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Not Even Close

In his book, Abortion, the Bible and the Church, T.J. Bosgra documents the differing views on abortion of many different Christian denominations...

...a surprising number are pro-choice!

One Christian clergyman tries to point out the hypocrisy of allowing for abortion on demand:

The federal government imposes a $5,000 fine for anyone destroying a fertilized bald eagle egg, but the killing of unborn humans is not a crime.

Pro-life student John Morrow of Rutgers University in New Jersey brought up this point when debating pro-choice liberals (who dominated the discussion) on USENET in the late '80s.

John, a Star Trek fan, also brought up the Star Trek episode (from the original series), The Devil in the Dark, which dealt with humans on another world killing off an entire alien race by unknowingly destroying their eggs.

In 1993, while on my way to a Feminists For Life meeting, I pointed out that contraception differs from abortion, because sperm and unfertilized egg have the same genetic code as the male and female respectively: like saliva or other bodily excretions...

whereas a newly fertilized zygote has its own unique genetic code.

There is no environment anywhere in which a sperm cell or an unfertilized egg could be placed in and made to grow into an adult human.

Doing so would be as absurd as placing a nonfertile egg into an incubator and expecting a chicken to hatch!

My friend Ruth, a Catholic, liked the analogy, as did Jim and Liza Frey of Berkeley Pro-Life (Catholic and Orthodox Christians respectively) nearly a decade later.

This proves what 19th century agnostic Robert Ingersoll said: that Americans had come to believe in the periodic table of elements over anything in the Bible (or their church)!

In the fall of 1986 on USENET, John Morrow compared discrimination against the unborn to slavery: Roe v. Wade denied rights to an entire class of humans based on an arbitrary criterion, age and developmental status, just as the Dred Scott decision of 1857 upheld human slavery by denying rights to an entire class of humans based on an arbitrary criterion like skin color.

Dave Butler of Tektronix in Oregon immediately responded:

"Abortion and slavery? Not even close! A fetus isn't human. If you believe it's wrong to eat meat, should your morality be imposed upon everyone else?"

... "I would say yes, because animals have rights," responded my friend Al Fecko, a Catholic vegetarian in Michigan, over a decade later, adding, "I would then ask what this has to do with killing a child that's about to be born (referring to partial-birth abortions)."

We were discussing the slogan "not even close" on an email list for pro-life vegetarians and vegans in the '90s (debunking the Republican lie that animal activists are all pro-choice).

Rose Evans, editor and publisher of Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, a "consistent-ethic" periodical on the religious left, said "not even close" reminded her of the pro-choice slogan, "Against abortion? Don't have one!"

Rose said in each case, there's a victim, and we are speaking out on behalf of the victims.

Pro-life feminist Mary Krane Derr (1963 - 2012), who credited me with having caused her to become a vegetarian, responded to "not even close" with "too close for comfort!"

In the summer of 1998, when I first met Rachel MacNair, vegan, Quaker pacifist, moderator of the email list for pro-life vegetarians and vegans, and a grad student in psychology at the time (she's now a professor, and author of several books on nonviolence), I brought up the slogan "not even close."

Rachel at first didn't seem to be familiar with the slogan. She began by saying animal activists are asked by other progressives, "You do support a woman's right to abortion, don't you?"

(Wwhich wouldn't arise as a question, unless people are already aware of the obvious similarities between these two causes: in each case extending rights to an excluded class of beings.)

And pro-life liberals could make a real difference here by showing other progressives that it's possible to oppose abortion without being a right-winger, a religious fanatic, etc... That protecting the unborn is also a progressive cause, politically correct, etc.

Then, Rachel said that "not even close" is preferable to some pro-lifers saying, "Okay, it's human. So what? We don't care."

(Like anti-abortionists resisting animal rights by saying, "We don't care." When you're loyal to both causes, you immediately see the obvious similarities!)

But if pro-lifers can resist secular arguments to protect animals on religious grounds and/or merely saying, "We don't care"...

...can't pro-choicers do likewise with the unborn?

Can't religious denominations which prohibit birth control likewise resist secular arguments in favor of birth control on religious grounds, or does the secular (like the periodic table of elements!) overrule the sacred?

"Not even close" is a radical pro-choice slogan. It says the unborn may be killed by the billions for the same trivial reasons we now kill animals.

Unless you're arguing (like myself) that animals have the right to life, too!

At best, "Not even close" is a kind of stalemate. It says you've got these two causes that are equally ridiculous...

...or equally legitimate? Like the movements for women's rights and civil rights in the 19th and 20th centuries?

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