I’m not an American and I don’t know much about the American discussions, statistics, myths and facts around the topic of abortion. However, I watched Laci Green’s latest video called “ABORTION UNDER ATTACK” out of curiosity as to what she would have to say. For those of you who don’t know who she is, Laci Green is a YouTuber who does a series called ‘Sex+’ which is essentially a Sex Education focused channel which also deals with relationships, body image, sexuality, gender and feminism.
I’ve searched her YouTube channel for other videos on abortion and she did a couple of videos back in 2011 which outlined the options between Abortion, Adoption and Motherhood; each with benefits and negatives. This, however, was prior to her affiliation with Planned Parenthood, announced April 2012 and which resulted in the YouTube channel anakednotion. Since the start of this partnership, it seems that the main video directly on Abortion is this one, which is not an argument for but simply information about the different kinds of abortion for those who want to know more about it and what to expect when they have one.
‘ABORTION UNDER ATTACK’ is also the first video on abortion since Laci Green ‘came out’ as a feminist back in April 2014. As such this seems to be the first time Laci Green has spoken on this topic on YouTube from an ideological perspective or with a ‘moral stance’, and she does so as someone affiliated with Planned Parenthood. (This will be relevant later.)
Now, I’m not interested in disputing the American statistics, and I’m happy to accept them as accurate for the purpose of this post. What I’m interested in occurs just prior to the three minute mark, between 2:46 and 3:00. This 15 second window is the entire moral justification/reasoning in favour of abortion within the 7:13 long video. In it, she says:
“What makes this extreme mentality terrifying, is that if a person is ignorant enough to think that a grown human being and a blastocyst have the same sentience, and thusly the same rights; that person just might not see a moral problem with killing the grown human being.”
This arises during section III of the video: The “Pro-Life” Movement. Consequently it comes within the context of being polemical against the perspectives of those who are not ‘Pro-Choice’, or, as Laci calls them later, those who are ‘Anti-Choice’. So that explains the prefacing insult (and the later statement that ‘This movement doesn’t give a s*** about life, about babies and definitely not about women.’). However, the notion itself is what originally caught my attention.
Her argument goes:
– Pro-Lifers think a grown human being and a blastocyst are equally sentient.
– Therefore, they have the same rights.
This seems to presuppose that human rights are bestowed only when sentience is present. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, sentience is not a prerequisite to receive human rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Furthermore, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Sentience doesn’t come into it. (Being born, however, might.)
Nonetheless, if one were to have a unifying belief which equated grown humans and blastocysts, such as the Christian doctrine of the Imago Dei or an understanding of person-hood from conception (as I have written about previously), then Laci’s intermediate conclusion stands:
– Both the blastocyst and the grown human have the same rights according to pro-lifers.
This is followed by:
– Therefore, the Pro-Lifer ‘might not see a moral problem with killing the grown human being’.
… I’m afraid I don’t follow this logic.
If the Pro-Life view is that grown humans and blastocysts are have equal rights, and the Pro-Life view, by definition, is that the blastocyst should have the opportunity to grow and develop until the point where a baby is born; then the Pro-Life view that a blastocyst should not be terminated should remain the case for the grown human being. Put simply:
– Blastocysts and grown humans have same rights
– Blastocysts should not be terminated
-Therefore, grown human lives should not be terminated
Realistically, this conclusion would probably be drawn in reverse; i.e. grown humans have the right to life, and therefore if we have a unifying concept between a grown human and a blastocyst, the blastocyst also has a right to life.
Nevertheless, the point is if Pro-Lifer thinks that both the blastocyst and a grown human have the same right to life, it would be inconsistent for them to ‘not see a moral problem with killing the grown human being’.
If anything, that conclusion in this context would only be justified if either: you have a unity between the rights afforded to a blastocyst and a grown human and that those rights in both cases were of termination, ie. If you would terminate a blastocyst, you would also terminate a grown human; or, if you operate without a unifying concept between the two, in which case each would be treated differently. The former is clearly not the Pro-Life position, while the second seems to be Laci Green’s position. She emphasises her view that the equivalence of a sentient human being and a blastocyst is ‘ignorant’ by using this graphic on screen at the same time:
It is clear that for Laci Green:
– Grown human =/= a blastocyst.
– Therefore, a grown human has a ‘right to life’ which the blastocyst does not.
The only way that I can see to make her statement that Pro-Life people ‘might not see a moral problem with killing the grown human being’ make sense would be if she’s arguing:
– If someone can be as ignorant as to believe A, they may be ignorant enough to believe B.
With ‘A’ being the view that a blastocyst and a grown human are equally sentient and ‘B’ being murder. What her argument amounts to, then, is basically that people who are ‘Pro-Life’ are ignorant and stupid, and that stupid people might kill people.
This conclusion seems to me to be disingenuous. Laci Green has not actually presented any argument for abortion within this video and rather than refuting a Pro-Life argument she seems to have merely misrepresented one in such a way that she’s left with no actual argument or reasoning in favour of abortion other than the observation that a grown human and a blastocyst are different; particularly with regards to ‘sentience’.
Later in the video she moves to discuss the ideological underpinnings of each side. Apparently the real motive of the ‘Pro-Life’ movement is the:
This is followed by saying that those who are pro-life believe that sex is only for procreation and that women who have sex for pleasure are ‘sluts’.
The reproductive justice movement, however, asserts the ‘philosophically imperative’ right to individual autonomy.
Apparently the ‘Pro-Choice movement can’t compete with doctored photos, crocodile tears… but it’s important to understand that this is just propaganda and it’s propaganda which is made effective by the fact that a lot of people are scientifically illiterate and they’re easily manipulated, emotionally.’
Thus, “The only conclusion a halfway reasonable person can draw about the Pro-Life movement is that they’re seeking state control over, primarily, women’s bodies and lives in ways that are medically unnecessary and patronising and invasive. This is a deliberate attack on women, and by extension it’s an attack on anyone who can get pregnant. It is a deliberate attack on women who are poor, who are disproportionately women of colour. Without reproductive choice gender equality cannot and will not be achieved and that is exactly their point.”
Tangent: As I said, I’m not interested/don’t have the time to verify and engage with the statistics here, but it is worth noting that the disproportionately high ratio of women of colour who have abortions compared with white women has been used by both Pro-Life and anti-racism activists against freely available abortions as well.
Returning to the underlying point here, Laci Green’s arguments about the Attack on Abortion is actually no such thing, it’s about a perceived attack on women and more than that an attack on the here unnamed but implied feminism of Hilary Clinton which is so central to her campaign.
Wait, Hilary Clinton? Where does she come into this? Well, it turns out that:
In August 2015, Hilary Clinton publicly supported Planned Parenthood.
On the 11th January 2016, Planned Parenthood endorse Hilary Clinton.
21st January 2016 Laci Green, affiliated with Planned Parenthood releases her video which concludes by stressing the importance of voting for Democrats, with Hilary Clinton being given prominence.
“In order to preserve their own autonomy…”
“Obviously electing a good president is imperative…”
At the end of the day, abortion is a wildly controversial topic with many different facets to it, including the divide between opinion on the morality and legality of it, but this video by Laci Green has done nothing to help explain the actual issue of abortion by examining arguments for and against. Rather, it seems that the moral issue has been taken as moral fact. Those who disagree are ‘ignorant’, sexist and may ‘not see a moral problem with killing [a] grown human being’ – illustrated below.
“That person just might not see a moral…”
“problem with killing the grown human being.”
The argument goes: if you’re not one of those stupid, scientifically illiterate and easily manipulated types, then you should at the least vote Democrats; but ideally vote #Hilary2016.
I watched Laci Green’s video on abortion out of curiosity to see what she would have to say from a Sex Education perspective. Apparently though, this is not a sex education issue, or even a moral one; it’s a political one.
EDIT: Since I posted this, Planned Parenthood have spent six figures on a last minute ad campaign for Hilary Clinton in Iowa, helping her clinch the caucus by a hair’s breadth over Bernie Sanders (who is being depicted as ‘pro-abortion’). To my mind, this solidifies the links made above between Planned Parenthood, and by extension Laci Green, and Hilary Clinton. Sources here, here and here.
This is not my usual topic or theme for a blog post but I will from time to time comment on things which catch my attention or pique my curiosity, as with this one.
You’ll notice that there’s lots of weblinks. These are not ad links picking up on SEO phrases but rather are links to articles and sources I’ve referred to. Do check them out and feel free to comment with links to articles which correct mistakes or errors in the ones I’ve used, or with your own thoughts and reflections.
Samuel S. Thorp