|By Larry Wonderling|
Special to the Tribune
When a debate focuses on only half of the argument, it's at best incomplete. That's my primary reason for responding to Cal Thomas's 5/22/13 article entitled "Gosnell Case Reignites Abortion Debate."
I've always enjoyed open debates relevant to differing points of view, provided they're not laced with exaggerations and faulty logic, presented as indisputable facts. As a refresher to Thomas's comments about the abortionist Kermit Gosnell, from what I've read, I agree that Gosnell was apparently a cruel, medically careless, insensitive individual with a criminal disregard for abortion laws or the legal rights of a viable embryo nearing a full term birth. I disagree, however, with Thomas's generalization that somehow all medically trained abortionists are criminals. That's comparable to concluding all police are sadists after witnessing on officer beat a helpless person senseless.
In his searing invective against abortions, Cal Thomas also adds one of his most misleading statements that "...It's the estimated 55 million children, and counting, who are denied their right to live." He also argues that a "woman's right to choose" subverts "a child's right to live." Thomas's arguments seem so imbued with personal opinions dramatized as facts, they tend to distort any logical debate.
In "my opinion" there is no verifiable evidence that a fetus or embryo is an independently functioning individual child until separated from the mother by birth or medically necessary surgery. Labeling all abortionists as murderers and that the right to life begins at conception are other faith-based opinions, not unarguable truths. Another of my opinions based on observations and studies throughout my professional life is the marked mental and physical differences in females and their resultant behaviors.
Similar to so many anti-abortionists, Thomas omits any concern for other highly relevant debate issues: Are all pregnant women mentally and physically ready to deliver and care for an infant? What were the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy? Will a child born to any mother have equal opportunities for reasonable care and development?
Research indicates that many females are incapable of caring for a potential child during pregnancy or after birth. The reasons are endless, including faulty genetic predisposition, family abuse, incest, rape, early teenage pregnancy, drugs, minimal intelligence, or stamina, even a pathological fear or anathema for child rearing.
Other observations might understandably be challenged in a genuine debate about the pregnant woman's sexual complicity, and the adoption alternative to abortion, etc. These are clearly debatable issues; and I would briefly suggest that any anti-abortionists carefully evaluate crude male sexual dominance, especially during early puberty years, and the complexities of adoptions.
Practically any heterosexual women will sooner or later lose her virginity to some loving guy or lecherous stud who won't take no for an answer. The pervasive high school sexual abuses by the athlete who thinks he's entitled to his sexual demands on swooning girls, the thousands of yearly female sexual abuses by our military men, and the incalculable rapes of women all tend to underscore a woman's vulnerable encounters with men that too often result in unwanted pregnancies.
Those obvious individual differences in women's mental and physical abilities, psychosocial opportunities, values, even religious beliefs strongly suggest that many women are simply incapable of wanting a child or motherhood. Giving birth to an unwanted infant by a drug addicted, lone woman from a sexually abusive, dysfunctional family too often is disastrous to any infant born and raised in such an abusive situation. I'm neither for nor against abortions. I'm simply for acknowledging obvious differences in women's abilities and willingness to become a caring, responsible mother.
I image we all have had a few memorable events in our lives that have somehow affected our personal biases. One of mine occurred over forty years ago as a graduate psychology student. It was during an anti-abortion protest at a Planned Parenthood clinic in San Francisco. Women were timidly trying to navigate through the screaming, banner-waving protestors when an ordinary looking young black lady was virtually blocked by a jeering white middle-aged woman who shoved a sign in the young woman's face that read in part "child killer." I felt sorry for this seemingly shy little lady until she opened her mouth. Screaming back at the protestor, her message was crisp and clear: "If you'll pay for all the needs of this baby in my belly until it's 18, and care for it whenever it has any problems, I'll turn around right now and go home. Otherwise get out of my face, b----!"
Dr. Wonderling is a retired clinical and forensic psychologist who has published eight books.