left biblioblography: Pro-Life/Anti-Life: The Frippery Of Framing And Overreaction.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pro-Life/Anti-Life: The Frippery Of Framing And Overreaction.

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!2008-11-14-speciesist-bigot

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’ –Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll.

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll bring it up again:

I am both pro-life and pro-choice. Not necessarily in that order.

I admit freely and without qualms, that I am a speciesist. In that vein alone, I am bigoted. I am a bigot towards my own species. It is not that I consider lesser species to be our slaves, toys, or any other ridiculous thing. I simply value human beings above other animals. As such, I do lend value to human embryos, zygotes, blastocysts, or other variations of how a child comes to be.

Hold it right there.

This isn’t meant to be an insinuation, an inference, an implication, that any of these stages have attained the value of personhood, especially contrasted with person of the mother. The woman gets a choice. Simple enough?

My point here, is that through all these years of blogging, I’ve seen numerous EPIC FAIL arguments because of the intense polarization of the dispute. And as polarizing arguments go, both sides go too far. Ours as well as theirs. I’ll cite a few:

A. The growing child in the womb is a parasite.
This fails spectacularly, because actually, parasites don’t detach from the host, grow up, and end up taking care of the host in the host’s golden years.
B. Anybody who is pro-life is a practitioner of ‘sperm magic’
Again, fails. Sperm is only one component, so this is the logical fallacy of composition, not to mention a strawman. I find this particularly obnoxious, so do avoid this stupidity.
C. Accusations of ‘ensoulment’. I don’t need supernatural tendencies to value a child, or the beginnings of a child.

I’m sure numerous others will be brought up, and I’ll deal with those on a case-by-case basis. Here’s the point that grinds my gears:

It’s not a ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ situation. To clarify, the two sides of the issue go to ridiculous extremes. The pro-lifers holler that an embryo has full personhood value, the pro-choicers holler that it has zero. (This is also the fallacy of the false dichotomy.) As it is in real life, the actual answer lies somewhere in-between. As does my point. It’s natural, a part of the human condition, that we go to extremes. You, me, everybody, in some order, in some way, we all go overboard. And on polarizing issues, well, the extreme is almost cliché.

I can pretty much get an all around agreement that the majority of readers here love children. Why do we? Because of all the near-magical possibilities, the potentialities that can reach into the future. Most cultures are based on potentialities anyways, that foresight, looking to the future. And there are fewer more powerful symbols of that than children.

And while being pro-choice as well, I can haul out an extreme (but extremely possible) example: if say a woman who was two days away from giving birth went nutso, and decided that she was carrying the Antichrist, and wanted it cut out of her, there’s no way I could stand by and mumble that I was ‘pro-choice’, because obviously this lady’s brain has landed somewhere south of Pluto and obviously she isn’t fit to make a decision of that import.

And let’s face it: abortion is a no-win situation. Nobody’s in favor of it ‘just because’ – there’s long-term ramifications that have to be examined on a case-to-case basis. Tubular pregnancies, incestual rape (or any rape for that matter), drug addiction – it’s a necessary evil. Not a cause for celebration for anyone. The biggest concern is poverty – because being poor means a lack of education, lack of security, lack of everything that would be optimal for a child’s upbringing. Concerns such as birth control, religious folderol, and varied other variables put forth by the far right in their efforts to control the common woman.

So a wee bit o’ advice: the next time you (figuratively) inhale to bellow at some nimbulb who’s blattering on about abortion, take a bit of a breath, and think first. It’s natural to take the other side of the argument and go to extremes (I’ve done it too, guilty!) – but we promote ourselves as the rational ones, and it behooves us to walk the talk as such.

And that, dear readers, is my nickel’s worth. Spend it freely, or sock it away for a rainy day.

Till the next post, then.

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Caitlin Heavener said...

You say a very late abortion is not okay, so at what point does a pregnancy reach the "an abortion at this point shouldn't be legal" stage, in your opinion? What factors do you consider in drawing that line?

Krystalline Apostate said...

Caitlin, I outlined all of that VERY clearly in my post, http://biblioblography.blogspot.com/2006/10/quickening.html
Go check it out.