I was going to start by saying that if you want to have a rational debate on abortion, you cannot open by drawing bizarre connections between unrelated issues, but then I realized that very few people actually want to have rational debates. Rational debates are hard. They force you to closely examine your beliefs and to answer some very hard questions, and who wants that? It’s much easier to become emotionally invested in a narrowly-defined set of beliefs and to refuse to budge no matter what. That’s why the abortion problem has been so intractable, and why the only way for either side to gain ground is to wield political power.
So what is the purpose of this meme? It certainly won’t convince anybody who believes that a woman should have the right to control her own reproductive organs. I think this meme – and others like it – are really about stroking the self-confidence of anybody who already agrees. Preaching to the choir, if you will. You just know that a Pro-Lifer will see this meme, get a good chuckle out of it, then use it in his next online tirade against the uninformed Pro-Choice horde. Well, in case any Pro-Lifers are reading this, allow me to explain exactly why you shouldn’t use this meme as part of a debate.
First let’s examine the facts of the matter. Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, it is illegal to kill, disturb, harass, solicit, or make prank phone calls to a Bald or Golden Eagle without special permission from Uncle Sam. The same goes for their nests, eggs, droppings, and any clouds they happen to fly through. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but not by much. You don’t want to mess with the eagles, lord no. Failure to respect the eagles carries a stiff civil penalty of $5000 or $10,000 with a year or two in the clink. A felony conviction can net an even higher fine: up to $250,000. If you happen to be part of an organization (the Eco-Villains from Captain Planet and the Planeteers, for example), you can be fined up to $500,000.
So that part is true. The second part starts to blur the lines between objective truth, personal opinions, and outright lies.
First: I examined a few pictures of embryos at the seven-week mark, and none of them appeared quite this developed. The picture in this meme is more reminiscent of an embryo at the nine-week mark, but I’m not going to argue for long because I’m not a doctor.
Second: One of the major focal points of the whole abortion debate has been whether a first-trimester fetus counts as a human being at all. By labeling it as human, you’re committing a logical fallacy called begging the question. Begging the question is when you assume that the conclusion of an argument is true and use it as one of your premises. It’s somewhat similar to circular reasoning.
Third: FactCheck.org explains that by law, neither federal Title X money nor federal Medicaid money can be used to fund abortions. Each state decides whether its own Medicaid money can be used to cover abortions, and under what conditions. Look here to find a list of states that provide Medicaid funds to cover abortions: if you disagree with your state’s position, feel free to move someplace more conservative. But know this: It is at best ignorant and at worst dishonest to claim that “taxpayer money funds abortion providers”, as if every woman who cannot support a baby can apply for and receive government assistance to pay for the abortion.
There’s one more point to make in this case: when a human destroys an eagle’s eggs, the eagle has no choice in the matter. An adult woman does. That’s what Pro-Choicers are fighting to protect.