I had the misfortune on the weekend to need to wade through the July 2010 Your Views forum on abortion at the Herald website. I don't recommend you read it, as with over 160 comments from about 140 different people only 3 were stories from women who had actually had abortions and many were really awful women-hating diatribes from people with little compassion. Big props to our regular commenter A Nonny Moose for engaging in the thread.
What astonished me was the lack of simple biological knowledge that many arguing against abortion displayed. Things like the so-called fact that a fetus at seven weeks' gestation (i.e. roughly 5 weeks after conception) is a fully developed human being. Stuff about embryos and very early fetuses having baby-like faces and being able to scream. Someone else reckoned, from her own experience of pregnancy, that when she pushed her belly she got pushed back quite deliberately, and also when she played music there was in utero dancing going on. Wishful thinking, all of it, and Just. Not. True.
But it does rather serve to increase the Ick Factor, doesn't it, and thus to make people feel uncomfortable about advocating for abortion access. It justifies the "baby-killer" moniker, to make it seem as if embryos and fetuses are like babies in appearance and development when they really really aren't.
If some women decide to think about their pregnancies as involving a fully developed human being with rights equal to their own then that's fine by me. They should make their choices about their bodies, and their pregnancies, based on those views, if that's what they want to do. But to insist that all women share their views, when they are simply not based on biological fact, and then to restrict the rights of all women to control their own bodies as a result of these erroneous ideas... well that's not OK with me.
And then to go a step further and actively lie about what's going on in the uterus, as some do, is unacceptable; to promulgate doctored pictures of aborted fetuses, to make misleading claims on internet forums about how fetuses can consciously smile when they can't, to publish spurious captions to inappropriate photos used to accompany news stories.
Making mistakes and repeating misinformation you've been told by someone you trust I have a little sympathy with. But lying to deliberately drive up the Ick Factor and shut down reasoned debate I can't stand. If your argument is any good then you shouldn't need to lie to make your point.