Sensationalism always sells and gets clicks but it doesn’t mean it’s helpful to a particular cause or to the credibility of the claim itself. When talking about an issue as serious as the taking of a life of another human being in abortion, it’s important to be accurate and present well-formed arguments that can be backed up with data.
Because of the passion of those on both sides of the abortion debate, sometimes sensational claims are made that don’t have sufficient data behind them. Some pro-life advocates claim that the heart of a preborn baby starts beating at 18 days when in reality, it starts around 22 days after fertilization. Or slogans like “adoption, not abortion” implies that adoption is an alternative to pregnancy when it’s really not. For abortion numbers, many pro-lifers will say there are 4,000 abortions a day, other say 3,300. The latest data reports 1.06 million abortions in 2011 which equals 2,904 per day.
The importance of intellectual honesty in the abortion debate cannot be understated.
An article in College Fix claims that there is a trend on college campuses that is showing students are supporting the killing of babies after they are born, mirroring the notorious philosophy of Peter Singer, who has supported infanticide for years and values the lives of animals over the lives of babies and even toddlers.
No data were used to back up this claim other than a video of an older woman who refused to say that killing a child post-birth was murder – the woman wasn’t a college student but only happened to be protesting on the grounds of a college campus.
Students for Life of America has been touring college campuses this fall with our We Care Tour, which focuses on helping victims of sexual assault and talking about abortion in cases of rape, and the Planned Parenthood Project, which reveals what the abortion giant’s true intentions are for college students based on data from their own annual report.
Between the two tours, SFLA has been to 27 campuses already with several more to go before the end of the semester. We’ve talked to hundreds of college students – both pro-life and pro-choice – about abortion, had many of our displays vandalized, and were the subjects of further debate in college newspapers.
Never, not once, not even with the most ardent abortion supporter, have any college students advocated the killing of a child post-birth. At every college and university, our student groups have engaged in civil discourse with students on campus and while the pro-choice side had difficulty justifying their logic in many circumstances, not one of them aligned their ideology with Peter Singer or others like him.
Last year a video was done by Dan Joseph at the Media Research Center where he went to a college near DC and got students to sign a petition supporting the legalization of fourth trimester abortions. The conversations he had with the students showed their lack of knowledge about pregnancy and support more for the overall “women’s rights” language than actually killing a born child. Most didn’t even know how long pregnancy lasted. One woman even signed the petition who had recently given birth. It showed that students were clueless more than anything.
If we were to speculate on a trend regarding thoughts on abortion on college campuses, it would be that students are grossly misinformed about pregnancy, fetal development and the fact that abortion is indeed legal throughout all three trimesters. But it’s just speculation as we cannot point to solid data.
College campuses are certainly not beacons of pro-life thought and welcoming of pro-life positions. Normally they are hostile to the pro-life message and ardently liberal. But to say that there is a trend of college students supporting infanticide helps no one and certainly doesn’t get us any closer to ending abortion. Neither does any kind of intellectual dishonesty in the abortion debate.