David McDonnough, an evangelical apologist who writes at Applied Faith, penned a thoroughly interesting post on the language used in the abortion debate: Plan-B” and Other Twisted Words Of Murder. The opening salvo gets right to the point of the article and implores the reader to “use accurate and correct words,” to which all rational people exclaim, “Yes! A thousand Yes’s!” He elaborates:
This article is not written to focus on the theology of using contraception. It is written to focus on the right or wrong of correctly identifying the truth about words that describe abortion and abortifacient drugs. It is about telling the truth to mothers facing a profound and life-altering choice. It is about language that makes the difference between life and death. Let’s stop accepting spin-words about abortion.
In a comment David expounds on this idea, cementing his plea by stating: “Honesty and accuracy is all I am advocating.” Honesty, accuracy, truth in the language used: this is David’s appeal to all, and so it is a shame then that David, like most evangelicals who dip their toe into this subject, can’t actually be honest, accurate, or truthful. In no uncertain terms, David is in fact the embodiment of the sin he is trying to smear others with. You see, in his wordy and rhetorical article—an article wholly given over to the language used in the abortion debate—David uses the words “kill” and “murder” with unapologetic abandon. In his article—an article on language—there are no qualifiers or room for conjecture: abortion, as David presents, is killing and murder. That is his language, but a simple question, however, reveals the dishonesty, falsehood, and lies of David’s chosen language:
How can you “kill” something that cannot “die”?
It is a question I presented to David which, somewhat predictably, he refused to address. He refused to engage it because he knew his entire post (an article which called for honesty, accuracy, and truth in the language used) would be exposed as nothing but an exercise in deceit masquerading as something “thoughtful.”
The simple fact is this: nothing is being “killed,” and nothing is certainly being “murdered.” To kill something means to end its life, and there is simply no legal, scientific or medical way anyone can argue that a foetus before week 25 (but more reasonably, week 27/28) can be “killed.”
At no stage does “life” magically appear in a zygote, a blastocyst, embryo, or foetus. Life began on earth 3.8 billion years ago and hasn’t been interrupted since. A foetus was never inorganic and suddenly becomes organic. The definition of a distinct human “life” therefore is when its twin, “death,” enters the picture. One cannot have a defined ‘life’ without that life being able to ‘die.’ Without death there is no life. The former begets the latter. The latter assigns meaning to the former. One delineates the other, and the legal, medical, and scientific definition of death is not in dispute. Death is when electroencephalography (EEG) activity ceases.
In 1979, the Conference of the Medical Royal Colleges, “Diagnosis of death” declared: “brain death represents the stage at which a patient becomes truly dead.” This was updated in the 1980s and 1990s to state that brainstem death, as diagnosed by UK criteria, is the point at which “all functions of the brain have permanently and irreversibly ceased.” It was further still updated in 1995 (to present) to state, “It is suggested that ‘irreversible loss of the capacity for consciousness, combined with irreversible loss of the capacity to breathe’ should be regarded as the definition of death.” This is mirrored in the U.S’s Uniform Determination of Death Act (§ 1, U.L.A. ) which states: “An individual whose brain stem (lower brain) has died is not able to maintain vegetative functions of life, including respiration, circulation, and swallowing [is dead].” And this is equally mirrored in the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Statement on Death and Organ Donation, which defines death as: a) Irreversible cessation of all function of the brain of the person.
Evidently, the legal, scientific, and medical definition of death is quite clear. Death is the cessation of sustained brain activity, and sustained brain activity only begins in the developing foetus at week 25, although full bilateral synchronisation is not established until week 27/28. By these simple and indisputable facts it is clear, therefore, that one cannot “kill” something that cannot “die.” Said in another way, something cannot be turned Off that is not On, and to argue anything to the contrary is patently absurd.
And with that, David is exposed for his deliberate lies. Alone, his purposeful dishonesty in a post which beseeches all to be honest and accurate and truthful in the language they use speaks volumes to the degenerate and deceitful depths the clouded evangelical mind will stoop to so as to present their perverted view of the world. Alone, David’s article is just another striking example of why no reasonable and rational person (official or otherwise) should listen to religious fundamentalists in matters concerning the execution of our secular societies.