|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
Animal Rights and Abortion
What a difficult and controversial issue abortion is! Having attended many major animal rights (AR) conferences, I have observed that this is an issue of controversy that few people in the AR movement wish to look in the face. But they must. Many people do not recognize the unborn child as possessing the same rights as the rest of us, yet, a study published in the May, 2003 issue of Psychological Science (2003;14:220- 224) reveals that fetal infants are able to recognize the voice of their own mother. "Compassion is the basis of morality." Schopenhauer (1788-1860) I cry for the cow and the calf, and the bull in the bullring, and the dog who is euthanized, and the rat who is burned in the name of science, and the squirrel shot by the young boy in the name of sport, and the coyote who is anally electrocuted so that her fur can adorn a parka. In past presidential and congressional elections, 'abortion' has often been a defining litmus test separating one politician's moral and ethical leaning from another. Scientific studies have demonstrated that the growing human fetus feels pain and learns about an external environment while within. The fetus recognizes songs and voices. The brain works, the heart beats, pain receptors feel. How much compassion do animal rights activists emote for sentient human infants, not yet born? The majority look the other way, avoiding the issue as if it does not exist. AR activists protest pain to laboratory rats, but support a woman's right to an abortion. Some demand that meat eaters acknowledge the horrors of slaughterhouse films, or vivisection, or bullfighting. Yet, they turn a deaf ear and firmly shut a blind eye to the conscious being who grows within the human mother. What is the nature of this horror that they support? The mechanism of abortion-induced death is usually poisoning, with instant development of painful edema, congestion, hemorrhage, shock, and then death for the unfortunate and defenseless human infant. Some abortions require the live dismemberment of the baby with surgical pliers which rip apart the living human with no pain killer for the baby. The doctor inserts the killing tool into the uterus, grabs an arm or a leg or the skull and, savagely tears it from the baby's body. No animal researcher exhibits such cruelty, such lack of compassion to his or her experimental subject. This methodology is repeated until all limbs and body parts are removed. The skull must be crushed, and the spine broken into many pieces for easy removal. Each year, one thousand or more animal rights supporters gather near Washington, D.C. for their annual convention. The majority of these activists are women. As a matter of fact, there would be no animal rights movement without the gentler sex, who seem to possess a spirituality and wisdom that their male counterparts lack. Most of these passionate women also support the rights of women. That's a natural. More than one female author has paralleled the abuse and struggles of animals to the sexual politics and multiple indignities suffered by women at the hands of a male-oriented society. Is abortion murder? Of course it is. It is more than just murder. It is death without compassion, for the living creature, not yet named, possesses pain receptors, and is aware of his or her own suffering. In defense of their ignorance, some animal rights activists argue that the fetus feels no pain, much the same way that animal abusers use the very same argument to defend vivisection, sport, or the consumption of sentient farm animals. As an animal rights activist, I am faced with an enormous dilemma. Do I call abortion anything else than murder? I cannot rationalize murder, for that is exactly what it is. Murder, without regard for the human who will die in great pain. Abortion is murder. Do I continue to support a woman's right to murder her own fetus? That is a question I must ask myself, over and over again, for that is exactly what I have done for the past 40 years of my life. I must come to terms with the hypocrite that I myself have been. Unlike many others who rationalize that the fetus is still unborn, and deserves no rights, I must call the act what it is, and look at death and torture squarely in its most horrible face. I challenge all animal rights advocates to come to terms with this controversial issue which contradicts that spark of compassion which should be extended to all living creatures.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dairy Education Board
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