(although it doesn’t hurt).
You just have to actually be willing to see past the smokescreens, doublethink and red-herrings. Take Nate Hentoff, for example:
A famous liberal who was a staple at the Village Voice and who had a column in the Washington Post, in the 1980s Hentoff actually let himself be swayed by evidence about abortion. It happened when Hentoff was reporting on the case of Baby Jane Doe.
Baby Jane Doe was a Long Island infant born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, which is excess fluid in the cranium. With surgery, spina-bifida babies can grow up to be productive adults. Yet Baby Jane’s parents, on their doctor’s advice, had refused both surgery to close her spine and a shunt to drain the fluid from her brain. In resisting the federal government’s attempt to enforce treatment, the parents pleaded privacy.
As Hentoff told the Washington Times in a 1989 profile, his “curiosity was not so much the case itself but the press coverage.” Everyone on the media was echoing the same talking points about “women’s rights” and “privacy.”
“Whenever I see that kind of story, where everybody agrees, I know there’s something wrong,” Hentoff told the Times. says. “I finally figured out they were listening to the [parents’] lawyer.”
Hentoff dug into the case and the abortion industry at large, and what he found shocked him. He came across the published reports of experiments in what doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital called “early death as a management option” for infants “considered to have little or no hope of achieving meaningful ‘humanhood.'” He talked with handicapped people who could have been killed by abortion.
Hentoff is right that catch phrases like, “women’s rights”, “women’s health” etc. are just distractions from what the argument is actually about. In the case of a murder by stabbing, it’s silly to talk about the property rights of the guy who owns the knife; it’s the rights of the guy getting stabbed that are the point. And if an individual does not have certain natural rights by dint of being genetically human (i.e.: if the rights are not derived from scientific fact about what counts as a human being), then what counts as the prerequisites for rights is determined by an agreed upon convention. Which basically amounts to saying that we get to decide who counts as sufficiently human enough to merit rights and who doesn’t. And we all know how well that has worked out for us historically.