I knew, when posting yesterday’s article, that I would come up against the opposing view. And so it was offered on my social media page. I’m concerned, however, that my arguments may have been lost in the satire or potentially inflammatory language; thus in the interest of informed dialogue, I’m reprinting (can one use that term when referencing the internet?) the opposing response and my own rebuttal to “3 Ways to be Pro-Life andAnti-Misogynistic, Concurrently.” I’ve also added to my rebuttal, in the middle, because I noticed something that I missed. To wit, I give you the following dialogue…
Respondent: The overwhelming past and present voice in passing legislative law over women’s bodies, and I use bodies because its applicable to the debate and theme of the overarching argument and I do not see men or women discussing political legislature over penises or semen, is undeniably male dominated. Whether, you are pro-life or (what anti-life?) is a matter that I do not necessarily care anything about, it has become too polarized to speak rationally about between two parties of ideologies. The fact is, that women continually do not have political autonomy over issues that deal with their everyday, and certainly over matter that affect them most of all. Women make up just 17% of all members of the U.S. House of Representatives; 16% of all U.S. senators; 16% of all governors; and 24% of all state legislators. (WCF Foundation, 2010) That means that the other 83%, 84%, and 76% of political offices are held by men. I would say that give them plenty of opinion of my body and what I should and should not be doing with it. If that makes me hysterical. Great. Hysteria implies passion. I would rather be hysterical, kicking and screaming all the way, than have my body made into a legal document signed and dated by a representative that I did not vote to represent me. Maybe a little more hysteria would change something. (I apologize for politicizing your ***** post, but I couldn’t keep quiet and while I respect your experience and your opinion, not because of your gender but because of your intellect and first-hand knowledge, I cannot however, apologize for mine.).
Me: In responding to your rebuttal, I must point out that your argument is based solely on straw men. While I will address each of those momentarily, I point out that the issue at stake here is not one of women’s health care. The issue I am arguing is whether or not men are permitted to engage in the abortion debate. I argue that they are. I offered three different arguments to this end, and in the spirit of fair play, I will summarize the premises I forwarded:
The Gender-Specific Intellect Argument
1. Intellectual ability is not based on gender
2. Therefore, men and women have equal reasoning abilities.
3. Therefore, men are able to apply their reasoning abilities to the issue of abortion
The Human Life Argument
1. The science of embryology and Pro-Abortion philosophy agrees that human life begins at insemination.
2. Men and women are equally the result of successful insemination.
3. Therefore, men and women can equally represent human life and the appeal for the protection thereof.
4. Therefore, men can engage in the abortion debates as a member of the human species.
The Dual Party Responsibility Argument
1. Successful insemination results in human life.
2. Successful insemination requires both male sperm and female ovum.
3. Men hold 50% of the responsibility for new, individual human life.
4. Therefore, men are equally able to engage in the abortion debate.
If you would like to address the premises in any of these arguments, I would love to talk more about them.
To clarify, I did not coin the term “Pro-Life.” Though, in light of both my “Dual Party Responsibility” argument and “Human Life” argument above, I find the term highly appropriate. I believe the wording used by the opposition is “Pro-Choice” for the pro-abortion movement and “Anti-Choice” for their opposition. Thus we find that even in political and philosophical realms, branding is paramount.
To assert that any issue, to include the topic of abortion, “has become too polarized to speak rationally about between two parties of ideologies,” is impossible to adhere to. This standard would then have to be applied universally to all topics that are polarizing: socio-economic equality, immigration, gun control, gay rights, healthcare, etc…ad naseum, ad infinitum. The polarizing effect of any topic cannot dictate its value in intelligent discourse.
As for the straw men you present, I will address them now. The first straw man, which was the topic of the under-representation of women in the governing bodies of United States, begs the question: as citizens of the United States, are we to only adhere to legislation that has been forwarded by the representative for whom we individually have voted? Conversely, can we ignore the legislation that we didn’t, in effect, vote for?
For the second straw man, I offer three academically approved sources for a definition of terms. Hysterical: a state in which your emotions (such as fear) are so strong that you behave in an uncontrolled way (Merriam-Webster). Unable to control your emotions or behave because you are very frightened, excited, etc… (Cambridge Dictionaries). Exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people (Oxford English Dictionary). None of these imply passion. What the word hysterical implies is lack of control, due to an extreme emotional response. This is a frequent argument used against women, feminists in particular, to discount what the woman is saying. My point in using this particular word, and I was exacting with my word selection, is that women who are arguing against the ability of men to engage in the abortion debate may not use slogans such as, “get out of my uterus,” as an acceptable rhetorical tactic. Because it gives credence to the claim that women cannot be trusted to argue except in an emotionally uncontrollable manner. A well thought out and reasoned, albeit passionately delivered, argument is required if we are to maintain our intellectual credibility. It is what we expect of men; and we should hold ourselves to the same standard.
I appreciate your passion, and I agree with you that women are grossly under-represented in our government and routinely undervalued in legislative discourse. The latter is the reason for my appeal to feminist. To employ straw men, however zealously, distracts from the issue being argued, and does not defeat the argument at hand. I will also point out, in closing, that while I offered full disclosure of my personal experiences and ideological leanings, I did not use these in my arguments. Therefore, they are not pertinent to my conclusion. Regardless of passion, my premises stand: Men are able to, and should, engage in the abortion debate.