Wikimedia | @liz_oann

Pro-Life Woman Posts Photo Of Embryo And Sparks Massive Online Debate

May 16, 2019

Abortion has been a politically charged issue for decades, but in 2019, it's more in the spotlight than ever before. As states make their individual stances on the issue clear, activists on both sides are sharing their thoughts.

Alabama just made a big move.

Wikimedia Commons | DXR

The state has effectively banned abortions, even in cases where pregnancy is the result of rape. It's enormously controversial — and helps shine a light on similarly oppressive laws in other states.

AOC called out a different bill.

Twitter | @AOC

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to criticize a controversial law in Georgia, the so-called "heartbeat bill." AOC points out that these laws could criminalize women who thought they'd just missed a couple of periods.

People had some thoughtful responses to AOC's tweet.

Michael has an issue with the "pro-life" moniker, when he feels that their passion for human life doesn't extend beyond the birth process.

Scott Santens also responded.

He pointed out the inconsistencies between the people who want lower abortion rates without wanting to improve sex education or making access to birth control easier.

This conservative commentator wasn't having it.

Instagram | @liz_oann

Liz Wheeler — you can find her on Instagram, @liz_oann — spends most of her time posting selfies and conservative memes on her assorted social media channels. She recently took aim at AOC's tweet.

Here's Wheeler's tweet.

Twitter | @Liz_Wheeler

In the tweet, Wheeler posts an artist's conception of some kind of vertebrate in the womb. Pointing out that the image has discernable arms and legs, Wheeler believes she's won the debate.

She's saying what we're all thinking.

Twitter | @GeistLila

It isn't like a fetus having discernable arms and legs should impact a woman's right to choose in the first place, but there's also the fact that Wheeler's image doesn't in itself prove anything.

Here's a well-reasoned response.

Twitter | @emilynm41

A six-week-old embryo is about the size of a bean. It's constantly developing, but it's far from being a fully-formed human. Twitter user @emilynm41 responded to Wheeler's challenge with some informative tweets.

There's more...

Twitter | @emilynm41

This response illustrates just how empty the "it has arms and legs" argument is. Maybe, if you squint, it looks something like a fully-formed human being...but that doesn't mean it is a fully-formed human being.

It opens a larger debate.

Twitter | @emilynm41

The question of whether someone is alive or dead, particularly in brain-dead patients, can be a thorny one. If so much of life is dependent on brain activity, it's worth noting that there isn't any brain activity in a six-week-old embryo.

Someone brought some much-needed perspective.

If Wheeler cares so much for human life, what about all the human lives that are struggling in impoverished situations without any help from the government?

Pretty much.

Twitter | @CorrianderJelly

So many anti-abortion arguments seem to boil down to bad anatomy, along with putting emotions and what "feels" right ahead of medical science and the realities of human life.


Twitter | @Shaztok

I barely remember what happened last month, and certainly don't remember anything in detail before early childhood. Nobody remembers anything from their embryonic stage, because they literally didn't have a brain.

Stick around for the burn.

Twitter | @khashayar_ch

It's another fair point, as many lawmakers seem intent on giving a non-sentient inch-long embryo more rights than the woman who's carrying the embryo. The whole thing seems backwards.

I guess we all had tails at what point.

Twitter | @ChrisDaFrankLMT

There's a lot of diversity among vertebrates, but, in the beginning, they all share a few things in common. One of these is a tail. This image literally could be one of many vertebrates.

Someone pointed out what the image really looked like.

It looks less like a baby with fingers and limbs, and more like a dolphin. Dolphins are cute, but not worth sacrificing women's bodily autonomy.

Another person pointed out the similarities.

I doubt Wheeler cares too much particularly about the lives of a mouse embryo, despite how similar it is to a human one.

Wheeler's tweet is a bad faith argument.

Twitter | @pandapuerco

I think Josh meant to say "limbs", but either way, he's right: Wheeler's image doesn't contribute to the discourse and doesn't prove anything — whether it's a brain, limbs or even liberals.

The most important point.

Twitter | @its_me_lauraaa

If you're able to ignore the part about taking women's autonomy away, the pro-life argument might sound reasonable on the surface. But it falls apart when you consider that it ignores children who are struggling.