by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder
For the purposes of helping to further the cause of reasonable discussion on controversial issues, this particular article will be looking at abortion and climate change. With abortion, I'll be revisiting and adding commentary regarding the Abortion Debate between Kelsey Hazzard and Peggy Loonan hosted by The HEAL Report and reviewed in an earlier post found here: http://heal-online.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-abortion-debate.html. Regarding climate change, I'll be providing information on arguably deceptive marketing practices regarding the environmental benefits of available fuels for automobiles. It is my sincere hope that this commentary aids all reasonable people in having a thoughtful and productive discussion regarding how to resolve some of the issues raised when meeting with apparent adversaries or zealots.
In the Hazzard v. Loonan debate, I found both made some compelling arguments for each side of the abortion issue. However, I also found evidence of ignorance and/or intellectual dishonesty in regards to certain points made by both sides. I will leave it up to you to decide whether to give the benefit of the doubt and believe the issue was more with ignorance than intellectual dishonesty on the part of the debate participants.
Hazzard argued during the debate that animal welfare laws are stronger than the laws protecting the unborn. The issue here is that it is legal to kill animals for food, sport, and because they've become a nuisance or inconvenient in the United States. Even in the case of a healthy family pet, the owner can have the pet euthanized. And, that's a born animal. See: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/refusing-euthanize-healthy-pet Even if a vet refuses, the article shows that an owner can still legally take the pet to another vet to have their healthy but no longer convenient pet euthanized. In addition, another example is that dogs can be forcibly given abortions at the mercy of their owner's whims. See: https://breedingbusiness.com/dog-abortion/ So, both unborn and born animals are not better protected than unborn and born humans in the United States.
A question I would ask Pro Lifers is: Given the fact that natural spontaneous miscarriages occur and Vanishing Twin Syndrome exists, both which show nature sometimes aborts whether the mother wants it or not, why is it okay or accepted if unplanned and not okay if intentionally scheduled? (For information on Vanishing Twin Syndrome, see: http://americanpregnancy.org/multiples/vanishing-twin-syndrome/)
Loonan argued during the debate that fetal pain could not be proven and therefore was not something she considers when discussing abortion. She mentioned that they couldn't be asked if they feel pain so there is no way to know if they do without that confirmation. There were a few issues with this and one is that there are mute people, such as Helen Keller historically, that I believe all would agree was able to feel pain. So, being unable to verbalize a confirmation to such a question is not indicative or conclusive regarding whether pain is possible or actual. In addition, nonhuman animals cannot verbally be asked if they feel pain and respond, but, everyone would likely agree animals are capable of feeling pain even if unable to verbalize it. Regardless, the science shows that at 26 weeks a fetus can feel everything and they begin feeling at 23-25 weeks. So, I'm going with the scientific studies on this one and therefore fully support a ban on abortion after 24 weeks. I'd prefer it to be at 20-22 weeks just to be sure the fetus felt no pain as a result of the procedure, but, I think the 24 week ban is a compromise some seem to feel necessary. Source on Fetal Pain Studies: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1440624/
A question I would ask a Pro Choicer is: Would you support a ban, similar to the ban in the Netherlands, on abortions after 24 weeks gestation, knowing fetuses can feel pain as early as 23 weeks, sometimes sooner, but fully feel everything by 26 weeks gestation? (See original blog post linked in first paragraph above for source on Netherlands.)
I hope everyone enjoys those conversations. Now, the truth is that we have three options to fuel our motor vehicles right now. Those options are coal, fracked gas, and gasoline. The electric car is powered by coal. Hydrogen Fuel Cells are made with natural gas from fracking. Gasoline is from traditional oil drilling and refining. Coal is by far the dirtiest of the three options according to Obama's EPA. So, the electric car appears to be twice as bad for the environment as a traditional gas-powered car based on Co2 emissions of power source. Hydrogen Fuel Cells are made from natural gas and emit slightly less Co2 emissions in use than traditional gas when used. However, it becomes an issue on whether traditional drilling and gas is better or worse for the environment than fracked natural gas. Do you know? If not, maybe find a real solution to fueling cars and electricity rather than introducing alternatives while hyping claims that they are far more environmentally friendly than competitors. The electric car powered by coal, appears to be the most misleading but was sweet to think people just don't know where the electricity comes from even after the hit show "The Office".
Sources for Climate Change and Automobiles:
Hoping this is helpful to everyone in pursuing more thoughtful dialogue and more honest debate.