so they have to skirt the issue.
Planned Parenthood gaslights the public, they gaslight the media, and they gaslight their own supporters. Gaslighting is a term for emotional/mental abuse that involves repeatedly lying and deceiving someone, with the goal of having them question their own perceptions and instead rely on the deceptive person for their view of reality.
Practically every common argument or talking point from the abortion industry involves deception of some kind: only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s work involves abortions, “heavily edited” undercover videos involving fetal tissue trafficking, Planned Parenthood’s fictitious mammogram machines, or the lie that launched the movement into the mainstream itself: back alley abortions. We could go on and on.
Why do Planned Parenthood and others do this? Because the second you acknowledge even a sliver of the truth or the humanity of the unborn child, the entire abortion house of cards comes tumbling down. Abortion rests on the idea that a child has zero moral worth before the moment of birth, or as former Sen. Barbara Boxer put it [http://www.newsweek.com/george-will-barbara-boxers-position-abortion-74293], a baby doesn’t have value until you take her home from the hospital.
Just yesterday in discussing with someone the reasons women have abortions past 20 weeks, the person was unable to accept that the study discussed above from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute was legitimate. The person claimed the study was about abortion after 14 weeks, even though the title of the study is, “Who Seeks Abortions at or After 20 Weeks?” She was unable to accept the truth, and confabulated a reason to ignore the evidence.
That’s why you can show someone a video of Planned Parenthood talking in their own words about selling the organs of aborted babies, and the person will likely find an excuse to assume what they’ve just seen isn’t real or must be a deception itself. They are incapable of believing Planned Parenthood is in the wrong.
That’s why it’s important to keep your cool when debating people who support abortion. Most abortion supporters aren’t dismissing your claims to purposefully lie or deceive. Their support of abortion rests on denying the reality of the unborn child, and they have been conditioned to accept claims from Planned Parenthood uncritically and doubt everything the profile movement says. Getting angry at them only drives them further away from your point.
That doesn’t mean the prolife movement should abandon debunking pro-abortion claims. You can still sow seeds of doubt in abortion supporters, and sometimes they do see the truth when they are ready to emotionally accept it. So be patient, and continue keeping your arguments grounded in the facts and on point.
You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.