Why Can’t the Left Discuss Abortion? | Calvin Robinson
Recent events on social media have once again highlighted some on the left’s inability to have a reasoned debate about anything serious, without resorting to unhelpful rhetoric. While pretending to be liberal and progressive, their actions show them up to be anything but. Abortion is, of course, a highly emotive topic that may bring with it terrible memories and awful shared experiences, and I in no way wish to undermine those very legitimate feelings. I do, however, think it’s a topic worthy of respect and one that is far too important to ignore.
This article isn’t an opportunity to argue the pro-life case; we’re simply not there yet. There’s little point going into the reasons why it’s considered essential to protect the sanctity of life at all costs, because the levels of cognitive dissonance we’d be combating would mean the message couldn’t possibly hit home. Instead, let’s argue for the ability to engage in a sensible conversation about abortion.
It’s incredibly difficult to raise the topic without hearing the phrase “no uterus, no opinion”. This is not a reasonable argument; It’s a mantra that’s repeated in order to close down the debate, an attempt to censor and no-platform the opposition. Why bother to win an argument when you can close it down entirely? Well, because by closing down the discussion you merely stifle it – you don’t win it. You push both sides further into their entrenched perspectives and thus further perpetuate the level of disdain. It’s practically the same message pushed by certain activists who claim that white people shouldn’t be allowed to talk about race issues; it’s nonsense and ultimately counter-productive.
Thankfully, in this democratic nation, every man and woman is free to form an opinion on any issue. They’re also allowed to express those opinions, should they wish, provided they’re not hateful or discriminatory. Now, one may disagree with someone’s stance, but to declare it hateful or discriminatory just because one happens to disagree with it is disingenuous and again counter-productive to reasoned debate. So for the sake of argument let’s move past the point of who is and isn’t ‘allowed’ to debate the topic, and assume that a free man in a free nation should be able to form an opinion without lynch mobs reaching for their pitchforks.
The second major problem with the ‘pro-choice’ camp is that when they are not trying to shut down the debate entirely, by yelling “nO uTeruS nO oPiNiOn”, they attempt to shift the argument away from the matter at hand, the abortion, and on to the woman making the decision to obtain one. This becomes a women’s rights or ‘equalities’ issue, when in fact, it is neither. What’s interesting in this argument, is that the same people who’d insist a person doesn’t need a uterus to be a woman are the same people claiming that only women can have an opinion on abortion, because women are the ones carrying babies. Either it’s possible for everyone to carry babies, or it’s a role reserved for women. It’s very odd to switch definitions of what constitutes a woman in order to win a particular argument. For the sake of consistency, let’s assume women carry babies and men don’t. That’s not a choice we make, and in no way a comment on the trans movement, more a statement on the complementary nature of human beings.
Furthermore, the issue of equal rights is a peculiar one, because nobody is arguing that women don’t have a right in this matter, or that they shouldn’t have equal rights. What’s interesting though, is that the pro-choice lobby tends to claim that women should have more rights than men in this instance and that the sole responsibility of the unborn child falls upon the mother. The idea that such a life-changing decision – a final decision – belongs only to the mother with no consultation is frankly astounding. “Well, why don’t you carry a baby for nine months then” is a silly argument often raised at this point. Many men would, if it were possible, choose to carry their child. It is not, so there is little we can do about that point. It does, however, take two people to make a baby. Procreation is not a solo-task; both parties are responsible for the inception of the child. Should the baby be born, both parties will be responsible for its upbringing. If the mother carries said baby to term, the father would be expected, and rightly so, to care for the baby. At the very least, he’d be legally obliged to provide monetary contributions, that is a responsibility fathers cannot and should not avoid. Fathers have rights too; a child is not the sole ‘property’ of the mother.
Ideally, children would be brought up in loving environments with both parents, but it’s not a perfect world, and that’s not always possible. The circumstances that lead to women considering abortions in the first place are often dire and mostly unavoidable. It’s for that reason that it’s not an issue of rights. It is an issue of responsibility. Men need to take more responsibility in their actions and in considering the consequences of those actions. In a secular, post-Enlightenment society where casual sex is the norm, contraception shouldn’t be considered the responsibility of women alone. We need to better educate our young men. We should be teaching them that sex is a most intimate act, best practised between a husband and wife, or at the very least, two loving partners.
We also need to work harder to prevent rape and other forms of sexual abuse. We’ve spent too long blaming the victims and not enough time educating young men to adequately control their impulses. Before we can truly face abortion, we need to face the situations that bring many young women to the unfortunate belief that it’s their only option.
If abortion were a rights issue, surely before considering the rights of the father and the mother, we’d have to take into consideration the rights of the baby. After all, the baby is the most vulnerable party in this matter. An unborn child cannot speak for itself, so we must advocate on his/her behalf. It’s at this point the pro-choice lobbyists are probably screaming at their screen “IT’S NOT A BABY, IT’S A CLUMP OF CELLS”. Well, indeed, what are we all if not a collection of cells? This attempt to de-humanise the baby to make the decision easier is the most repulsive of all. We won’t go into the graphical imagery of how babies are ‘aborted’ and removed from the mother, piece by piece. This is not the place for that, have a search on Google in your own time, if you care to educate yourself on the matter. These gross illustrations may have a shock factor – much like when a vegan presents videos of crammed chicken farm to a meat eater – but they’re not helpful to the direction of the conversation. The language here may be troublesome for some, but the product of a man and a woman procreating is a baby, a child.
We’re at risk of presenting a pro-life argument here, so let’s get back to the point. That this is not a woman’s issue, and it’s not about men trying to tell women what they can or cannot do with their bodies. The moment we start talking about the unborn child inside of the mother, we’re no longer talking about the mother’s body. Regardless, there are situations where it is considered okay to tell someone what they can do to their body. We don’t have complete bodily autonomy. It’s illegal to drink and drive; you’d be advised against smoking whilst pregnant, and as of last year, your organs are automatically donated upon your death. The state has much more say over our bodies than we might at first assume. When it comes to protecting another human life inside of us, it’s surely not overstepping one’s marks to have an opinion on the matter.
Merely voicing a pro-life opinion attracts an incredible amount of vitriol from the opposition, those we call pro-choice. This is particularly interesting, because we’ve been quite charitable in using those definitions, when in fact the ‘pro-choice’ lobby often goes way beyond arguing for a women’s choice and regress to the outright promotion and celebration of abortion. In a recent Twitter exchange lobbyists from the PC camp tweeted that they would “Yeetus the foetus” along with animated gifs of women throwing away babies. This isn’t a one-off either, #ShoutYourAbortion is a campaign with an aim to remove “sadness, shame or regret” around abortion and promote “destigmatisation, normalisation, and putting an end to shame”. No matter your stance on the issue, surely regret and sadness are normal human emotions you’d expect to feel after an abortion? Even if you consider abortion legitimate under certain circumstances, surely those circumstances would be best avoided. Abortion should always be a sombre act, the last resort. After all, whatever words you use to describe the baby, supporting a woman’s choice to end that life is a serious one. That’s never something worth celebrating.
There’s having a pragmatic approach to modern society and the consequences of the normalisation of promiscuous behaviour. Then there’s just promoting the premature termination of life as a matter of convenience. The former is somewhat understandable, at least. The latter, however, well the less said about that, the better.
Photo by Irish_Rosie on Flickr.