Responses to Abortion Memes

Promoting Life in a Culture of Death

As I wrote in my last article, the culture war surrounding abortion has heated up.

One of the things that I’ve noted is new and strange memes that the pro-abortion side has unleashed. A meme is an idea that gets passed along to individuals in our culture by coming into contact with it. Most of the memes that people are familiar with are pictures like “Grumpy Cat” or “Overly Attached Girlfriend.” But memes can also be slogans that get filtered through social media.

Over the last few weeks, with more and more states passing stronger restrictions to abortion, these memes have been saturating the internet. I have noticed them filtering down into the classroom setting with students bringing them up in class.

In this article, I will go over the most popular ones I have seen and I will refute them. Please keep in mind, most of the people who use these slogans are not arguing from reason. No matter how logical your arguments are, chances are you will not be able to change their minds.

So why bother? My experience tells me that while the person spreading this meme is closed-minded, many people who are listening to the discussion or observing on social media are open-minded. The refutations are for the rational, not the irrational.

“YOU WANT TO FORCE RAPE VICTIMS TO BE PREGNANT”

This is one is the only meme that has any weight to it, because it deals with a very serious emotional and moral dilemma. I dealt with the pro-life side of the argument in my last article. But this meme is meant to shame pro-lifers into shutting up so that they don’t further injure the survivor of a terrible crime.

But this meme is a complete distraction. As March For Life speaker Ben Shapiro pointed out, going to the extreme case makes no sense if the common case is still in dispute. If someone sends out this meme, respond by asking, “So you are against abortion in all other cases besides rape and incest?” They will most likely respond, “No!”

“Well,” you should reply, “Why in the world are we talking about the extreme cases! If abortion should be legal in all circumstances, then the extreme case doesn’t matter. It is only when we get to a place where all other abortions are illegal that cases of rape and incest should even be an issue.”

“THE FETUS IS A PARASITE”

This one is particularly noxious because of how self-satisfied the memers present themselves, as if they have come up with a devastating, unanswerable analogy. A professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine recently compared the fetus to an invading parasite that feeds off of the host. I read one meme on Twitter that said something akin to this: “If you get a tapeworm, remember that tapeworm is alive and living off of your body just like a fetus, so if you are pro-life, it would be wrong to kill that tapeworm life.”

First, the fetus is human life. It is not a virus, germ, bacteria, or any other kind of life.

Second, the human body is designed to fight off parasites. A parasite invades the host and drains its life unnaturally. But the human body is designed for reproduction. Particularly, the woman’s body is designed to conceived, grow, and birth a child. Her body is not designed to take in, grow, and flourish a parasite. The parasite is foreign. The fetus is natural. It is true that there is strain on the woman’s body. But strain is not a sign that something is working against nature. If that were the case, no one would experience growing pains.

“IF ABORTION IS MURDER, THEN MASTURBATION IS MASS MURDER.”

This horribly irrational meme is rooted in the mistake that the fetus is just another part of the mother’s body. In the minds of the pro-abortion crowd, the fetus/embryo is a potential human person in the same way that the sperm and the egg are potential human persons. From their view, acknowledging the personhood of the fetus/embryo is as ridiculous as acknowledging the personhood of the sperm and egg. But everyone knows that treating the sperm as a human person is ridiculous, otherwise every act of masturbation would be the killing of countless human persons.

The failure of this meme is not in theology but in basic biology. The fact that the pro-abortion side cannot see the biological difference between the sperm and the egg shows a willful ignorance. The sperm cannot grow into a fully formed person. The egg cannot grow into a fully formed person. When the sperm and egg meet, they cease to be sperm and egg. They become an embryo which can grow into a fully formed person.

“IF GOVERNMENT OUTLAWS ABORTION, THEN MEN SHOULD BE FORCED TO HAVE VASECTOMIES”

Celebrities like Evan Rachel Wood have made statements like the above. She is making an analogy to reproductive autonomy. She sees these new laws as the government preventing women from a choice regarding having a child. She then analogizes to the government preventing men from a choice regarding having a child. This is, of course, a false analogy. The reason why is because after pregnancy, there is no choice regarding having a child. Once a woman is pregnant, there is a new human person. Whether that child lives or dies, the man and woman are forever a mother and a father. Wood analogizes legislating on abortion (killing the child after conception) and contraception (preventing the conception of the child at all). An appropriate analogy would be protesting a law that made it mandatory for women to have tubal ligations (i.e. having their “tubes tied”) and mandatory vasectomies for men. This would be an example of an appropriate analogy because both deal specifically with government mandating behavior to prevent conception.

As the abortion debate rages on and the voice of reason begins to overtake the irrational pro-abortion side, you are going to see more and more sloganizing spread by memes. Just remember that only ideas that are true will stand the test of time.

Copyright 2019, WL Grayson

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W.L. Grayson

W.L. Grayson

I am a devoutly Catholic theology teacher who loves a popular culture that often, quite frankly, hates me. I grew up absorbing every movie, TV show, comic book, science fiction novel, etc. I could find. As of today I’ve watched over 2100 movies and tv shows. They take up a huge part of my life. I don’t know that this is a good thing, but it has given me a common vocabulary to draw from in order to illustrate whatever theological point I make in class. I’ve used American Pie the song to explain the Book of Revelation (I’ll post on this some time later) and American Pie the movie to help explain Eucharist (don’t ask). The point is that the popular culture is popular for a reason. It is woven into the fabric of our lives and imaginations, for good or ill. In this blog I will attempt to bring together the things of heaven with the things of earth. Of course this goal may be too lofty for someone like me.

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