Writer laid out the dishonesty of pro-life zealots on Twitter
The topic of abortion is one of those issues that, like gun control, or where you stand on President Trump, has become so divisive that thinking rationally has taken a backseat to emotion and politics.
A writer on Twitter laid the situation bare with one simple question.
His name is Patrick S. Tomlinson, and he’s a science fiction writer. Last week, he took to Twitter to lay out the one question he’s been asking the “life begins at conception” contingent of anti-abortionists for ten years. In the decade he’s been asking it, he claims he’s never gotten a straight, or honest, answer.
Whenever abortion comes up, I have a question I've been asking for ten years now of the "Life begins at Conception" crowd. In ten years, no one has EVER answered it honestly. 1/
— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
It's a simple scenario with two outcomes. No one ever wants to pick one, because the correct answer destroys their argument. And there IS a correct answer, which is why the pro-life crowd hates the question. 2/— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
Here comes the question, and it’s a doozy. (It’s also pretty long, so Patrick is lucky to be taking advantage of Twitter’s beta version of the 280 character tweet!)
Here it is. You're in a fertility clinic. Why isn't important. The fire alarm goes off. You run for the exit. As you run down this hallway, you hear a child screaming from behind a door. You throw open the door and find a five-year-old child crying for help. 3/— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
They're in one corner of the room. In the other corner, you spot a frozen container labeled "1000 Viable Human Embryos." The smoke is rising. You start to choke. You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one. 4/— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
Do you A) save the child, or B) save the thousand embryos? There is no "C." "C" means you all die.— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
In a decade of arguing with anti-abortion people about the definition of human life, I have never gotten a single straight A or B answer to this question. And I never will. 5/
Patrick explains why the question is such a conundrum.
They will never answer honestly, because we all instinctively understand the right answer is "A." A human child is worth more than a thousand embryos. Or ten thousand. Or a million. Because they are not the same, not morally, not ethically, not biologically. 6/— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
He believes those who oppose abortion by claiming an embryo is the same thing as a human child have such a hard time answering because when they’re confronted with a scenario in which they are forced to compare the two things, any rational human being can see they aren’t the same. Anyone with a beating heart would save the living 5-year-old rather than those theoretical children.
But pro-lifers can’t admit it, for fear of acknowledging the lie behind their argument. And, Tomlinson suggests, because their end game isn’t to protect life, but to control women.
They are lying to you to try and evoke an emotional response, a paternal response, using false-equivalency.— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
No one believes life begins at conception. No one believes embryos are babies, or children. Those who cliam to are trying to manipulate you so they can control women. 8/
Patrick ends his nine-part thought experiment with an exhortation to readers to refute the “life begins at conception” fallacy and call those people out for what they are: misogynists.
Don't let them. Use this question to call them out. Reveal them for what they are. Demand they answer your question, and when they don't, slap that big ol' Scarlet P of the Patriarchy on them. The end. 9/9— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
Tomlinson’s series of tweets caught fire last week, and the original tweet has over 54,000 likes and 27,000 retweets. The abortion argument is not going away anytime soon, certainly not during the Trump administration.
He puts forth a provocative scenario designed to put pro-lifers in a difficult position. There is often more nuance to the abortion debate, there’s no denying that the writer’s question is an effective tool for outing those who are arguing based on emotion rather than logic.