Now that I’ve gotten your attention with a title that screams controversy, I hope you’ll stick around while I pose some rational questions. I recently watched the Andrew Solomon TED talk which I wrote an article about. In the article I was disputing his “solution” to women who are pregnant with children who have been identified as potentially having Down Syndrome. His solution was an abortion. I completely disagree with that as a solution. Delving into research there was much more information than I could fit in that one article, so I will share some of it here. I looked further and found another TED talk about abortion by Diana Whitten which I can only call radical and also feel the need to address later.

Definitions are important so I will share a few before I get to the meat of this article.

Pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. – From Planned Parenthood

Abortion – the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. – Google

Using these 2 simple definitions should allow us to avoid all conversation about moment of conception, implantation, fertilization, zygotes, fallopian tubes, etc. and other things that come up  before the point of pregnancy, defined by Planned Parenthood.

So working with this definition of pregnancy and abortion we can look at some facts of this pregnant woman and her baby. Technically called a blastocyst at this point but from here on out we will understand that when I say baby, I am referring to a fertilized egg that has been implanted in the uterus.

One of the main arguments that anti-life people use if that “It’s my body It’s my body and I’d rather not have anyone telling me what to do with it.” – As this anti-life advocate put it so eloquently. I agree. Do what you want with your body. Unfortunately that baby in you is not your body. The baby has it’s own DNA. That’s enough evidence for me right there. Of course there are many other arguments showing that the baby is in fact it’s own entity, such as the development of measurable brain activity, eyes, heartbeat, etc.

The baby is protected (from everyone but it’s own mother!) by the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) which basically says that if anyone kills a pregnant woman, they get charged with 2 murders. But if the mother chooses to kill the baby (abortion), it’s not murder? That’s just ridiculous double-speak legal jargon. You tell me why that makes any sense.Hopefully you are reasonable enough to say that you’d never kill your already born child at least? Apparently I can’t even make that as a blanket statement if you consider the document published by the Journal for Medical Ethics. (seems they need a rename to the Journal of Questionable Ethics). While I completely support their right to publish an article like this, I completely disagree with their findings, but it (hopefully) helps me make a case to end abortions.

“They preferred to use the phrase “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide” to “emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus”.

As far as I know it’s always been illegal to kill a child once they are born. Working back from birth, what is fundamentally different for the child at 1 day before he or she is born? Nothing. There is the discussion of viability. What is the definition of viability? From my understanding it’s a pretty general term of when the baby would have a chance to survive outside the mother’s womb (with no life support, etc). The reason this has no importance in the discussion of abortion is there is no reason the child would need to be outside the womb. The baby is right where it needs to be in that phase of it’s life. And also, the baby isn’t viable by itself once it is born, iit still needs someone to care for it once it’s outside the womb, which is what the Journal argues above is a good reason for infanticide! In fact, very few people in the world are viable all by ourselves. You are? Did you build the car you drive to work every day? Did you make the computer you are reading this on? Did you grow all the food in your house? Did you build your house? No. Civilization is founded on community, not killing anyone who can’t take care of themselves. So if viability is your argument for abortion, please reconsider your stance.

One question I’ve always had for the abortion people is “Why is abortion the solution?” In our society we know what happens when 2 people have sex, you can get pregnant. Shouldn’t we focus on having strong families that will raise and love children, instead of having as much sex as we want and destroying any life that comes from it?

I’d like to highlight some abortion statistics from the Guttmacher Institute below.

Women in their 20’s account for more than half of all abortions: Women aged 20–24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and women aged 25–29 obtain 24%.

Forty-two percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level ($10,830 for a single woman with no children).

Here are some statistics from the CDC.

In 2010, unmarried women accounted for 85% of all abortions (CDC).

Black women were 3.7 times more likely to have an abortion in 2010 than non-Hispanic white women (CDC)

Do you fall into any of those categories?

Do you think you might actually be being targeted for abortions?

Abortion happening any time after pregnancy (as defined above) is wrong.

I want to close with a few quotes

“It is easier to believe a lie that one has heard a thousand times before than to believe a fact that one has never heard.” – Robert Lynd (Maybe, quotes are notoriously misattributed, but that doesn’t take away from their truth.)

The lies I’m referring to here are

  1. Abortion is ok.
  2. A baby is not a person.

“I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Ronald Reagan (The actor, and former President of the United States)

Thank you to Amy Entwistle at Flickr Creative Commons for the cover photo.

Influence, The Truth And A New Direction

Months after I started MyWheelLife (May 2014) and years after I started really digging into my own beliefs on religion and other topics, I have finally decided to start writing about sharing these deeper thoughts. I am going to continue using My Wheel Life as the platform for this writing and will simply file articles into categories on the side bar, thus My Wheel Life will transform from Gearhead only to just about anything on my mind. .

My first article, below, will be about influence.
What is influence?
Why some people have it?
How do you gain it?
How do you lose it?
Why do you want it?
Why am I writing this?

I have made been slowly making a stand in my life in the last few years. I’m trying to stand for something, search for that something and profess that same something (which I don’t completely understand yet), all at the same time. That something is “The Truth” (Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything).

What is the truth? To some it’s relative based on how you feel about a certain situation. To me it’s generally absolute, at least in terms of right and wrong.

Let me give you an example:
It is absolutely wrong to sneak into someones house and murder them in cold blood.

It is relative what color will look best on your car, in your hair or on the shirt you want to choose today.

I intend to stick mostly to things that I believe are absolute in this project, but with all good projects, the scope might drift a little.

So why am I writing all this anyway? Influence. I have done a lot of thinking and reading about influence and the world. The world has a lot of good but it also has a lot of bad and a lot of disinformation. I’m hoping to fight the wrong. Correct the incorrect. How do you get people to listen to you? Influence. I’ve decided a few things give influence. Knowledge and money being two of most visible.

How do you influence people?

Usually you can only influence people, effectively, if you have something they want. That could be a lifestyle they want, money, skills, knowledge. One of the things that most people tell themselves they want is money. But if you dig a bit deeper, there are plenty of studies that show that money satisfies, only to a certain point in life.There are a lot of things that I’d like to buy. For one a house. Another is a Lamborghini. That being said, I have a lot of material things right now, 2 cars, a truck, 2 motorcycles and a dirtbike. I have already reached a point that while I think it’d be fun to continue amassing things, I think it’d be better to affect the world for good. As such I’ve decided to seek influence.  I think knowledge is much more important than money in terms of influence. One person I can think of specifically is my priest. He has a ton of influence, but not much personal wealth. Yet, I continue to seek his advice on many things, not just religions (also financial, personal relationships with others, etc). And the best thing about a priest is they just give that advice away for free! What could be better? Seriously, if you need advice go chat with a priest. But I digress.

Knowledge is power, as the old saying goes. That’s why education is such an important thing these days. See what Anant Agarwal has to say about this, and he’s not the only one. Formal education is not the only thing that I count as education. You can learn from people you meet everyday. It doesn’t have to be profound everytime you learn something. You can keep track of my everyday thoughts at “What I Learned Today” (which I intend to make a short running script of interesting things).

There are also many clubs or groups that will help you learn things for free! Two that I am involved in now are the Financial Literacy Club at UNI and the UNI Ballroom/Swing Dance Club. Both of these are free to be a part of. They are both clubs that help you learn something. Just because things like these seem free, doesn’t mean they are completely free, everything has a cost. Someone does have to pay for them. In the case of the UNI dancing team, they are funded by the University and also by private donors. From what I understand of the Financial Literacy club, it’s funded privately by the man who runs it. The point of these examples is that there is so much knowledge around that can be free to you, but once you get into a position to give back, certainly do. Learn something today!

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that it’s great to have a muse to help you while you understand and learn. A couple of my favorite muses are

  1. Church. I bring a notebook to Mass (and about everywhere else I go) and take notes. I think this is especially useful in church because it’s one time where you are supposed to just sit and think. You can’t respond right away. When you are in a conversation you always are thinking ahead of how to reply to the current thought and thus not actually thinking about it. If you are in a position where you have to just listen, it gives you time to think deeper.
  2. A good book. I have been gifted with pretty decent reading comprehension and speed and as such I like to read. If you’d like to learn what I’m reading (and save yourself all the time of reading a book or find a list of interesting books to read, take a look at my Book Reviews. I’d encourage you to read the books if you have the time.)
  3. Podcasts. I like to listen to Tim Ferriss interview some people who had done some pretty incredible things. I also count TED Talks as podcasts, even though they are videos. Also a note, watch TED talks on youtube. It saves your history so you can remember what you’ve watched and it’s much easier. I have just had dismal success watching TED talks on the TED website.
  4. Reading Blogs or the news. A few blogs I like are Matt Walsh, Mark Manson and Bob Sullivan (Restlessness project specifically). If you read people who don’t necessarily agree with you, that’s good for making you think.
  5. Talking with real people. Crazy thought. Talk to people in the real world. Better if they are people who don’t necessarily have the same views as you. One of my drives to start a site about big ideas is that I will be able to foster meaningful conversation with people I meet.

Back to influence. I am hoping with this blog to influence the world in a positive way. Please read along, share with friends and help me be a force for good in the world.

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Thanks to these guys for the cover image.