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While arguing in defense of abortion immediatism during his debate against Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Gregg Cunningham, Abolish Human Abortion’s T. Russell Hunter used a tree analogy.
Hunter claimed cutting off “branches” of abortion through incremental laws is more than a waste of time, it’s counterproductive, because new branches take their place. The only way to end abortion, said Hunter, is to ignore the branches and focus on chopping down the tree.
Hunter’s tree-cutting analogy is erroneous for several reasons, foremost because removing branches first is exactly how it’s done. I happen to know this because we had to have three big trees cut down in our yard last year (thanks, ash borers), and I happened to take video. Little did I know how handy it would come in…
At risk of taking Hunter’s tree analogy too far, I daresay all trees in populated areas, such as where abortion exists, are cut down branches first.
In fact, as Cunningham pointed out, “In the entire history of social reform, no activists have ever outlawed a major injustice ‘immediately.'” It has always been branches first.
Well, now that I’ve started down this path, I’ll add it seems indicative to me of Hunter’s antiquated, undeveloped logic that he would use shears and an ax in his illustration to cut off branches and take down a tree. In both cases only a saw will do, unless one wants to take forever, or one is too small to handle a saw, or one hasn’t properly assessed the tree.
Ok, one other point, Hunter is apparently unaware that suckers can grow from trunks (see photo right), so it’s not as if cutting a tree down is necessarily the end of things.
That’s the last of my immediatism tree analogies. On with Hunter’s.
Video of Hunter’s argument is below. In it he makes several gaffes in relation to incrementalism.
That’s not accurate. No new branches have grown. There are only so many ways to commit late-term abortions. So the other methods are separate branches we are also working to lop off, such as 12+ week dismemberment abortions, a new target.
About dismemberment bans Hunter misquoted me (at 5:05 in video below) as stating, “Of course, there are other methods that might grow up in its place.” Not true. I wrote:
The fact that abortionists might simply switch procedures disturbs me, of course, although I know the mere title, “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act,” is incredibly educational.
But Balch reminded me the induced labor abortion method requires a higher level of expertise, as abortionists testified during the Partial Birth Abortion Ban hearings….
So, yes, a Dismemberment Ban would stop many babies from being aborted.
At any rate, don’t bans against 20-week abortions, or 13-week abortions, or 6-week abortions address Hunter’s concern about banning methods? Those are branches we are certain can never grow back.
It is true the Culture of Death, i.e., Satan, is constantly devising new ways (“branches”) to kill innocent children. It is naive to think otherwise.
Such as the emerging worldwide black market for abortion pills. This phenomenon has nothing to do with whether abortion is legal in the U.S. It’s simply another new abortion branch that will need chopping off.
So here’s Hunter’s tree analogy…
I know Hunter is a smart guy. I know he knows he grossly misrepresents the pro-life movement, such as at 7:47 in the video:
And you say [to pro-life leaders], “Well, why don’t you say abortion is murder and sin and seek its abolition?” Well, because they can’t. Because it’s legal. And the courts have said. So now instead of that wily snake saying that we gotta keep legal abortion safe, legal, and rare, we’ve got pro-lifers saying, “As long as abortion is legal, it should be safe, early, and painless.”
Hunter knows it is ludicrous to claim pro-lifers keep secret the fact that “abortion is murder and sin” and don’t “seek its abolition.” He knows perfectly well we do both. It is slander of the worst kind for Hunter to claim the end game for pro-lifers is that abortion be “safe, early, and painless.” He knows perfectly well why we pursue incremental efforts.
(All this while Hunter pursues his own self-approved brand of incrementalism – geographical incrementalism.)
So why does Hunter persist? Stay tuned for Part III: “Immediatist underpinnings collapse.”