Any argument based on a faulty premise is doomed to a foolish stalemate. The stalemate occurs when the faulty premise is exposed. “When does life begin?” is such a debate. Sperms are alive. Eggs are alive. All the sub-microscopic shit that goes into their make-up is alive. If we were to find a sperm or an egg on Mars we’d go batshit crazy saying there is life on Mars, which there would be. So, the answer to when does life begin? It’s already begun. Faulty premise.
The second faulty premise in the life/choice debate concerns the “sanctity” of life, which, if we’re talking from the political/religious right, means human life. There is no sanctity of life. Dictionary.com defines sanctity as “a sacred thing; sacred or hallowed in character. “Sacred” means “entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.” Life isn’t that; certainly human life isn’t. And the people who make that argument don’t treat life as if it is. You can’t call life sacred and then be willing to let whatever happens, happen, the moment that life becomes “viable”. You can’t call life sacred and be willing to end it by institutional force when a faulty court system deems the owner of that life to have done something particularly heinous. You can’t consider life sacred, then go drop bombs on it.
The universe doesn’t treat life as if it’s sacred. And if the universe is run by a deity, then that deity doesn’t treat life that way. Life, even human life, comes and goes at the whim of random chance. Disease, things bumping into things with great force, faulty arteries, poisoned brains, gravity, sneak up behind us and extinguish our lives on a daily basis. Thousands of times. No entity stops it and no entity cares. The universe is loving enough to allow the rules of science and random chance to do their thing.
A righteous group, political or religious, that claims to believe in sanctity of life, but behaves as if they do not believe in the sanctity of lives, particular lives; lives already being lived, is spiritually empty. This god-awful war on women, and it is nothing short of that, is being waged by people who recognize no sanctity to the lives of women making the overwhelming choice of whether or not to bring a child into the world for whatever reason. If you really believe in democracy, then you value choice. The choice is about whether or not to stop the baby from happening, it is not about killing an innocent life, just as it is a choice to shoot a live sperm into a sock (sorry, flashback) instead of into home base for some egg. If the people who are so quick to find a way to force women to carry every sperm-egg union that occurs, implanted by whatever source, would be just as quick to help take care of that baby once it found it’s way to the light of day, we could at least see a thread of humanity in their argument. But that ain’t how they vote. They vote to extinguish choice, then to extinguish funding for every possible service that might give that child a chance for an empowered life.
When James Brady was President Reagan’s press secretary, he was, by all counts, in lockstep with Reagan’s pro-gun, pro-NRA stance. Then James Brady got shot in the head, and guess what?. All of a sudden James Brady wants to make it more difficult to get guns, and particularly certain kinds of guns. Different story when it hits home.
If you’re a lawmaker and you don’t have the imagination, or the decency, to put yourself into the situation that the law you’re making addresses, you shouldn’t be a lawmaker. Imagine if Paul Ryan’s daughter Liza were to be brutally raped at say, the age of twelve by a violent schizophrenic or mentally ill psychopath. Should her twelve-year-old body not “have ways to shut that thing down” as his policy-lock-stepped friend Todd Akin believes it would, Paul and his wife would be in a pickle if the bill he sponsored becomes law. They would be required not only to force his twelve year old daughter to pile the trauma of carrying that child to term atop the original horrific trauma of the act, but then live in fear of the very real possibility that the donor’s DNA might run down the generational pike into the Ryan gene pool. If that didn’t change his perception – and his vote - I’d have less respect for him than I have now, which seems mathematically impossible.
If your philosophy trumps your humanity, you are not fit to be making laws for humanity.