It’s Funny Because It’s Deadly True

The feminism that underlines much of American pro-abortion ideology is famously grim and humorless—so much so that they made a great meme out of it—and so you will not be surprised to learn that this little quip from a Missouri lawmaker caused a bit of huffy outrage:

In Missouri, restrictions on abortion providers are so strict that only one clinic in the state can perform abortions: a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. But on the State Senate floor Wednesday, two Republican lawmakers joked that women seeking abortions should go to the St. Louis Zoo because it’s “safer” and more regulated than abortion clinics.

“The St. Louis Zoo gets inspected once a year,” said State Senator Bob Onder to his colleague, State Senator Wayne Wallingford, who added, “Maybe we should send the people that want an abortion to the St. Louis Zoo, because we know it’ll be safer.”

Onder then pointed out that zoos have a waiting period of five days before euthanizing animals, whereas Missouri requires women to wait three days after meeting with a doctor to get an abortion.

“Let’s think about this. Babies, it’s three days,” Onder said. “So although there are members of this body who don’t agree with that three days, babies are three days. So zoo animals, it couldn’t be more than 24 hours, right?” He went on, “[It’s] five days, Senator. [And] I believe there’s some sort of requirement to notify in case some other zoo wants to adopt that animal. Isn’t that interesting?”

I’m as manically pro-life as Cecile Richards is pro-abortion, but I have to confess that there is a grim humor to the senator’s point. Our society is rabidly committed to abortion to the point that it’s close to impossible to meaningfully regulate it in any way at all (those “restrictions on abortion clinics” have in fact been blocked by a federal judge and will almost certainly be struck down under Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstadt). It is thus not all that surprising that, in some narrow instances, a zoo of animals will have more practical protection from death and danger than a building of unborn human beings. The abortion rights machine is singularly opposed to any kind of effective oversight, which is why, say, (a) a butcher like Kermit Gosnell was able to literally get away with murder for years, and (b) the abortion industry averted its eyes and clammed up when Gosnel’s butchery was finally exposed. It’s just the price of doing business.

Advocacy group Progress Missouri was not impressed:

“Not only has he compared women to giraffes and zoo animals, but he has invoked the Holocaust and genocide in reference to a woman’s right to an abortion,” Progress Missouri said in a statement.

For goodness’s sake, the senator did not “compare women to giraffes and zoo animals.” He made an illustrative contrast between the strict animal welfare requirements of the St. Louis Zoo on the one hand and the laxer human welfare requirements of Missouri’s abortion mills on the other. It is very frustrating when your joke falls flat because that one dummy just doesn’t get it. In any case,  it’s true that the comparison between legalized abortion and the Holocaust is kind of inapt; the Holocaust was state-directed genocide, while a legal abortion is state-sanctioned murder. It’s an important contrast to make, chiefly for the sake of pointing out that there is really no corollary at all between genocidal Nazis and abortive women.

Of course, for the victims in this case—those of genocide and of abortion—it makes little difference who is doing the killing and for what reason: in either case the victims are still dead. And it is howling, raving insanity that we allow zoo animals two more extra days to avoid death than we do innocent human beings. In the end it’s no laughing matter.


  1. David

    If the abortion rights “machine” is lacking in humor it is most likely because the people who support a woman’s right to – dare I say it? – self-defense is so precarious in the face of right wing ideologues. The same people who would be comfortable killing an individual who violated their house argue that a woman has no similar right to kill an individual (not that I’m allowing that an embryo is the equivalent of a human being any more than a fertilized chicken egg is a chicken) who has not just invaded her house but has invaded her body.
    Lest you argue that the fact that a woman had sex (willfully or against her will; do you make that distinction?) is the equivalent to inviting an individual in to your home & then (if abortion is sought) killing them, it should be noted that just because someone makes a poor judgement, s.a. travelling in a “bad” neighborhood, does not deny them the right of self-defense. Just because you leave your door unlocked does not negate your right to defend yourself by killing someone who enters your house uninvited. It might be callous on the part of the homeowner but it is still considered by many to be the homeowners right.

    However, apparently many on the “conservative” right do not believe that a woman has the right to protect her “home” but rather, they believe, as it states in Deuteronomy 22:29 regarding a similar situation, that the woman who is the victim should remain a victim for the rest of her days.

    Personally, I am not a fan of violence and, in counseling a woman who is unhappily pregnant, I would point out to her that she is contemplating taking the life of what will become a human being. But I will also counsel her that, if she truly believes that becoming responsible for bringing said human being in to the world will cause her great injury (physically, emotionally of economically) then she does retain the right to defend herself even allowing that the best form of self-defense is to avoid the conflict in the 1st place.

    The differences between a good number of the religious “conservative” zealots in America & the Muslim Zealots whom we so readily decry is a matter of degree, not of kind. There are a large number of biblical literalists in our country (20-30% of the population?) who either ignore or just won’t publicly admit biblical passages s.a. Deuteronomy 22:13-30

    • Daniel Payne

      I find it perverse and bizarre that you believe that innocent unborn human beings on the one hand and criminals on the other are somehow morally equivalent. Criminals act of their own volition; they choose to commit crimes; their criminal circumstances are directly the result of their own self-agency. Unborn human beings, on the other hand, are in no way responsible for the circumstances in which they find themselves; their very existence is overwhelmingly predicated upon the voluntary and consensual actions of two adults, i.e. their parents.

      I see no problem with using self-defense against an aggressor who seeks to hurt you. I see a lot of problem with using “self-defense” against a human being who (a) has done nothing wrong, and (b) who *you voluntarily created.*

      As for the notion that an unborn human is merely “what will become a human being,” you’re perfectly entitled to your own opinion regarding human development—but scientific embryology, which rests on observations and facts, disagrees with you profoundly on this matter. Human beings are human beings from the moment of conception. This is science 101 stuff. Your pro-choice beliefs would have a lot more rhetorical integrity if you’d simply admit that abortion does in fact kill real, actual, living human beings, and that you’ve found some way to be morally okay with that.

      • David

        I am not surprised regarding your statement of “perverse & bizarre” as my comment goes counter to your preconceived notions on this issue & apparently your thinking is not flexible enough to respect a perspective contrary to your own. This is an issue of many nuances, some of which you infer & some of which you neglect. As I don’t want to make my reply overly long, some of these issues I will only define while I will go in to a little depth on some of the others. If you are interested in more deeply exploring some of the issues which I only define, you are welcome to respond to them in the expectations that I will respond to you in more depth at that time. I would appreciate your comment on rhetorical integrity more if it was actually based on what I wrote. I quite clearly stated that my concern regarding the issue of when a particular life begins was not the basis for the points raised by my comment. Your reference to my phrase “what will become a human being” seems not to acknowledge that it was given in the context of counseling, & not in the context of justification for abortion.

        First, let’s be clear that this discussion is only referring to the case of an unwanted pregnancy. For parents who want to raise a child I have only the highest levels of respect. Being responsible for the life of a child is (or at least should be) perhaps the most serious decision that an individual can make. It takes a major commitment of time, emotion, finances & more. I suppose the being inside the woman is innocent in the sense that their actions are not pre-meditated but to think that the results of their actions can be any less life changing or even disastrous for the pregnant woman is quite disingenuous on your part. Rather than list the changes here I’ll provide a reference:

        I see from today’s post that you are really quite young at 27? [14 years old when dating a young woman in 2004?]. An age when most young men are confident that they know all of the truly important answers (regardless of their political persuasion), but an age where you most likely have very little real experience of life & most likely little or no experience of the responsibilities associate with rearing a child. I trust that you refrained from having sex with the girlfriend mentioned in today’s post or at least that you would have been willing to marry her should a pregnancy have occurred. I find that a good number (not all) of the people who feel a woman with an unwanted pregnancy should be forced to take responsibility for the child that may result are more guided by a desire to feel morally superior than out of any real compassion for the child. All too many people who believe abortion is morally wrong are more than willing to let the child suffer or even die after it is born. The only important issue is that it is born. After that it is the mother’s responsibility whether she wanted the child or not.

        Some of the issues that should be considered when exploring this question are the circumstances of the mother. You discuss a baby as being the result of a consensual act. This is not always the case & in most states the age of consent is between 16 & 18 although there is a good body of evidence that human brains don’t reach full maturity until well in to their mid 20’s ( ). Are you opposed to abortion in all circumstances? Rape? Life risk of the mother? Severe Defects? Is a potential mother to be treated as a responsible adult no matter her circumstances?

        You mention your belief in the right to defend against an aggressor who seeks to hurt you but from a legal standpoint you are not required to determine the invader’s intent (at least in states that support “the castle doctrine,”). The very fact of their “invasion” is sufficient. If the invader is mentally or emotionally deficient is not truly relevant. In some states with “stand your ground” laws you can kill someone merely because you feel “threatened” by their appearance or behavior. Do you truly believe that having a being take over your body (& potentially risking your life) for 9 months and then dominate your life & finances for possibly the rest of your life could not be considered a threat to your well-being?

        It is also the case that consenting to have sex & consenting to make a baby are not equivalent. Unless you are of the position that the only legal purpose of sex is to make babies, then you have to acknowledge that people sometimes have sex for purposes of bonding or other reasons.

        Regarding the question of when a fertilized egg becomes a human being. How do you define a human being? The legal definition of a human being requires it to have been born {U.S. Code › Title 1 › Chapter 1 › § 8}. Prior to birth it is not legally a human. What is the scientific definition of a human being? Is it an individual that possesses a unique set of DNA? Are identical twins one person or two? Although the technology isn’t quite there yet, it will soon be possible to create clones. Does each clone have rights as an individual? So perhaps unique DNA isn’t the proper criteria. Does the criteria then become anything with human DNA? Do cancer cells have the legal rights of a human? They are arguably separate from (if dependent on) their host & clearly intent on survival. How about a being that has all the human organs & faculties? That could set a criteria on when an embryo becomes a human. Is a brain dead person still considered to be a living human? Is brain activity the criteria? How about a definition of life as the possession of self-sustaining biological processes? An embryo or a fetus is not self-sustaining without the input from the mother’s placenta. So whose life takes precedence? Does the embryo & then the fetus “own” the mother’s body until it is ready to leave? Is the mother effectively the chattel slave of the pregnancy whether or not she willingly participated in the creation of the pregnancy?

        I am not so much pro life or pro choice as I am opposed to the state interfering in such personal decisions as to when a couple (or a woman alone in too many cases) decides to pro-create. Procreation is not a trivial act & in order for the new human to have a decent chance in life, it requires a serious commitment on the part of those on whom the child will most likely be dependent for their first 15-20 years.

        • Daniel Payne

          You have a funny habit: whenever I point out some silly or indefensible argument you’ve made, you throw your hands up and claim that I’ve missed the point, or taken it out of context, or something. Stop doing this. It makes you look bad. Just own up to the dumb things you sometimes say. We all say dumb things sometimes, it’s okay!

          In any case, as your reply ended up being overlong, I don’t have the time to respond to it in its entirety. For a good summary of some of my pro-life beliefs, you can refer to this and this.

          As for the matter of “when a fertilized egg becomes a human being:” firstly, the “legal definition” does not attempt to determine when a human being becomes a human being, but merely when laws and regulations will apply to human beings. Indeed, that section of the code explicitly acknowledges that “individual members of the species homo sapiens,” i.e. human beings, exist prior to birth.

          As for the “scientific definition” of a human being, I’m honestly surprised that you’re looking to me as some kind of final word on the matter. This has all been studied and written about for many years, and the conclusions are very easy for you to find. Anyway, briefly, scientific embryology very clearly distinguishes between mere cells and whole organisms. The difference between the two are profound: human organisms, i.e. human beings, “show uniquely integrated, organismal behavior that is unlike the behavior of mere human cells.” Most notably, “the cells, tissues and organs produced during development do not somehow “generate” the embryo (as if there were some unseen, mysterious “manufacturer” directing this process), they are produced by the embryo as it directs its own development to more mature stages of human life. This organized, coordinated behavior of the embryo is the defining characteristic of a human organism,” i.e. a human being.

          Mere cells, meanwhile, do not “produce the kind of coordinated interactions necessary for building a fully integrated human body. They do not produce tissues in a coherent manner and do not organize them so as to sustain the life of the entity as a whole. They produce tumors; i.e., parts of the human body in a chaotic, disorganized manner. They behave like cells, not like organisms.” (Source, which I’d encourage you to read.)

          No serious student of science, not even the lazy armchair students of science, would ever think to draw an equivalence between living human organisms and human tumors. If you floated this idea you’d be laughed out of medical school.

          Anyway, it is again difficult to wrangle an answer to all your questions; you need to learn to trim your writing down (especially in a blog post comment!) and just ask a few questions at a time. To answer one of your questions: by the merits of your own argument a fetus possesses no less of a “self-sustaining biological process” than a newborn human, both of whom are unique and individual organisms but who are nonetheless 100% dependent on their parents for their basic survival ( a placenta largely performs all the functions of parenting—feeding, cleaning, warmth—while the baby is inside the womb). If you’re going to be okay with the “personal decision” to kill an unborn child because he is dependent upon a placenta, then you’re inevitably going to have to be okay with killing a born child because he’s dependent upon his mother’s milk or formula bottle. There is no practical difference at all, at least if you make freedom from dependence the criteria for “life.”

          Ultimately I know of no pro-choice position that does not eventually arrive at infanticide.

          Also, as an aside, my wife is pregnant. I have no idea if you have any experience with pregnancy, but part of me suspects you don’t: you seem to believe that it’s some terrifying process wherein “a being take[s] over your body” for nine months, rendering a woman a “chattel slave.” Good grief. Talk to some pregnant women. Pregnancies can be difficult, but overwhelmingly they’re not anything like your wild fantasies have made them out to be. (This is ultimately irrelevant to the question of whether or not abortion should be illegal, of course. But you shouldn’t spread falsehoods and silly scare stories to make your point.)

          • David

            You’re correct, I do ramble a bit & I apologize for that. First of all, congratulations on your wife’s pregnancy, I hope that everything goes smoothly.

            Yes, I’m familiar with the biological processes & the fact that it physically affects different women in different ways. For some women the experience is euphoric for others it is closer to the nightmare that you read in to my comment. I am not looking to you as the arbiter of a “scientific definition” of what constitutes a human life, I’m just suggesting that the criteria used for measurement may not be as simple as you think. Clearly a tumor is not a human life ergo possession of DNA is not a sufficient definition. In the case of in vitro fertilization doctors typically fertilize multiple eggs. Must all successfully fertilized eggs then be implanted in the mother’s uterus?

            Also, ultimately I am making the case for when “infanticide” would be legal. It is just that I admit to being a bit squeamish about the notion of when it is acceptable to kill a human being. While I am not a pacifist, I consider murder as an act to be avoided at all costs. I oppose the death penalty, not because there aren’t people who need to be removed from human society, but because I am too aware of the frailty of human systems & do not trust state sponsored killing. Incidentally, I am familiar with the Charlote Lozier Inst. & Dr. Dianne Irving’s writings on “when life begins.” As an individual I believe that the existence of the “soul” is not dependent on a body. The “soul” existed before & after the existence of the body. I also believe in reincarnation. That’s my concept of a compassionate God. A God who allows us to keep coming back in to a body until we get it right. But then those are issues that go well beyond the purview of our discussion of abortion.

            Thank-you for the links to your previous articles. I see that you actually have put some thought in to the issue and have addressed many of the common pro-choice arguments. That being the case, I will narrow my response to what I believe to be the fallacies in your position. Please note, I am not arguing about what you or your wife should be doing with your bodies. I am arguing about what the state should impose on all bodies within its areas of responsibility.

            As I follow some of the links in articles I have found on the subject of abortion I see more clearly that we are rehashing old arguments made by people who are probably more intelligent than either of us or at least have focused more consideration on the topic. I began with a link I had previously saved discussing both sides of the issue which had a link to Judith Jarvis Thomson’s defense of abortion which then linked to:

            The simplistic summation is: I believe a woman has the right to choose what she may do with(in) her body & you believe that the state should intervene if a woman decides to not allow the infant’s use of her body. I would draw the line for the permissibility of abortion at the time where the infant is not solely dependent on the use of one particular individual’s body at which point, the state or other interested party may assume the responsibility for the infant.

            I believe that the range of human experience is vast & that we must be very careful about when we impose “hard & fast” rules of behavior. Certainly the issue of abortion is not as simple as some would like to suggest. Are you saying that when people do not want to be responsible for a child then they should not engage in sex? This suggests to me a profound ignorance of human hormonal drives & behavior. I know of women who obtained abortions unhappily because they already had more children than they could provide for and they believed the responsibility of another child would push them over the financial edge. I know that some people believe that “in God all things are possible” is a reasonable approach to life. I am sympathetic to them but do not believe that expectations of miracles should be the law of the land. Nor do I believe that an increase in the population of people in poverty is beneficial to society unless you happen to be a businessperson who depends on cheap labor.

            Sometimes I think that some conservatives just believe that suffering is good & increasing human suffering will benefit their spiritual growth. While suffering can at times lead to spiritual growth, often enough, it is just suffering that provides no benefit or even leads to more suffering because of the poor response on the part of the original sufferer. “the sins of the fathers…”

            I respect your right to make choices for yourself that suit your personal morality. I would urge you great caution when it comes to making decisions for others.

          • Daniel Payne

            Thanks for this. I think you’re rambling again but this is a thoughtful comment. Where we disagree, I think, is this: you frame the issue as a woman’s deciding “to not allow the infant’s use of her body,” while I frame the issue as “a woman is killing an innocent human being.” I suppose both are true, after a fashion, though we draw different conclusions from the circumstance as a whole.

            In any event, I see no reason why we should draw the line at the point where “the infant is not solely dependent on the use of one particular individual’s body,” particularly if you consider state intervention to be an acceptable option: in your view the infant does not have a claim on one person’s body, but—through the state—he evidently has a claim on everyone’s bodies! Rubbish.

            Also, I am opposed to in vitro fertilization for precisely the reason you point out: it typically results in the death of multiple innocent humans.

            I am with you on one thing, though: I am against the death penalty, though it’s on religious grounds, not practical ones.

  2. David

    Pardon my poor proof-reading. My forst sentence would more properly read:

    the people who support a woman’s right to – dare I say it? – self-defense understand that the retention of this right is so precarious in the face of right wing ideologues.

    • David

      Actually Daniel, I do not support state intervention in the process. In my mind, you are the one supporting state intervention by suggesting that a woman’s right to choose how her body is used (& choosing sex is not the same as choosing pregnancy any more than leaving your door unlocked is choosing to allow a burglar in your home) should be impeded by the state in order to place the rights of the child above the rights of the mother. Our legal system is essentially a set of state sponsored rules whereby society is governed. If you support the position that abortion should be against the law, you are supporting state intervention in a woman’s pregnancy.

      There already seems to be some movement in parts of the country where a pregnant woman could be accused of child endangerment if she chooses to drink or smoke. It seems to me that a logical extension of this process would be that pregnant women be interred by the state for the duration of their pregnancy in order to protect the developing child. I’d like to think that you would consider this as ridiculous as I but there is a certain depraved logic to it.

      • Daniel Payne

        Oh, well now you’re just taking one thing and calling it another. If you want the state to care for unwanted infants who would have otherwise been aborted, then you’re absolutely in favor of the government getting involved. I mean, why try and deny it? You said it yourself.

        I freely admit that I want the state to intervene in cases of abortion—in the same way that I want the state to intervene in any instance of murder. My feelings about the government’s role in preventing abortion is a completely logical extension of my feelings about the government’s role in preventing any other kind of homicide. I have no compunctions about it whatsoever.

        You, on the other hand, have committed a strange logical blunder, insisting that an infant does not have the right to use a particular woman’s body to survive but that the very same infant, by way of compulsory state support, does apparently have the right to use the bodies of all women! It makes no sense.

        • David

          I see that I am not communicating with sufficient clarity regarding “state” responsibility. My demarcation for when abortion should no longer be legal is the time of fetal viability where someone (not necessarily the government) who is more willing. There is also some basis for thinking that I believe that there are issues for which we should not expect individuals to responsible but for which we as a society should be collectively responsible. After all, wouldn’t one basis for defining a democratically elected republican government be an organization to which we delegate the responsibility for those actions which we believe to be a collective responsibility. National defense & the protection of the “public commons” might be considered within the proper purview of such a government. Defining the public commons is obviously a topic worthy of more in-depth discussion. However, I think for the moment focusing on our Good Friday conversation is more important.

          Just as an interesting aside. I heard a recent broadcast relating to civic involvement on a program called Radiolab:
          I see it as an interesting sociological study on how so many people create conflict based on perceived differences rather than our commonality. It more fully supports a thesis that if religious fanatics had their way, our planet would be awash in blood until there was likely only one person left standing in the end. When you eliminate all the people with whom you have major differences of belief, you will soon find major differences with those who are left. The vast majority of us (myself included) have varying degrees of the tendency to try & control our environment, including the people around us.