Human beings are adept at burying their heads in the sand, ignoring information and blanking out data that disturbs their lifestyle and preferences.
Al Gore first brought the phrase, “An Inconvenient Truth”, to widespread prominence with his 2006 film, based on a lecture tour he fronted-up. Today, the need for action to tackle climate change is even more pressing and so many, especially amongst our political classes, seem to live in denial, unwilling to countenance the radical changes required to stop the destruction of our planet.
One dramatic illustration of our “out of sight, out of mind” attitude was spotlighted by the recent move by Malaysia to return 3,000 tonnes of contaminated waste from the US, Canada and Saudi Arabia that was shipped-out under pretext of “recycling”. Those container ship represent just a tiny tip of the colossal iceberg that is the stuff Western consumerism has generated and then dumped, including the e-waste contaminating land and polluting lives across swathes of Africa.
Expecting poorer societies to clean-up our mess is appalling. We must take responsibility for everything we consume and offer whatever help we can to communities like those near Olusosun in Nigeria – the biggest dumpsite in Africa – which receives many of the bad, impossible to repair gadgets that should never just be buried in the ground.
Yet, what we most desperately require today is a willingness to examine inconvenient truths across the political spectrum. Take, for example, the frenzied backlash against six-week abortion bans in the USA. Let us look specifically at this report in The Guardian, from 24th April 2019, which presents a gynecologist claiming that “It’s not a little child”.
The article quotes unchallenged the description of a fetal heartbeat as the “throbbing of some human tissues”, but this is seriously problematic. You could, for example, describe an adult “heartbeat” mechanistically (& reductively) and the result would look very similar: the valves between chambers in a body’s internal organ snapping shut, making a thumping noise. However, that fails to capture exactly what is happening and the beautiful human life being sustained. Do you think that The Guardian readers know a “fetal heartbeat” is throbbing up to 121 times per minute. Whether the miracle is embryonic and hidden in the womb, or a fully-fledged adult should make no difference to how we strive to protect what is sacred.
There is no mention of the Democrat-backed bills to allow effectively unrestricted abortion up until birth, most notably in New York, which illustrates the refusal of the pro-abortion lobby to see any shred of humanity in the unborn baby.
When last I checked there was a link in “related stories” beside the original Guardian article to the story of one person who supports “heartbeat bills”, Janet Porter, but most of the article sets out to discredit her by association other controversial issues (homosexuality) and persons (Ray Moore), rather than actually quoting any arguments for defending life from the moment of conception (or the “heartbeat” being detected).
For example, the “zygote” (formed when sperm fertilises egg) is composed of human DNA and other human molecules with a genetic composition that is absolutely unique, different from any other human that has ever existed, including that of its mother (thus disproving the claim that what is involved in abortion is merely “a woman and her body”). Moreover, at about 22 days after conception the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood and at just six weeks, the child’s eyes and eye lids, nose, mouth, and tongue have formed. None of this is mentioned in either article.
Or consider the fact that even abortion advocates like William Saletan concede: “Ultrasound has exposed the life in the womb to those of us who didn’t want to see what abortion kills. The fetus is squirming, and so are we.” We can now see what is actually happening inside a woman’s body images of what looks so much like a real human being that many babies have been saved because their parent(s) saw the “inconvenient”, but beautiful, truth.
Lastly on the topic of that Guardian article, a survey of U.S. obstetricians and gynecologists reported in February 2019 found that while nearly 3 out of 4 had a patient who wanted to end a pregnancy in the past year, fewer than 1 in 4 were willing and able to perform one themselves. Note the views of Dr Donna Harrison: “We have two patients: both the unborn child and the mother. As physicians, we’ve taken the Hippocratic oath… So we don’t kill our patients.” Surely, such a perspective would have provided an important balance to what seems like a one-sided propaganda piece.
Another example of this deliberate denial of an important issue is provided by the mainstream media’s censoring of the pro-life film “Unplanned”, which tells the poignant and powerful true story of Abby Johnson who became the youngest clinic director in the history of Planned Parenthood and then, after a life-changing experience, turns her into an anti-abortion activist. The film received only two reviews from newspaper but received a 92% from audience review on “Rotten Tomatoes” and aired in over 1500 theatres across the USA. In Canada, meanwhile, “Unplanned” was effectively banned from screening in cinemas.
Why do they keep blanking the truth? What are they so scared of?
One final note on the importance of not ignoring the facts, however inconvenient. That rubbish dump in Nigeria where scavengers pick through e-waste causes all kinds of health problems for the locals. In fact, exposure to toxic substances, like lead and mercury, which leaks into the atmosphere and water as expired gadgets are broken-up by hand, has been linked to thyroid dysfunction and spontaneous abortions in pregnant women.
Truly, we need to join the dots, move beyond the single issues and see the bigger picture.