Viva Voce
Somewhat Rambly at Times, Though...
Things That Are Making Abortion Debates More Like Merry-Go-Rounds, Part the Second 
2nd-Apr-2011 11:11 am
elle4life: (pearls)
After a brief hiatus, I think it's time for the second entry in this series, and so, having laid the groundwork for what I'm talking about in the first entry, I'm going to dive right in with the second thing I learned.

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.

This point is unfortunately more depressing. Because, I'm perfectly capable of recognizing that "anti-life"--despite how satisfying it is to say sometimes--is not the mentality of an abortion supporter, however much their support of abortion is anti-life. And as much as I do agree that we live in a Culture of Death (and this concept is analogous to the concept of Rape Culture), I don't really think that a pro-choice person is deliberately out to perpetuate a Culture of Death, even if they are doing that in fact. And while I agree that intent is less important than impact (especially when the impact is that people die), intent is not irrelevant. Someone who acts without malice is not necessarily a bad person, even if their actions are bad.

However, among the abortion apologists, there are a number of strawmen that have been built up about pro-lifers. And it seems that, after creating them, the abortion defenders then put armor on them, because they're tossed out so casually and so often that sometimes they're simply assumed rather than being stated.

"I'm sorry, you can't be liberal and be pro-life. Liberalism is all about the choice, and you clearly don't like the choice when it comes to your own gender." ~ grazie
Pro-lifers want to take away people's freedoms.

"Isn't it amazing how I shouldn't be allowed to make the same choices for myself that a 38-year-old taxpaying professional male who has a sex life is allowed to make?" ~ veronica_rich
Pro-lifers hate women. Also, pro-lifers want men to have more power. There are a few more hidden assumptions in here, but they go under other points.

"You do realize that to be pro-life, by the movement's definition of the term, you have to be against all abortions, right? You can't live and let live, which is kind of crucial to the idea you're trying to sell here?" ~ grazie again
Pro-lifers are just nosy busybodies trying to force everyone to agree with them.

"I see what you mean to say, but I think the problem is that you're identifying "pro-life" by your personal terms, not by how the term is used politically by the anti-choice movement. THEY refuse too acknowledge the "anti-choice" label, though it is more accurate." ~ veronica_rich again
My perception of pro-lifers is more accurate than everyone else's. Pro-lifers want to take away freedom again, too.

"Pro-life is a misnomer of the foulest degree. They are not "pro-life", it's a happy little lie they tell themselves. They are anti-choice. They are Forced Birthers. They are attempting to dictate that all a woman can do - MUST do is carry a child against her will." ~ taleya
...Well, at least these strawmen aren't hiding.

There are fewer of these comments than there were of the You Fail Biology Forever variety (although those have, unfortunately, grown in number since I last looked at the thread!), but there are enough. I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't find the "Pro-lifers are all religious nutballs" strawman on here, given that it is probably the most common one out there, but I suppose there's always YouTube for that one. But these will do to be going on with.

Because you see the way they're used? They're not stacked up as part of an argument, they are stated as if they are fact. By a large enough number of people that the conclusion is inescapable. It is apparent that there is at least a large minority of abortion supporters who genuinely believe that the pro-life movement is full of people who get up in the morning, rub their hands together gleefully and think, "How can I spread misery and unhappiness today?"


No, really. Wut?

Think about this for a moment, reasonably. That doesn't even make sense! Gallup Polling has demonstrated that over the past decade-and-a-half, the number of pro-lifers in America has been on a steady climb. There are now more pro-life than pro-choice people in the US. The lowest percentage of pro-life people in the top chart was in 1995, at 33%. So unless just about 50% of Americans can be reasonably classified as mustache-twirling, black-hat-wearing, cartoonish villains, this caricature is just...dumb.

Unfortunately, it isn't one that's limited to the average abortion supporter. RH Reality Check, Feministing, Feministe, The Abortion Gang, Abortioneers... I'm not even going to bother quotemining those guys, because these attitudes are all over the place, regardless of how nonsensical they are. The strawmen are not supported by any facts at all, but everyone believes that they're true anyway.

I think that there's a real inability, on the part of those who do believe this, to see outside of their own mental box, however much they claim they're just being tolerant and non-judgmental. Because any idiot will tell you that no movement of any sort would ever be as successful as the pro-life movement has been if it were centered around pure, unadulterated cruelty. But these people--who are not all idiots--really think that. My guess is because they can't imagine seeing any other perspective but the one that they have. The only reason to think these things about the pro-life movement (or any social justice movement to which one is opposed) is to be fundamentally unable to access their point-of-view, even for the sake of argument or comprehension.

Which is really a depressing commentary on the abortion-friendly mentality, to be honest.

Still, I'll leave things on an upbeat note. This video was created by Students for Life of America (a wonderful organization), and is so hopeful and celebratory (with some great shots of the March for Life, too) that it can't fail to lift your spirits.

25th-Apr-2011 11:41 am (UTC)
kribban: (Default)
Oh this is depressing! It didn't use to be like this. Back in the nineties there could be calm or even constructive debate. I don't know what made the debate so heated, but now you can barely stick your neck out in the abortion debate before otherwise sane, calm people start screaming and flinging ad hominems at you. What happened to pro-choicers, huh?

Do you ever participate in these debates, and if so, do you do it anonymously?

Oh that's a beautiful video! Thanks for sharing it!
29th-Apr-2011 10:38 pm (UTC) - Just a few points
Just wanted to point out a few things about some of those arguments:

"I'm sorry, you can't be liberal and be pro-life. Liberalism is all about the choice, and you clearly don't like the choice when it comes to your own gender"

I don't know what this person is talking about. Liberalism is not about choice it is about equality and compassion for everyone, it's about looking out for the 'little person'. With abortion, you are literally killing the little person. Being pro-choice means taking away a rights to the unborn to advance your own rights, that is not equality. I know they might say we don't know if the unborn are people or if they should have rights. To assume you can define personhood for someone else isn't liberal either. The compassionate thing to do is to err on the side of caution and assume the unborn are people if you care about life, that's what liberalism is.

"Isn't it amazing how I shouldn't be allowed to make the same choices for myself that a 38-year-old taxpaying professional male who has a sex life is allowed to make?"

I'm not sure what this means, what choice is she talking about? Men don't have the choice to abort either let alone the capability. Abortion doesn't make you equal to men, it gives you special right, the right to kill your child.

Just because men aren't able to get pregnant like women doesn't mean women don't have equal rights, it's nature not society that made things that way.

It's essential to keep knocking down these strawmen because once you get past them, the pro-choice arguments are pretty thin.
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