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Banning Life Jackets and Abortions

Written By: Travis Buhler  |  Posted: Monday, September 3rd, 2012

                Making its way around the social media internets is a cute picture of a child wearing a life jacket on a dock over a beautiful mountain lake.  Beside the child runs the headline, "We Should Ban Life Jackets".  My cousin, who volunteers for the Peace Corps, posted this as a way to illustrate why it is foolish to ban abortion.

Ban Life Jackets

                Let me explain this illustration.  "Life jackets and other flotation devices" represent abortion and probably other family planning devices.  Banning life jackets is like pro-lifers who want to ban abortions.

                "Total abstinence from going in the water" represents those who advocate that parents, schools, and other sources of knowledge should teach abstinence from marital relations until marriage.  The poster likens them to forbidding children from enjoying the water.

                Below the picture is a paragraph stating that no life-saving procedure should be used to stop a drowning since water and boating activities are inherently dangerous and those who drown should accept the consequences.  This refers to those who think abortion is murder and should not be allowed.  The comparison is summarized in the poster by the phrase, "you should see drowning as a gift", which compares an unborn baby to drowning.

                Finally, the last statement compares pregnancy resulting from rape to drowning resulting from being pushed into the lake.  It plays off of Rep. Akin's remarks concerning the apparent ability for a woman to resist conception after a legitimate rape by stating that the body is able "to shut out all the water and survive the drowning."

                I resisted the urge to respond to the posting directly; this has resulted in the needless rifts which commonly occurs on social media sites.  Instead I will use this poster as a way to help the reader refute many of the arguments that their wayward relatives may throw their way (just don't do the arguing on Facebook, they won't listen to you.)

                First, abortion advocates often compare unwanted pregnancies to something akin to drowning.  Even our president called it a punishment.  They say this because in many ways they are right.  Any child conceived outside of wedlock is a huge disruption both in the woman's life and in the child's life.  It is out of natural order and it often becomes a stumbling block for social and financial progress in both of their lives.  Pro-lifers need to admit this.

                But just as murder should not be the way out of a bad relationship or a bad business deal, so also murder should not be the way out of an unwanted pregnancy.

                Second, the age-old fun of swimming and boating cannot be compared to the age-old sin of fornication.  There are many activities that are slightly dangerous but not sinful, like boating, hunting, or driving.  The poster is right in its assumption that it is folly to ban such activities.  But it ignores the real consequences of a lifestyle that includes fornication.  Just because a large number of people, young and old, play around with what is reserved for a husband and wife, doesn't make it comparable to a trip out on a lake.

                And while drowning is sadly an unintended and rare result of boating or swimming, pregnancy IS one of the intended results of the alluded activity, whether one knew it or not.  Without getting explicit, it's just simple biology.

                Life jackets promote a wonderful thing.  Abortion promotes the opposite - and it is murder.

                Third, the poster, like many, advocates that because pregnancy is a bad result of fornication, that this country should not ban abortions or (if the poster is alluding to this) end government funding of abortion and other birth control devices.  To ban abortions or to end such funding is alluded to as being anti-woman - letting them drown.

                What this poster is presenting is that there is only two choices; either you love women and will allow government funding of abortions and birth control, or you hate women and want to ban abortions and birth control.  This allows for no middle room.  While abortion should be banned regardless, loving women does not necessitate that we should rob taxpayers in order to pay for a fornication lifestyle.  This country is already paying for the consequences; the government should stop promoting it.

                Fourth, what about Rep. Akin's comment about a woman's ability to "shut that whole thing down"?  Honestly I have never heard of such a statement.  It is interesting that there is little debate in the media on whether he was right or wrong in his statement.  Nevertheless, pregnancy can result from rape.

                One scientific study that abortion advocates cite is the Medical University of South Carolina study, "Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women."  Here is the abstract's summary:

                "The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion. [Emphasis mine]"

                If I had the $30 to spare and bought the right to read the study, I would like to find out how many of the cases were from a violent confrontation verses a consensual relationship between a young adult male and an underage female.  The later is considered rape.  Did the study consider this rape?  I am not saying this is okay and isn't rape, but if an adult man and an underage woman continue to fornicate, there is a good chance pregnancy will result.  And when it results, the courts can consider it rape despite it being consensual.  Should these be included in the 32,000 pregnancies resulting from rape?  Should the child be aborted in such cases?

                It also should be noted that only 11.7% of those pregnant as a result of rape sought medical attention.  Assuming that medical attention is required when a woman declares herself raped, why is the percentage so low?  Is it because rape is such a tragic thing that women are afraid to report it; or is it because the pool that was surveyed weren't victims of violent rape.

                Yes, rape is rape.  I know I am treading on dangerous ground here.  My point is that the number thrown out by this survey can be questioned.  Whether the number is true or not, the child should not be punished for reminding the woman of being raped. 

                As many on the left will continue to take advantage of the apparent conservative "war on women", it is good to be prepared to answer their objections.

                Travis Buhler is the Editor of the US Journal and the Eau Claire Journal.  Email:

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