Hunter Avallone is an outspoken, very sarcastic video maker on YouTube, but his most recent video I thought was quite different. I found it very interesting because it included many things that I agreed with as well as many things that I disagreed with, so I thought I would respond to Hunter on this rare occasion.
Hunter opens the video by first tackling the range of criticisms he usually gets about the fact that he’s a man talking about an apparent “women’s issue”. I really loved how he addressed this, as I have always believed that abortion should involve men as equally as women. A baby is not defined only by their mother; the father should always be made aware of the unborn baby, given 50% of the rights to that baby, and given 50% of the choice towards abortion. Obviously, the impact on the mother if the pregnancy does go ahead is physically much greater in terms of the changes to the body and the pain and risk during the birth, but the choice of having a child should also sit with the father.
This warped idea that “only women can talk about abortion” is also so belittling to the power of an individual’s opinion. For example, I may not experience the horrific conditions in underdeveloped countries, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not entitled to my opinion or am allowed to be an advocate for raising awareness for those conditions. As Hunter puts it…
“Whether I’m a man or not, I’m going to speak
out when I see something I don’t agree with,”
This is the main reason why I wanted to write a response for this particular video, as I appreciate that everyone deserves their own thoughts and opinions and nothing should take that away from us. I understand that I may strongly disagree with Hunter in certain points of the video, and I am going to criticise his ideas, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he has every right to express his ideas without being silenced or undervalued.
Hunter then talks about the main argument that feminists and social-justice warriors scream which is “My body, My choice,” basically stating that pregnant women should always get a choice to abort their babies. He goes on to provide facts and evidence that an unborn fetus has different DNA to the mother, and can have a different blood type, which all supports the notion that your baby grows inside you but isn’t a part of you. The baby is a separate being and should have their own right to live, and shouldn’t be grouped with the rights and decisions of the mother. Hunter uses the clever car analogy to describe this further; if you’re in your car, you rely on certain aspects of the car to keep you alive but you are not the car, you are separate.
I do agree with this, however I think that Hunter should have more empathy for young mothers who are forced to go through pregnancy and child birth because of one stupid mistake. Mothers may not have complete control over the fetus as it is not technically “their body”, but they should have a choice as to whether they can safely carry and care for the life. I’m also partial to the idea that yes, the baby should have their own right as they are a complete individual, but they literally don’t have the ability to make decisions on their life. A new born baby can’t make decisions, and a child is still the responsibility of their legal guardians until they reach adulthood, so, in this case, isn’t the right of the fetus given to the parents?
The following point in the video discusses the idea that abortions take place when the unborn baby is just a clump of cells and isn’t actually “alive” yet. Hunter disagrees with this completely and provides studies that prove that life begins at conception, and that unborn babies can feel pain as early as 8 weeks.
“If you still believe this to be a blob of cells, you’re wrong and you’re in denial of science. The fetus is a human being, no matter what stage of development they’re in,”
Hunter believes that killing an innocent fetus is inhumane. It’s obvious that Hunter feels strongly about this issue but I think the idea that an abortion is inhumane is kind of dramatic. The word inhumane is defined as being without compassion for suffering, and I think generalising all abortions and the process of abortions like this is unfair. I will admit that some abortions can be seen as inhumane, and some individuals who get abortions may not care about the life that they are killing. There are also certainly individuals who utilise abortions excessively, almost as birth control.
Viewing abortions without compassion can be inhumane, but, just because women have abortions, doesn’t mean that they don’t feel pain or empathy for the baby that they are denying life to. I agree that some pro-choice groups may disregard the idea that a life is being murdered, and draws this image that abortion is all great and not harmful. This view can be toxic as individuals might then start viewing abortions without compassion, or “inhumanely”.
In addition, I don’t know whether abortion was created to be inhumane, or just to help men and women correct their mistake, and to have more freedom and choice before being thrown into parenthood. Hunter expressing this broad, black-and-white statement that all abortions and the abortion industry are inhumane, is just not accurate.
Hunter then goes on to show information on how an abortion is performed, emphasising the pain of using a suction tube, inserted into the cervix, to rip the unborn baby from the womb. Hunter continues to state that, as the fetus can feel pain after 8 weeks, how inhumane the whole thing is. I think that it’s important that, although the suction procedure may be the most common type of abortion that is carried out, it is not the only technique. Early abortions, using pills, appear similar to a miscarriage; not all abortions involve removing a formed baby from it’s sanctuary. I mean, it’s not fair that miscarriages happen, but is Hunter saying that if a miscarriage was caused by the health of the mother, or by some other “preventable” reason, that that is still wrong and inhumane?
Hunter includes a video called “The Silent Scream”, which shows a scan of a 12 week old fetus being aborted, whereby it appears that the unborn baby is scared, and distressed as it is being sucked out of the womb which is quite disturbing and thought-provoking. It’s clear now that things like this do happen and that some aborted babies can look almost fully-formed, and may feel pain, but this doesn’t mean that all abortions happen this way. Women who have early abortions are more likely to experience an induced miscarriage of blood and clots, which is not the same as painfully murdering a child.
Hunter continues to speak about abortions that take place later on in the pregnancy, when the baby is more developed, emphasising that “even abortionists themselves know the inhumanity that comes with the procedure”. Hunter really does love the word “inhumane”, but inhumanity is subjective. Some people may think that eating animals is inhumane, whilst others may believe cutting down excessive trees for resources is inhumane. Most Western laws obviously believe that abortions are not inhumane, and I’m sure that these laws have helped so many young and scared girls.
The video then goes on to address some common arguments that pro-choice groups use to support abortion, the first being the right of the mother. Hunter argues this by saying that the mother has the right to choose whether to have sex and whether to use contraception. I really didn’t think that this was fair as no contraception is 100% effective, and instances where men and women take all the correct precautions may still result in pregnancy; does that make the choice of abortion their fault? I also thought that this was very harsh on young, uneducated teenagers, and I think Hunter would have a better use of his time if he were to criticise the education system and the stigma behind sex education so that young people are more aware of the risks.
Is it really fair to make young couples feel guilty, or scared, about asking for support for an unwanted pregnancy? In times and places where abortion was illegal, and young women felt completely alone and ostracised, a lot of them would try and create a miscarriage which is dangerous and can harm or even kill the mother. So, maybe it is the lesser of two evils to provide safe, hygienic abortions, including therapy for the couple, to prevent worst circumstances.
The video then explains that the unborn baby has rights just like the parents (as I’ve said, it is hard for a fetus to have those rights when it doesn’t understand the concept and can’t communicate – so maybe that right should return back to the parents), and Hunter uses the word “recklessness” to describe accidental pregnancies. I understand there are people who are mature and experienced enough to take the necessary precautions during sex and still decide not to, using abortion generously without remorse or understanding the impacts, but maybe these people should not be generalised to all the young individuals who genuinely regret their mistake and feel terrible about it.
The next argument that people can give to support abortion is the “What about rape!?” question and Hunter tackles this wonderfully by providing statistics to say that only 0.3% of abortions are carried out because of rape, and that feminists shouldn’t be focusing on such a small minority of the issue. I agree that rape is overstated in these discussions, but if Hunter is trying to encourage abortion to be made illegal in every case, I wouldn’t agree with this, because I think as much support as possible should be given to rape survivors.
Then Hunter talks about the justification for abortion that claims that the babies might have a bad life, saying that this is ridiculous and that this can’t take away from the fact that any kind of life is better than killing a baby before it’s had a chance to live. I understand that, in the majority of cases, abortions are carried out because of circumstance and choice of the parents, not due to the fear that the baby might have a bad life. However, some people who go through with abortion do so because they feel that they won’t be able to provide for their baby economically.
I think Hunter needs to understand that some couples live in poverty, or are unemployed, and they may believe that it is better to painlessly kill an unborn life, than to raise them and see them starve or grow up in a bad neighbourhood becoming involved in drugs and crime, maybe even to be painfully killed later on. If the parents have enough money and are in a stable environment, then, as Hunter says, there are no excuses for the fact that they are denying a life from living just because they can’t be bothered. However, I like to think that some abortions are similar to when animals are put down because of painful injuries that will inevitably kill them later on. In those cases, it is “humane” to kill them before they suffer.
Hunter seems to quickly end the video by brushing past the option of adoption, saying that it is very beneficial, with some programmes providing financial assistance, housing and support to the mother. I agree that more publicity and focus should be put on adoption as an option, however Hunter appears to think that adoption has exactly the same result for the mother as abortion and this is just not true at all. What Hunter doesn’t discuss is that pregnancy is hard, especially for young girls who are in school. Depending on the individual, pregnancy can be time-consuming, painful, stressful, hormonal, sleep-depriving, sickening, mentally-harmful and embarrassing for both parents. Pregnancy also physically changes the mother, and for a teenager already going through puberty, insecurity and self-discovery, this can be terrifying. If both the parents are trying to go to school, pass exams and grow up themselves, pregnancy can be very disruptive. Adoption is not as efficient as abortion in these cases.
I am really glad that Hunter made this video because it’s very interesting to hear a conflicting opinion and he spoke about a lot of things I feel most people forget when it comes to this topic. In my opinion, this video is slightly unfair towards pro-choice activists; Hunter doesn’t really look at the different reasons abortions take place, and generalises the types of people who may have abortions and the abortion procedures. However, there were things that I strongly agreed with in the video and I have realised that extreme pro-choice communities do sugar-coat and gloss over the facts that an abortion is denying a human life, and I think more women should be educated on the different options and their benefits.
In some way, I think that Hunter and I share the view that abortion should be re-taught in schools. I would like young girls to be told that abortion is an option but it comes with consequences; they shouldn’t feel guilty if they feel that abortion is the only option but should consider all the other options first. Everything starts with education and if teenagers were given sufficient sex education and taught that, even though we have the ability to have an abortion, it does suck.
I would like to finish by clarifying that my opinion has changed because of Hunter’s video. It’s rare to see someone talk about this issue so bluntly and openly, and I praise Hunter for taking that risk. Before watching ‘The Problem with Abortion’ I saw abortion as a safety net if I ever fell pregnant and appreciated it because of that but now I have realised, although I don’t want a child right now, I am mature enough to go through pregnancy and adoption in order to give life to a little human. The main thing to take away from this video is that maybe some activists should stop encouraging abortion, and calling this “pro-choice”, and start actually encouraging the choice of the mother and father, giving couples all of their different options, allowing for more power and knowledge alongside their own individual values and beliefs, to make an informed decision, instead of being pressured into abortion.