My Progressive Facebook friends — and I have many because I’ve spent almost my entire life in the San Francisco Bay area — have a new meme that’s got them terribly excited. Here, in all its glory, is what Progressives think counts as intelligent argument both to support abortion rights and destroy Second Amendment rights:
Because I hate dense paragraphs — they’re very hard to address — let me break the above risible effort at logical argument down into its component parts:
Women who want to terminate a life (provided that life is within them, which is legal and known as abortion, as opposed to a life that is not within them, which is illegal and known as murder), must take all or some of the following steps, depending on their age and the state within which they live:
Wait 48 hours before proceeding with the requested abortion
Get permission from a parent if the female is under the legal age of consent.
Have a doctor’s note explaining that the doctor is intentionally carrying out an abortion.
Watch a video about the results of an abortion (i.e., a fetus will be vacuumed out of the womb or disassembled to remove it from the womb).
Have an ultrasound so that the woman sees the life she intends to abort.
Further, because some states do not like abortion, the woman opting to go ahead with the procedure might have to:
Travel a great distance to find an abortion provider.
Take time off of work to travel that distance (and, probably, to recover from the procedure).
Stay overnight in a strange town.
See strangers holding graphic pictures of what happens to the fetus she will abort, with the same strangers pleading with her not to act.
It’s unfair that women should have to suffer this information overload, inconvenience, and indignity to have an abortion. Therefore men who intend to buy a gun should be subject to the same level of inconvenience. Men should therefore suffer too. The rationale: “No woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?”
Where to begin?
First, let’s begin where all debates about rights should begin: With the Constitution. The Second Amendment establishes that every individual has the unalienable right to bear arms:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
In other words, as free human beings, we’re born with the right to keep and bear arms. It’s not something that federal or state governments can giveth or taketh away. It just is, and any limitations imposed upon that right must be minimal so as to preserve this core unalienable right to the greatest extent.
I would argue, incidentally, that gun licenses and most other state imposed limitations are antithetical to the right. They imply that the State grants us the right to arms. The opposite is true: The right to arms is inherent in each of us. That, however, is a a topic for another day. (For more arguments defending our Second Amendment rights, go here and here.)
The same constitutional clarity we find in the Second Amendment does not extend to the right to abortion. Thanks to an activist Supreme Court, abortion is an emanation of a penumbra of a right to privacy that is not explicitly stated in the Constitution but that is extrapolated from the explicit rights set forth therein. Given the fact that one has to wander through several layers of interpretation to get to that “right to an abortion,” it’s infinitely easier for the state to impose limitations on the act — a notion that the Roe v. Wade decision acknowledged, and that subsequent cases have stretched, but not destroyed.
Bottom line: the state has a greater interest in and power to regulate abortions than it does when it comes to gun purchases.
Second, we have to consider the nature of the two different acts. An abortion, by definition, terminates a fetus. While pro-abortion and pro-life people quibble as to when that fetus is a life (at conception? when it looks human? when it can survive outside the womb? when it’s actually born?), no one can contest the fact that the fetus has the potential to be a life — and, as the Supreme Court has consistently acknowledged, the State has an interest in each living person in its borders. Therefore, the State has an actionable interest in abortions.
This acknowledged State interest allows the State to enact laws protecting the nascent human life maturing in the woman. Those states that determine that life begins at conception, while yielding to the Supreme Court’s imperative that abortion is legal, will necessarily put into place more laws protecting the fetal life than those states that believe the life begins at some point after the infant is born.
The situation is quite different with a gun. Purchasing a gun, by definition, does nothing more than transfer ownership of the gun from one person or entity to another person. No lives are lost in the transaction. A gun may sit unused for decades, never having taken a life. Or it may take a life that was intent upon mass murder. Or it may take the life of someone who was intent upon murdering the person with the gun. Or it may be used in a crime, wrongfully taking one or more lives. But the main point is that the gun sales transaction, unlike the abortion, is life-neutral. No life is lost.
Put that way, it’s quite obvious that having an abortion and purchasing a gun are not comparable acts and therefore should not be subject to the same limitations.
Third, let’s look at the actual inconveniences imposed on women who want abortions and on men (and women) who buy guns. Keep in mind that the latter act is explicitly accorded the highest constitutional protection, while the former is allowed thanks to emanations and penumbras:
- Waiting periods for guns — already required;
- Limitations on age at which one can buy a gun — already required;
- Doctor’s note clarifying purchaser’s state of mind — technically required in the form of (apparently dysfunctional) databases that are supposed to track those who are dangerous;
- Videos about the damage that can result from guns — every single crime drama, action flick, or war movie on TV;
- Probe up the butt — yeah, it’s hard to find a comparable for that one;
- Extensive travel to a gun dealer — San Francisco’s last gun store was put out of business;
- Time off of work to buy a gun — That depends on whether your town has gun stores or on how much you want to go to that out-of-town gun show or dealership;
- Overnight stay in a strange town in order to buy a gun — see above;
- Getting assaulted by strangers haranguing you — think of every horrible Leftist PSA, not to mention the abuse Lefties heap on anyone who dares support gun rights.
Fourth, I actually had to laugh about the poster’s conclusion that “No woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?” Technically that’s true, but here’s something to think about: In America, abortion clinics perform approximately 300,000 abortions a year, with the abortions being predominantly performed on minority women. That means that 300,000 women are responsible for the deaths of 300,000 nascent human lives. (And yes, some of those abortions could be the same woman coming in more than once annually, but we’ll keep the numbers clean at 300,000 women and 300,000 dead nascent humans.)
Meanwhile, back in 2013 (the last year for which the FBI has statistics) only 8,454 deaths in America came about because of guns (any type of guns). Put another way, if we look at 2013, about thirty-five times more humans in America died from abortion than from gun violence. That’s a striking difference. While no single woman is guilty of mass murder, the abortion industry collectively does thirty-five times more damage to human life than do guns — and that’s a damn fine reason for the state to step in and try to reduce the carnage.
As is often the case with Leftist Facebook memes, massive amounts of misleading stupidity are packed into a small space. Unpacking all that misinformation takes more room than a single poster can provide. Sigh.