Pro-lifers make me tired. Especially male pro-lifers, who will never be faced with the decision of what to do about an intruder inside their body. I'd have a bit more tolerance for them if they could get their facts straight, but it's really hard to argue from facts when you're wrong. Michael Coren's March 11, 2005 piece in the Toronto Sun is no exception.
Coren claims that by day 19, an embryo has "an entire nervous system established." Which is interesting to me, since at day 16, according to the Visible Embryo website, the layer of cells that will eventually give rise to not only the nervous system, but also the skin, nails, hair, lens of eye, lining of the internal and external ear, nose, sinuses, mouth, anus, tooth enamel, pituitary gland, and mammary glands, has just formed; by day 19 there is a groove that is the precursor of the nervous system. But then pro-lifers do like to confuse potential with actual.
Here are the arms and legs at 28 days that Mr. Coren waxes so poetic about:
But let's pass on the rest of Coren's overly sentimentalized vision of fetal development and talk about the rest of his argument.
We invariably hear people who favour what they describe as "choice" say they would prefer there to be fewer abortions. Yet if abortion is merely the removal of tissue without any moral or emotional consequences there is no reason for there to be fewer of them.
Besides, um... that even if they are safer and less painful than childbirth, they still hurt, and pose some risk to the woman? (Post-born women do matter, right Mr. Coren?) And I'm sure Mr. Coren has never, ever heard people who are in favor of removing tapeworms or cancerous tumors wish that there was less cancer or fewer tapeworms.
And then Coren trots out all the standard canards - that a life is a life and has the right to live, and it doesn't matter if there's overpopulation or people who want to adopt, that life has a right to live regardless. Well what about the woman?
I'd recommend Coren try the following thought experiment:
Imagine getting home from work one snowy and frigidly cold night, and discovering an intruder in your house. His clothes are thin and if you make him leave, it's almost certain he'll freeze to death. He smells really bad and it's making you nauseous. On top of that, he's already started damaging the place, throwing trash around and getting things dirty. He's going through your fridge and eating all your food. His breath smells of alcohol and he has a crazy look in his eye. You have no way of knowing whether he'll just go to sleep, or whether he'll turn on you or attack you.
Should you be compelled to allow this person to live in your house until spring?
If not, why should a woman be compelled to allow someone to live inside her body and use its resources, leaving the body irreparably changed, for nine months?