Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Men have no right to speak against abortion!

Unless you are a woman, you have no right to say anything about abortion, because you don’t know what it’s like to have to make the kinds of decisions a pregnant woman has to make.

Unless you are married, you have no right to say anything about wife beaters, because you don’t know what it’s like to be married to a woman.

Unless you’re a slave-owner, you have no right to say anything about slavery, because you don’t know what it’s like to be a plantation owner.

What do all three arguments have in common? They are all forms of the ad hominem fallacy. Anybody with a brain has a right to make an argument, and whether an argument is sound or not has nothing to do with who makes the argument. What makes an argument sound is if the premises are true and the conclusion follows from the premises.

8 Comments:

At 4/26/2005 5:20 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

During the Andrea Yates' case, a woman called into the Glenn Beck radio program to sympathize with Andrea and tell Glenn he couldn't have an opinion about it because he never carried and birthed a baby. I cannot believe there are women out there that actually feel that way. It's such a silly argument I can't imagine why everyone they spew it to doesn't just laugh in their face.

 
At 4/26/2005 5:33 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Hi Kelly. That's crazy. So you can't say it's wrong to drown your children unless you yourself have birthed children. Good grief!

After writing this, I went away to eat some waffles, and I got to thinking about something. What about women who have never been pregnant? I wonder if it's okay for them to argue against abortion.

I had another thought, but I forgot what it was.

 
At 4/26/2005 12:50 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

Oh yeah. I know I do all my best thinking over a stack of waffles, especially pecan waffles.

I think a better argument would be what about women who are infertile. Can they argue against abortion? Because it can be said that while a woman has never been pregnant, she still has the capacity to get pregnant.

Did you hear about this story? It's outrageous and sickening.

 
At 4/27/2005 4:12 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

That is really wild. Imagine if she wins the case, gets all that money, and later in life, her daughter asks, "Mom, how did you get all that money?" What's she gonna tell her?

 
At 4/27/2005 11:35 AM , Blogger daleliop said...

(In response to the OP)

You know what else these arguments have in common? An appeal to pity.

We're brought up to acknowledge other people's feelings, and be empathetic -- putting ourselves in their shoes. Statements like "men have no right to speak against abortion because they don't know what it feels like to be pregnant" are statements that play on our empathetic dispositions: we don't know how it feels like so we can't judge them.

I might respond by saying "but you don't know what it feels like to be a man. You don't have a right to tell me that I can't give an opinion about abortion because you don't have a Y chromosome."

A talking parrot can give an opinion about abortion. It doesn't matter who's saying it as long as the argument makes sense.

Sometimes these types of fallacies are hard to see because they superficially appeal to our intuitions or our emotions.

 
At 4/27/2005 3:49 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

Sam: That's what I want to know - what on earth is she going to tell her child? And now she says she wants and cherishes the child, but doesn't seem ashamed at all that she killed the other child ... ? It's sick.

Daleliop: That's a great point and one that's been on the tip of my tongue for weeks. You can't speak out against abortion/gay marriage/illegal immigration because you're not a woman/gay/or an illegal immigrant. And there are people who force this on themselves. I used to think abortion was OK for situations like rape or if the mother's life is in jeopardy because I've never been in those circumstances and don't understand how difficult it would be. That's a ridiculous line of thought. Murder is wrong, period. I just hope if I'm ever in either of those circumstances that God would give me the strength to do the right thing.

At any rate, the male/abortion argument is moot because if I try to argue with a pro-choice person, they still cut me down even though I'm a woman. If a man is pro-choice, then suddenly he's legit in pro-choice eyes.

 
At 4/27/2005 4:29 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

Basically, the argument is that we feel sorry for the mother so let her kill the baby. The problem is that the baby isn't the perpetrator. The baby is innocent.

You really do need lots of strength to make the right decision when you are in these situations. From here we are looking at them through the looking-glass but when you're actually inside everything is confusing and emotional. Very tough.

 
At 4/27/2005 6:13 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Dale, I think you make a very good point. If you have to be able to relate with somebody before you can make a moral judgment, then none of us are in any position to make any moral judgements. We're not even in any position to tell people they are in no position to make moral judgments for the simple reason that we're not them.

 

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