This is the final part to my series, and though perhaps it was a bit of an ambitious first try, I feel pretty happy with having finished it. Certainly I'm quite glad to be able to put a definition on a lot of the ruts abortion debates get stuck in.
So, onward to the finish line.1. The average abortion supporter either does not understand basic biology or does not understand its significance to the abortion debate.2. The pro-choice strawmen have been held up for so long they are now simply assumed and no longer recognized as strawmen at all.3. The average abortion supporter does not understand how basic rights work.4. The average abortion supporter does not understand the first thing about the pro-life position.5. Abortion apologists do not recognize their own anti-feminism.6. The defense of abortion is steeped in bigotry in general.
This is lurking behind a lot
of pro-abortion arguments, but a recent LiveJournal kerfluffle over v-gifts for Planned Parenthood brought some of this out in fairly sharp relief. This exchange
I had, is particularly telling.
So, first is the obviously ideological intolerance, via supersamu
. My original comment was olny agreement with a pro-life person who had expressed disapproval for the PP fund-raising, but here anyone who disagrees with the abortion orthodoxy must be mocked and castigated
. To be clear, I absolutely approve of engaging with people who disagree with you. And not every ideology ought to be tolerated. But "you disgust me" does not constitute engagement in any sense whatsoever. Nor is the disgust of any one person, however justified they may feel in that disgust
, a sufficient argument for or against any given ideological position. It is simply an emotional reaction given voice as, in this case, an ad hominem
And next, we get the religious intolerance, with the hat tip to atheistkathleen
. Now, I don't know if kathleen looked at my LJ profile to determine that I am a religious person or if she just assumed I must be because I am pro-life. She didn't say. Instead, she chooses to represent her views on the subject with the comic strip you see in the link. The strip alleges that if one is religious, then one need not be concerned with abortion since the unborn are no doubt fast-tracked to Heaven. And that's totally awesome, right? I admit, I did laugh here, but not because the strip makes a good point. I laughed because if one accepted the logic put forward in it, the religious person could kill anyone at all, ever, for any reason, and feel morally justified in doing so
. Anyone whose entry into Heaven I feel reasonably confident on, I can kill if I like because they'll just go to Heaven and be so much better off. For that matter, anyone who is probably going to Hell will only be receiving the just and righteous punishment of a holy God, and my killing them is nothing they did not already deserve. Any human anywhere is fair game. After all, since it's all in God's hands, I've got nothing to worry about, right?
So much for the atheist dictating how a religious person is allowed to think.
And last we come to the the direct prejudice of the abortion apologist, spelled out in this series of posts
by a user called dark_persian
. You can read her comments for yourself, but the argument she puts forward runs something like this.
1. The unborn are not developed, and are therefore only fetuses.
2. A fetus is not a person.
3. Anything not a person is morally irrelevant and therefore abortion is not wrong.
Setting aside for the moment that the above argument makes no logical sense whatsoever, and contains a rather massive unsupported assertion in the form of point two, look at the attitude lurking behind points one and two. Because it's true that a fetus is not developed. Or rather, is not as developed
as a born child. But a born child is not as developed as me. Now in the case of me versus the born child, everyone agrees that that doesn't make my life more valuable than the child's (unless those people are named Alberto Giubilini, Francesca Minerva
, or Peter Singer
that is, but that is perhaps a rant for another post) but in the case of the born child versus the unborn one every developmental label suddenly acquires a moral significance that those after birth mysteriously lack. "Fetus," rather than simply being the technical label for a human being who is exactly as developed as they ought to be for the age that they are
, has the implied, unspoken, but clearly obvious
meaning of "not a person." Why
"not a person" gets attached to things like pain-capability or neural development prior to birth is never explored. In fact, it is never argued at all. Everyone obviously knows this, and pointing out that this assertion is unsupported and totally illogical is met with shock and confusion.This is exactly what bigotry looks like. Always.
Every time it is expressed, it is fueled by exactly
this attitude. It is the unquestioned belief that some group of human beings are not people because they possess or lack something that you don't. In the case of abortion, the unborn lack birth. Therefore they are "only" fetuses and may be kept or discarded with moral impunity. Why the word "only" goes before "fetus," or indeed, what possible reason could justify discarding any human from the group "people" in the first place, is not discussed or established. Such a reason is simply assumed to exist.
Which leads to the end of the discussion, provided by koshkabegemot
. Having failed to shame me into backing off with ad hominem
, having failed to illicit any response by mocking my religion, and having failed to lecture me into apologizing for my rhetorical choices, ad hominem
is the only response left. And koshkabegemot gleefully engages, whilst busily engaging some of the biology!fail I talked about way back in part one
. I have found her comments so ridiculous and self-defeating that I don't believe they merit a response.
I see these six things happening in nearly every abortion debate I encounter. Frustrating, no? But, I stack them up against the momentum of the pro-life movement legislatively, culturally, and globally, and I am certain it is a matter of time until they, and legal abortion, finally fade. Abortion will be
abolished. I am confident it is fully possible for us to see it in our lifetimes. So I encourage all of you, when facing these roadbumps, don't give up. Science, logic, and human rights are on the side of life.
And, speaking on science, I plan on joining in on a new project starting next week called Life After 40. And here is the video on it.