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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Should Men Stay Out of the Abortion Issue?

Does this sound familiar: “Seventy percent of pro-lifers are men, and 100% will never be pregnant!”? How about this: “Pro-lifers are nothing but old white men who want to send women back to the dark ages where they are pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen, breastfeeding twins!”?

These types of argument commit a logical fallacy known as the ad hominem attack, which means you attack “the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument.” This article was inspired by another article on a blog making the argument that all men in the abortion issue should be silenced.

The seventy percent statistic, unsurprisingly, is simply made up. [1] The next time you hear that, ask them to justify their statement. There are many pro-life women who make the same arguments that pro-life men do. But even if we did fall under the pro-choice stereotype of pro-life people, how does that negate our arguments? Even if we were all misogynistic old men, how would that suddenly make killing innocent unborn human beings moral? Remember that arguments don’t have gender, people do.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Roe v. Wade was decided on by nine men. If men must stay out of the abortion issue, we must keep them out of the issue on both sides. So we would have to overturn Roe v. Wade. But that’s not all. If your contention is that men must stay out because they have never been pregnant so they can’t understand what it’s like, would you say that women who have never been pregnant should stay out, too? “Well,” you might say, “women can at least get pregnant. Men should stay out because they can never get pregnant.” Then would you also say that women who are incapable of becoming pregnant should also stay out of the abortion issue?

Should white people who have never owned slaves, never had the means to own slaves, or were never slaves themselves, have stayed out of the slavery issue? Were non-Jews wrong for opposing the Holocaust? Abortion is a human rights issue, just like slavery and the Holocaust were.

Standing against injustice is right for everyone, not simply someone of a particular gender, race, religion, and so on. Trying to quiet one gender from speaking out is, itself, a sexist position. As Martin Luther King Jr. has famously said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” [2]

The preceding article has appeared on the Secular Pro-Life blog, as well as in a National Right to Life Committe newsletter.
[1] According to a 2011 Gallup Poll, 46% of pro-life people are men, and 44% are women. By contrast, pro-choice people are pretty evenly split -- 50% are women, and 49% are men (it’s unclear where the missing 1% is, perhaps people who forgot or neglected to fill out the “gender” portion of the survey).
[4] Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.

1 comment:

  1. This article appeared in December 2012's edition of the Christian Carnival! Readers can vote for their favorite submission here:!topic/christian-carnival-ii/51ZCxfBvioo Winner will be posted on the Christian Carnival blog on December 15.