In the scheme of things, the “Immediatist vs Incrementalist” debate between AHA’s T. Russell Hunter and Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Gregg Cunningham on April 25, 2015, was iconic. AHA’s immediatist philosophy was laid bare as contradictory, confused, and even nefarious.
Most extraordinary was that Hunter came so ill prepared, after beating his chest for months for prudentialists to “choose a man, and let him come down to fight me,” in the words of Goliath.
Witnessing social movement historian and master debater Cunningham methodically take down each of AHA’s talking points, only to receive such flummoxed responses by Hunter, was a sight to behold. Cunningham was quick to challenge Hunter’s “conflated” and “binary” arguments, and with no keyboard to hide behind, Hunter’s half-baked theories, groundless accusations, and inaccurate portrayal of history were laid bare.
Hunter asked me this question in a comment on my post, “Immediatist vs Incrementalist” debate analysis, Part II: There’s only one way to cut down a tree?:
Do you agree with your readers that “AHA” is some kind of a pro-choice plot? A group sent by pro-aborts to bring the PLM down?
This was in response to commenters like Kate, who wrote:
I’m convinced that Abolish Human Abortion are pro choicers disguised as prolifers with the mission to bring the prolife movement down. It is one thing to disagree, it is another to go after your own, as they constantly seem to do.
I don’t know why Hunter cares what I think, since he actually accuses me of being part of the “pro-choice plot” for supporting incremental legislation and thus advocating, so he says, abortions that are “safe, early, and painless.”
As you can see, the conversation can (and often does) get stupid. Another for instance, when AHA responded that my hatchet-job on Hunter’s tree analogy was misplaced, because silly me thought he was actually making a tree analogy…
… which was to say the tree analogy only works if it supports AHA theory.
But I will answer Hunter’s question. Actually, I’ll let others who have already said it better than I could. The first thought comes from a pro-life proponent who would prefer no attribution:
T. Russell Hunter and AHA are not dissenting voices in an intellectually honest discussion. They are intentionally poisoning the well and confusing the faithful. Heck, not only does Hunter break down under cross-examination, he can’t even clarify his own position – thus, the endless stream of sandwich-eating videos.
When you can’t clarify your own position, something other than your position is the real agenda. That “something else” in this case is a personal hatred of pro-lifers who are recognized (and paid) for working hard and actually getting things done.
What has AHA done other than attack pro-lifers? Reach a few students here and there with a quick sermon? Demonstrate abortion to a handful of folks via a picture provided by CBR? In short, we are dealing with malcontents who rival Planned Parenthood in their efforts to confuse and distort reality.
Watch this clip from Band of Brothers. I’ve seen it a number of times and weep each time. This is what we fight. Everyone in our sphere would save as many of these people as we could. T. Russell Hunter and his cronies will not work with Catholics and secularists to free these people. He would not save them incrementally (click on screenshot to view video)…
So what’s the lesson? Simply this” We are not dealing with rational dissenters who contribute something to our understanding and thus make us better. To the contrary, we are engaging a moral sickness combined with unthinkable arrogance. I’d rather be known for opening the camp gate.
Why does AHA discriminate against babies?
Abolitionists accuse prolifers of “discrimination” because they lobby for laws that protect some babies rather than all babies. But the allegation is ironic:
i) To begin with, the charge of discrimination is nonsensical. For instance, it’s discriminatory to choose one group over another group if you’re in a position to choose both groups.
If, however, prolifers are striving to save all, and only those babies who can be saved right now, that’s not discriminatory. They lack the wherewithal, at present, to save more babies. If they could, they would.
ii) In fact, it’s actually the abolitionists who are guilty of discrimination. They discriminate against the babies who are savable by opposing incremental legislation. They discriminate against those babies by refusing to take feasible measures necessary to save them.
So not only is the abolitionist accusation false, but it boomerangs. On the one hand, prolifers don’t discriminate against babies. On the other hand, abolitionists do discriminate against babies.
Abolitionists discriminate against babies in the present in the hopes of saving all babies in the future.
Why does AHA support abortion?
Abolish Human Abortion: Abolitionists will also continue interposing themselves between the innocent unborn and the rhetoric of wolves that jovially and enthusiastically support the unjust laws that cement ageism into our culture of death’s psyche.
Translation: abolitionists interpose themselves between innocent babies and the prolifers who could save them. AHA barricades the abortion clinic from restrictive laws. AHA barricades the abortion clinic to prevent restrictive laws from saving babies.
Instead of protecting babies from the abortionist, AHA is protecting the abortionist from laws that limit his access to babies. They don’t allow the prolifer to come between the abortionist and the baby. They give him free rein.
By opposing incremental legislation, AHA protects the legal status quo. They stand guard at the abortion clinic to keep restrictive laws at bay.
In closing, a thought by Maggie Gallagher of National Review Online last week, upon the passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which AHA opposed:
I remember being at the table in New York City in the 1980s, discussing abortion strategies with people who said they could never support any law except a constitutional amendment protecting all human life. Otherwise, they told me, their hands would be dirty.
I remember thinking: Your hands may be clean, but the babies are still dying.
Read previous posts:
Part I: Let babies die today, we can save the rest later
Part II: There’s only one way to cut down a tree?
Part III: Social justice history vs TR Hunter
Part IV: Straw men and the Bible
Part V: Sacrificing children to the idol of abolitionism
Part VI: Christians and the legislative process
Part VII: So fundraising is wrong?
Scott Klusendorf: Debate between Gregg Cunningham and T. Russell Hunter
Jonathan Van Maren: Four observations from the Cunningham vs. Hunter debate
Also, fyi, we are in the final stages of preparing an ebook compiling all the analyses of the Cunningham-Hunter debate into one document. Stay tuned.