Abortion is not a debate.

Those who debate abortion rights imply that there is something to debate. I walk a fine line when I discuss abortion rights and when I attempt to call out why anti-abortion and anti-bodily autonomy arguments are bullshit. But pointing out bullshit and explaining why it’s wrong is not debate. I know there is nothing to debate. Abortion must be legal. We must respect an individual’s right to do with their body as they will.

Faulty anti-abortion reasoning clouds heads. It is deliberate misdirection and outright lies, and it is intended to shift the focus from the fact that limiting abortion is a patriarchal-based effort to control women and what they do with their bodies. I want to help blow away the smoke and smash the mirrors. When I point out that an argument like “fetuses are people and deserve protection” is groundless, I hope that what’s left after all the smashing is, “Oh hey – those people just want to tell women how to behave and what they can do with their bodies.”

Pointing out bullshit is not admitting that there is anything worthwhile being said by those who said it. It’s simply calling out bullshit. We know that ignoring the dissemination of dangerous misinformation is not “taking the high road” – it’s letting dangerous misinformation be spread unchecked.

I understand the fear of not being allowed to control my body. I acutely feel the anger, frustration and resentment that comes from watching others debate a topic that affects me, but not them. I have had the pregnancy scares and the experience of being shamed for simply being female. I have spoken, listened and cried with women who have suffered the agony and desperation of an unwanted pregnancy. I have seen behind the mask of the gentle grandmotherly “sidewalk counselor” and heard the misogynistic bile that is spewed at women who visit abortion clinics. When I discuss the biology of pregnancy, or one meager facet of illogical anti-abortion rhetoric, it is not to enter into debate – it is to wage war.

Abortion is not a debate.

10 thoughts on “Abortion is not a debate.

  1. 2

    When I discuss the biology of pregnancy, or one meager facet of illogical anti-abortion rhetoric, it is not to enter into debate – it is to wage war.

    Damn straight. The anti-choice end goal isn’t ending abortion, it’s gaining control over people. As I’ve put it before:

    I suppose I should defend my use of “anti-choice.” The label “pro-life” implies that camp is more protective of life than the other side, but is that the case? I, too, think life is worthy of protection. Most of the pro-choice people I know would agree; it’s why we agree with doctors who refuse to abort without medical necessity past the 22-ish week mark, because the faetus *may* have gained consciousness and thus is a life worth protecting. We’re not sure about that, but we’d rather be safe than sorry.

    Both sides respect life, and I’d argue we protect it with equal passion. Where we differ is in where life starts. However, that doesn’t make for a snappy sales pitch, and so one side has declared themselves “pro-life” when they really don’t deserve the label.

    Studies have shown that making abortion illegal does not reduce the number of abortions, it merely pushes them underground, resulting in many physically and emotionally scarred women. The pro-choice side accepts this reality, and would rather compromise and offer up the choice of a safe, legal medical procedure instead. “Pro-lifers” ignore this reality, and restrict women’s choices both legally and socially; the latter by hammering in a message of guilt and shame. Since this is inherently negative, “anti-choice” seems much more accurate a label than “pro-life,” at least to me.

    If I’d change anything there, it’s the concession to secularism. I have to share this country with people who disagree with me, after all, so I have to be willing to compromise on my ideals, in this case by pulling back to viability.

    But as several others have put it:

    I will not accept a big tent that includes people who treat me and mine as less than human.

    Those people working for their rights are not looking to have their rights granted at the expense of anyone else’s. They are simply fighting for equal space and equal consideration in a field where everyone else’s rights are already recognized.

    What you are able to put on the table of public discourse are the things you don’t feel too threatened to let go of. During all my discussions on the topic before the debate it had never occurred to me that my ability to conduct the research and weigh the arguments in a reasonably dispassionate way was due to the fact that I simply will never have to face the decision to abort. I was discussing, and discoursing, and debating rights which are not mine to put up for discussion.

    I know there is nothing to debate. Abortion must be legal. We must respect an individual’s right to do with their body as they will.

    Compromising a fundamental right is not an option, even in the name of secularism.

  2. 4

    Pitchguest and Steersman have been banned from this blog (as one supporter wrote – they found one of the few FTB blogs from which they had not yet been banned), and all responses that were focused on rebutting their masturbatory oration have been removed. I’m sorry that y’all had your time wasted. I would have nipped this in the bud earlier, but they appeared sometime between midnight and 8am while I was sleeping. Continue on.

  3. 7

    Quirkythrope @5:

    …and nothing of value was lost.

    It even reminded me of an interesting parallel.

    The right to bodily integrity is just a special case of the right of ownership. Being able to control (or exclude from) an area is at the very core of our civilization, and for most of us the only thing we own for our entire lifespan is our own bodies*. This is partly why the bodily integrity right is so ridiculously powerful; the other part comes from the fact that it’s a “right,” or treated as an absolute truth. We only permit one way to challenge an absolute, and that’s to say it conflicts with another absolute. This explains why the anti-choice view immediately grabs for the right to life, when they get philosophical.

    This blog is another entity which can be owned, and like any property the person who owns it is free to control or exclude from it as they wish. As with abortion, the strongest counter-argument is to set up a rights conflict and argue your chosen right overrides the right of ownership.**

    Which means the FREEZE PEACH crowd is quite similar to the anti-choice crowd. Not identical, though, as our society does have laws that compromise exclusion via ownership in order to protect minorities from haras- … OK, maybe they are pretty identical.

    Also, trespass and “Stand Your Ground” laws are strong pro-abortion arguments.

    * The big exception to this is slavery, which makes the term “reproductive slavery” remarkably accurate.

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