This is a “public domain” document.
Most of the items on this list were extracted from the main “Refutations” document (see it for the full details, including links to evidence supporting the statements that were basically copied to here and edited for this little document). More items may be added to this list in the future (possibly causing some re-ordering/re-numbering). Not every abortion opponent exhibits all of the hypocrisies listed here. But all of them do exhibit at least one of these….
These first hypocrisies relate to the physical activities of unborn humans, after pregnancy formally begins –not with conception, but with the implantation of a blastocyst into a womb, and the formation of the placenta– because blood tests for pregnancy can only detect implanted organisms, not fertilized ova. (Also, since about 50% of conceptions fail to result in womb-implantation, mostly because of defective DNA, it is silly to think that pregnancy begins with conception. Implantations that don’t happen are generally not called “miscarriages”!)
Implantation happens because the “modus operandi” for survival/growth includes the actions of stealing nutrients from, and dumping toxic biowastes into, another human’s body. Plus the unborn human organism also infuses addictive and mind-altering substances into another human’s body (the first to make that human like being pregnant, and the second to promote a psychological bond –the reason why you don’t get between a mama bear and her cubs).
Those actions are consequences of “biological programming” in an animal’s DNA. It is as automatic and mechanically mindless as a loom programmed to weave cloth in a particular pattern –or a mosquito detecting warmth as part of how it locates a source of blood to steal.
1. If an adult human did any of those actions to another human, the word “assault” would apply. (Not every type of assault is violent; look up “Chinese Water Torture” sometime!) It is Hypocrisy to claim that the word “assault” cannot possibly apply when those actions are done by an unborn human.
2. The Law makes a distinction between adult and juvenile criminals; juveniles are given some leniency because they supposedly don’t fully understand the magnitude/extent of their crimes. Abortion opponents note that unborn humans have no understanding at all of what they are doing —they are exactly/only animals, like mosquitoes we swat without hardly thinking about it. Yet abortion opponents still claim unborn humans should be treated like persons, despite knowing they act purely like mere animals. The Hypocrisy is, abortion opponents cannot have it both ways.
3. “The Law of the Jungle” is basically the same thing as the faulty philosophy that “might makes right”. Opponents of abortion point out that the procedure definitely involves “might”, while Hypocritically ignoring the drug-infusing actions of the unborn. Why is it only OK for them to act in accordance with the Law of the Jungle?
4. The phrase “natural mindless biology” can be applied to many things, such as a mosquito seeking blood, or a virus invading a cell, or arterial plaque causing a heart attack. Humans with Free Will have basically declared that we are not slaves to natural mindless biology, that we can swat mosquitoes and devise immunizations and do corrective surgeries, and more. It is Hypocrisy to make any claim to the effect that we must be slaves to the natural mindless biology of the reproductive process.
This next group of hypocrisies relate to the word “potential”. An unborn human animal organism certainly has potential to become more than that, but it isn’t always fulfilled (else miscarriages would never happen). A key fact is that this potential cannot be fulfilled without help. An ovum fertilized in a Fallopian Tube does not reach the womb by itself; there are structures in the tube that actively push it there. Birth itself generally does not occur without the active assistance of, and “pushing” by, the mother’s body.
5. Once the word “potential” is invoked, the magnitude of potential becomes irrelevant. So, if a zygote, a single human cell with complete DNA, qualifies as a potential person, so does a human white blood cell, and a typical human muscle cell, and so on. The only difference between such cells is the magnitude of help needed, for their potential to become fulfilled. It is Hypocrisy to claim that we must help the zygote achieve its potential to grow into a complete human body, while we needn’t do anything about helping a white blood cell accomplish the same thing (something stem-cell researchers will be able to do in the not-distant future).
6. Abortion opponents sometimes claim that because an unborn human has the potential to become a person, it must be treated right now like an actual person. The Hypocrisy here is, in no other case does a similar situation apply! For example, abortion opponents themselves are potential corpses (just wait enough centuries, and see!) –does that mean they should be treated right now like actual corpses? Or, abortion opponents are potential million-dollar-lottery winners –does that mean they should be taxed by the IRS right now, like actual lottery winners?
7. When an abortion opponent concludes that abortion is OK to save a woman’s life from a pregnancy gone horribly wrong, one rationale is, the unborn human only qualifies as a potential person, but the woman is an actual person. The Hypocrisy here is, why doesn’t the abortion opponent recognize that the unborn human is only a potential person, a mere animal organism, during any other pregnancy?
A pair of hypocrisies associated with “valuation”:
8. One anti-abortion argument states, “Abortion devalues women.” But this goes directly against the typical (though faulty) claim that “human life has intrinsic value”. An “intrinsic” property is something that cannot be changed! So, the Hypocrisy here is in the inconsistency between the standard claim about “intrinsic value”, and any argument that claims devaluation is possible. (Basically, abortion opponents would be better off to simply drop the faulty claim that human life has intrinsic value –because it doesn’t.)
9. Since Intrinsic Value does not exist, unborn humans have zero Intrinsic/Objective Value. However, they can and do have Subjective/Relative Value. The entire economic system of the world has been dissociated from the notion of Intrinsic Value (also known as “the gold standard”), and it basically works fine. Owners of property can assign whatever Subjective valuations they want to their property. If they want to sell, they need to reach a compromise with others’ Subjective valuations of their property. But they don’t have to sell; they are free to destroy their property if they choose. Well, an unborn human is certainly the property of at least one parent (the mother), and for her to seek an abortion is basically a result of her Subjectively assigning a low or even negative Valuation to that unborn human. But abortion opponents Subjectively assign an arbitrary high value to unborn humans, and think they have some kind of right to force others to accept that valuation. The Hypocrisy is, in no other situation do they think that way.
Some hypocrisies relating to “personhood”:
10. Abortion opponents are fond of referring to Science data when it is related to the question of “when does a human life begin?”. Well, Science has investigated many more things than “human life”, and one of them is “personhood”. For example, it has been discovered that one characteristic of persons, which distinguishes them from most ordinary animals, is that persons are self-aware, such that they can recognize themselves in a mirror. It also happens that humans don’t pass that “mirror test” or any other scientific personhood test until well after birth, so it obviously/logically follows that unborn humans cannot qualify as persons. But abortion opponents refuse to accept Science in this case; they exhibit Hypocrisy in insisting that a dictionary definition of “person” must be used, which is derived from centuries of “common usage”, as if “what everybody knows” must be Objective Truth (like, once upon a time “everybody knew the Earth was flat”, right?).
11. When “personhood” is defined in terms of Testable abilities, abortion opponents exhibit Hypocrisy in claiming that functions associated with personhood must always be exhibited, while they make no such claims about, for example, professional piano players, professional boxers, professional electricians, and so on. Basically, “Functionalism” is only necessary to identify a member of a class. Once identified, membership in the class doesn’t change just because, for example, a professional plumber is taking a nap or a lunch break.
12. Abortion opponents, in their quest to get the practice banned, are in-effect exhibiting a desire to convert unwilling persons, pregnant human women seeking abortions, into nothing more than functioning life-support systems for non-persons, mere animal organisms. Three different “levels” of Functionality are relevant here. Highest is the person-class functionality of the pregnant woman. Next is the animal-level functionality of the unborn human. And lowest is the machine-level functionality of a life-support system. The Hypocrisy is in the demoting of the woman to below the animal-level, while such demotion of a person would not be tolerated in any other circumstance.
13. Abortion opponents sometimes specify characteristics for personhood that plenty of ordinary animals can match. For example, an unborn human old enough to “kick” in the womb might be claimed to move around “at will”, which implies it has conciousness/awareness and some sort of mind. However, consider a praying mantis (the insect) –it has non-faceted eyes and steroscopic vision, and enough consciousness, mind and “will” to move around quite adequately to catch other insects for its dinner. If a human qualifies as a person according to those characteristics, shouldn’t a praying mantis also qualify? Many ordinary animals have those characteristics, yet an abortion opponent might Hypocritically say that since unborn humans have them, unborn humans qualify as persons, while completely ignoring all those other animals. The Fact is, unborn humans have animal-level minds, completely consistent with their existence as only mere animal organisms. Person-class minds have abilities that ordinary animals simply can’t match (like, for example, the ability to imagine self in the situation of another).
This next hypocrisy partially connects the preceding group to one that had been in the “miscellaneous” group:
14. The phrase “stage of development” is popular with abortion opponents. They seem to think it doesn’t matter. But they need to think again!
When two butterflies produce a fertilized egg, it is just that, a fertilized egg. So far as I know, there is no-one insisting that it should be called a “butterfly”.
When two human persons produce a fertilized egg, contained inside a woman, it is just that, a fertilized egg, having the special name of “zygote”. Over here in the midst of the Overall Abortion Debate, lots of folks insist that it should be called a “person”.
The butterfly egg is a shell that contains a developing life-form. When that life-form emerges it is called a “caterpillar”. But there is no-one insisting that it should be called a butterfly.
A human zygote spends some time developing inside a kind-of shell known as the “zona pellucida”. When that life-form emerges it is called a “blastocyst”. Over here in the midst of the Overall Abortion Debate, lots of folks insist that it should be called a person.
The caterpillar goes through some growth stages that can be distinguished from each other by a “molting event“. The result isn’t so obviously different from before, that other specialized names have been needed, so it is still called a caterpillar. But there is still no-one insisting that it should be called a butterfly.
A human blastocyst is a mass of unspecialized cells, and it goes through a growth stage in which those cells specialize to form specific body-parts (like legs) and organs (like intestines). The result is significantly different, physically, and so it is called an “embryo”. Over here in the midst of the Overall Abortion Debate, lots of folks insist that it should be called a person.
Eventually the caterpillar goes through a very specialized development stage, for which it prepares by creating a cocoon. During this stage it is called a “pupa”. But there is still no-one insisting that it should be called a butterfly.
After a human embryo more-or-less finishes the process of converting unspecialized cells into specialized cells, all the different body-parts need to develop into their final forms. During this time the human entity is called a “fetus”. Over here in the midst of the Overall Abortion Debate, lots of folks insist that it should be called a person.
Finally the pupa emerges from its container, and now everyone calls it a butterfly.
Finally a human fetus emerges from its container, and now everyone calls it a person.
What was that so-called “rationale” by which abortion opponents insist that the stage of development doesn’t matter? It is pure Hypocrisy to insist that humans at every early stage must be called persons, while never insisting that various eggs, caterpillars and pupae must be called butterflies.
14.5. This hypocrisy is so closely related to the preceding one that it doesn’t deserve to be assigned the next whole number. Basically, after womb-implantation a blastocyst sometimes fails to develop into an embryo; it instead becomes something known as a “hydatidiform mole”. It is still a 100% human entity, and it is still a living thing with its own unique human DNA, but not even abortion opponents will call it a person. This means that abortion opponents are perfectly willing to say that a person can become a non-person simply as a result of the totally Natural expression of human DNA! But why should the flawed expression of human DNA be a rationale for claiming a human entity is a non-person? Isn’t it obvious that such an attitude can lead to declaring all sorts of Naturally physically handicapped humans, because of genetic flaws, to be non-persons? Therefore this hypocrisy proves that abortion opponents are totally wrong to claim that just because something is human, it also automatically qualifies as a person!
15. Consider how people quite-easily use various words to describe a longish list of physical differences between different humans, such as “male”, “female”, “brunette”, “blonde”, “athletic”, “chubby”, “long-haired”, “bald”, “white”, “black”, “paraplegic”, “quadriplegic”, “healthy”, “ill”, “agile”, “arthritic”, and so on. Well, an unborn human is physically associated with a unique vital organ, the placenta, while a post-natal human is not. And there is more; the post-natal human acquires bacterial symbiotes, essential for that human’s survival, to the extent that about 90% of all cells in the “human” body are actually bacterial –while the prenatal human, inside the protection of the amniotic sac, basically consists 100% of human cells. Then there is the “modus operandi” of survival –the unborn human TAKES what it needs to survive, while a newborn is incapable of taking anything other than breaths of air; it can only survive by receiving gifts. So, in light of those differences between pre-natal and post-natal humans, we do have some appropriate words to distinguish the two: “fetus” for the unborn human, and “baby” or “child” or “infant” for the post-natal human. Abortion opponents exhibit Hypocrisy in freely using all those other physical-distinction words, while almost exclusively calling an unborn human a “baby” or “child”, refusing to acknowledge very real differences.
Miscellaneous unrelated hypocrisies:
16. If a man deserves to be a father, it won’t be because he helped at the start of a pregnancy; it will be because he will be there to more-than-help, he will be there in a major supporting role, for many years afterward —and he will have found some ethical way to convince a pregnant woman of that (one example: marriage). Yet abortion opponents often Hypocritically focus only on the woman, and not on the man, whose behavior is often a major factor in why a woman seeks an abortion.
17. Opponents of Welfare tend to say, “If you want something, you should pay for it, not my taxes.” Well, abortion opponents want births to occur, so it logically follows that it is the abortion opponents who should be made to pay for that –and pay for the prenatal care, and pay all the child-raising costs, too. Some few are actually willing to put their money where their mouths are; the rest are just Hypocrites, unwilling to put their money where their mouths are.
18. Abortion opponents claim that “human life” is important enough to receive significant help, such as by banning abortion. Well, it happens that Minimum Wage Laws exist to ensure that the lives of human workers are helped enough to be able to survive to keep working –but many “political conservatives” who oppose abortion also and Hypocritically oppose Minimum Wage Laws.
19. Abortion opponents express outrage over any “choice” that would include killing an unborn human animal organism. Well, they have the right to choose to be outraged. That does not translate as a right to force others to act in a manner that would diminish the outrage –expressing outrage is a standard psychological trick to manipulate people, and others can play that game! To the extent that abortion opponents ignore the outrage of others –over, perhaps, the slavery they wish to impose on pregnant women who don’t want to be pregnant– while thinking their own outrage must lead to others acting in accordance with what they, the abortion opponents, want, that is an extent to which abortion opponents exhibit Hypocrisy.
20. As a particular example of a somewhat generic situation, consider a pharmacist and the drug “RU-486”, which can cause an early-stage pregnancy to terminate (be aborted). This drug is legal in only some countries, but abortion opponents appear to exist in all countries. So, a pharmacist who is an abortion opponent might attempt to refuse to sell that drug, even where it is legal. The Hypocrisy here is, abortion opponents think they have some kind of right to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, but nobody should have any right to force them to sell things like RU-486.
21. A study of hypothetical cases is a way to follow the Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared!” –in this case, to become mentally prepared. So, most folks agree it is OK for the military to think about hypothetical cases –sometimes including “wild” cases, like “an extraterrestrial alien invasion”. It is also OK for business to think about hypothetical cases –sometimes including “wild” ones, like “meteor destroys business headquarters; can we stay in business after that?”. And it is OK for governments to think about hypothetical cases –sometimes including “wild” ones, like “should True Artificial Intelligences have the right to not be arbitrarily turned off?” Even firefighters sometimes think about “wild” hypothetical cases –like “a terrorist nuclear explosion has started a firestorm”. Well, abortion opponents exhibit Hypocrisy when they oppose introducing “wild” hypothetical cases into the Overall Abortion Debate –like “if an intelligent species exists somewhere in the Universe that uses the ‘R-strategy’ of reproduction, every sexually active adult having 10,000 offspring at a time, what are the consequences for an Objective Generic Universally Applicable definition of ‘person’?”
22. Sometimes a woman who opposes abortion will herself obtain an abortion. To the extent that any of them continue to oppose abortion afterward, they exhibit Hypocrisy.
23. There are various pro-choice arguments which happen to deny certain facts. An example is, “the embryo isn’t a human”. Except it really is a 100% human entity. Well, abortion opponents complain about such Denial Of Fact –yet they themselves Deny Other Facts (such as when they claim that an Objective definition of “person” need not take into consideration the hypothetical existence of extraterrestrial intelligent alien beings, or the probable future existence of True Artificial Intelligences, or even the ever-growing data favoring dolphins qualifying as persons) –and therefore abortion opponents exhibit Hypocrisy.
24. A great many anti-abortion postings on the Internet talk about how slavery was once considered OK by the majority, and how the majority was wrong. It is intended to be an analogy for the claim that abortion is wrong, and that the majority should admit it. However, in order to illegalize abortion, it is necessary to legalize slavery of women who don’t want to be pregnant (and, worse than historical slavery, make them slaves to mere-animal organisms)! In talking about the wrongness of slavery, but seeking to implement it, abortion opponents want it both ways, and therefore are hypocrites.
25. This particular hypocrisy only applies to abortion opponents who invoke Religious arguments. It is a Standard Religious Claim that humans are inherently superior to ordinary animals, sometimes to the extent that they deny humans are indeed members of the Animal Kingdom. Nevertheless, with respect to human reproduction, those abortion opponents claim that humans are exactly like ordinary animals, that “The primary purpose of sex is reproduction!” –and therefore when humans indulge in sex, they must accept the consequence of mindlessly breeding like ordinary animals. Not only is that combination of claims hypocritical, the second claim is actually wrong two different ways. First, when ordinary animals have sex, they typically only do it when reproduction is possible, while humans are free to indulge in sex at any time, even though reproduction is possible only part of the time. Second, for humans the primary purpose of sex is “pair bonding”, not reproduction, and that is a logical consequence of the fact that human infants are totally helpless, even though infants of most other animals are quite capable of doing things within minutes, up to an hour or so, after birth/hatching. Human infants need so much care that in order for them to have a good chance of surviving, both parents need to help, not just one. And a woman’s bestowing of sexual favors upon a particular man tends to keep that man around, to help raise offspring.