Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
September 02, 2014, 04:06 am

Updated Topics | Recent Unread Topics
Home Help Search Login Register

+  Dragon Mountain
|-+  Forum
| |-+  Sanctum Sanctorum
| | |-+  Talking About Abortion
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 Print
Author Topic: Talking About Abortion  (Read 7125 times)
Bettytron
Posts: 5



View Profile
« on: January 26, 2012, 06:25 pm »

So abortion is a ~*~hot topic~*~, especially lately, and it's one that will probably inspire the most impassioned debate from either side. So what I want to do is pick apart how anyone - pro-choice or pro-life- can talk about this issue and make their points clear without things getting emotional. And I think emotion is used in a few different ways- in the way pro-life people use pictures of supposedly aborted fetuses on their signs, or chant things like, "We like babies, yes we do, we like babies, how about you?"

This was a comment I saw on Citizen Snips' facebook, from someone responding to that horrible Santorum quote:
Quote
I don't agree the government should tell a women what they can and can't do but it still unbearably sad to kill a child."
This person doesn't sound unreasonable or combative, but the phrasing makes it impossible to have a discussion about abortion because it's built on false premises (at least from a generally pro-choice position)- namely that an embryo is equivalent to a child.

Full disclosure- I'm very pro-choice, so this will certainly color my take on this. It's really the only perspective I can offer. We talked in the Charts & Graphs thread about how language like "The War on Women" only hurts the cause, and the way a group calling themselves "pro-life" instantly puts everyone else in the "anti-life" or "pro-death" groups, and how that's manipulative.

Still, the crux of the pro-life movement is that they believe that fetuses are children, and that therefore abortion is murder. No amount of statistics or explanation can change that, and I can see where that position comes from. So is there a way to explain the pro-choice position without sounding callous? Are there pro-life positions that don't rely on that belief that I'm overlooking?

Alternatively, what turns you off about the way pro-choice opinions are presented? Examples like that chart are probably a good starting point- that was a case of something that can reinforce the passion of people who already share that position, but certainly won't change any minds. Most of the feminist blogs I read and the pro-choice organizations whose mailings lists I'm on tend to assume their audience is already pro-choice. Is there a way to create a dialogue between the two groups that avoids hostility (or interpreted hostility)?
Logged

Benny B
Karma: 427


Sawed-off Thought-gun


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 07:17 pm »

I think, perhaps cynically, that any conversation that goes long enough will end in both sides digging straight to core of each of their arguments-- freedom and life, both of which are universally good things, by which point both sides are more strongly galvanized against each other, and end in each walking away with their preconceived notions about the other reinforced.

The thing is that the language both sides use is great for shaking and shoving neutral parties into the cause and stirring up the existing members, but terrible for an actual dialog with the opposition. Like you said, you touched on this elsewhere, that inherently even the names of each position are provocative, and since that base is where each conversation springs from, it will end(or begin) almost exclusively in an antagonistic way.

I've typed and re-typed a paragraph for nearly an hour now, and each solution I thought I had was weak at best. All I come up with are the generalities that they say you should remember in any dialog-- keep your language as neutral as possible, assume the other person has your best interests at heart, don't just ask questions rhetorically, etc. Stuff that goes right out the window a lot of times, especially in this debate.

Logged
thermus aquaticus
Sucks at High Fiving



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 08:06 pm »

Here's Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan's attempt at fair analysis.
Logged

Wooer et ass, 2013
HyperGlavin
hellafancy
Probably a postbot


Magnificent ass-haver


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 08:22 pm »

I had already responded to the guy that Betty had mentioned, and I thought it would be best to explain my point of view using his choice of language. The theory was that he would understand better if I'd at least approach the topic from his side, but it still devolved to hyperbole and blame-flinging.

The main problem I feel that I have with the topic is that, as a man, I'm too detached from it to be telling anyone how it should be. It's not something that really affects me either way, and so I feel it's a bit of a dick move to try and call the shots for others, telling them what to do or how they should feel.
Logged

[19:13] <EFHRK> Calvin the Coward
[19:13] <%ZachJ> Calvin the Unremarkable
[19:13] <oball> Calvin the Gross
[19:13] <@buttebot> Calvin the Butt
Zach
Artist, Allusionist, Ape
Admin


Human, all too human


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 09:12 pm »

That's not entirely true. The things that happen in society, even really far away and to other people, affects you. Abortion debates are not always debates about abortion, they are often debates about what we believe it means to be human. The unfortunate consequence of this is that often the people pushing policy do so for ideological or religious reasons rather than facts or looking at the actual consequences of their policy. 
 
That's not to say that I believe everyone who is against abortion is against it because they are uninformed or biased towards that viewpoint by religious dogma, but in my personal experience it has overwhelmingly been the case. The main opponents of abortion are the Religious Right in America, who bring horrific destruction to the lives of millions of people with the twin swords of banning reproductive freedoms and promoting absurdly disastrous anti-sex education.
Logged

Luna Fortuna
Posts: 5


Rock Stacker


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 11:09 pm »

Of course men can be intimately affected by abortion policy, maybe through a partner or daughter, not in the same way as the woman herself but a serious emotional experience.

I don't have a well-thought-out post for you but I have two minor contributions to the discussion:

First, the "War on Women" term pushes me away from pro-choice essays and graphics, even though I am pro-choice, because it makes me want to distance myself from "Women." I suppose it sounds as if the ardent pro-choice activists want to include all of us in their group with a term like that, and I feel as condescended to by that involuntary inclusion as I would by fundamentalist religious groups including me in their "Women" campaigns. Those policies aren't at war with me, because even though I have no hang-ups about most abortions, I don't like elective abortion in terms of my life and the lives of the women closest to me. I can think past all of my unconscious posturing and read a helpful infograph despite hyperbolic language, but that was my gut response so I thought it was relevant.

My second contribution is in response to your question, Bettytron, how to create dialogue that avoids hostility. I have a volatile response to discussions of late-term abortion; I imagine pro-lifers feel similarly about all abortion. I believe the only way a person could approach me in support of late-term abortion would be to set aside all of the usual language meant to put distance between the fetus and a baby. Speaking that way about a 28-week pregnancy will instantly put me into defensive mode. Somehow, the pro-choice person would have to treat that fetus with some respect, even while advocating its termination.
Logged
Truck Thunders
Posts: 5


feel the taste of freedom


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 01:01 am »

even though I have no hang-ups about most abortions, I don't like elective abortion in terms of my life and the lives of the women closest to me.

Luna, do you mind if I ask why you say this?  I ask because it seems like an awfully rough position to keep, because honestly if you believe in a human right but you are bothered by people you know exercising it then it's going to be pretty awkward when somebody you know wants to get an abortion.
Logged
CatAstrophe
Gay Dolphin Sex
Buddy Friend Pal



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2012, 01:10 am »

I would like to second everything Luna said, as my feelings about abortion are almost identical.

I especially want to comment on this:
Quote
First, the "War on Women" term pushes me away from pro-choice essays and graphics, even though I am pro-choice, because it makes me want to distance myself from "Women." I suppose it sounds as if the ardent pro-choice activists want to include all of us in their group with a term like that, and I feel as condescended to by that involuntary inclusion as I would by fundamentalist religious groups including me in their "Women" campaigns.
These types of things always make me feel like my power and agency are being taken away from me. I am sure most of you laughed or rolled your eyes at that thinking "yeah but the people we are talking about that are ACTUALLY actively trying to take that away from you" and fair enough, but it does not erase that gut feeling.

I identified as "pro-life" until quite recently, maybe two years ago (I say pro-life because I have always been against the death penalty, for easy access to birth control, and support abortions when the pregnancy endangers the woman's life). In addition to everything that Luna said about the term "War on Women" as well as the term "anti-choice", I feel isolated from the cause when I hear those terms used. They imply very hostile things not only about the position (understandable), but the person who has those positions. And maybe you do feel like someone with anti-abortion rights views is that awful of a person. But you will never win them over by making them feel attacked. Maybe you wont win them over anyway, but there is always a possibility. I never paid attention to any pro-choice argument until I started hearing some that were sympathetic to my then pro-life views.

Similar to Luna, I can never have a rational discussion about abortion when the fetus is being dehumanized. A fetus will never not be a baby to me. I know it's not a full-fledged human, but it will always be a baby to me from the moment it becomes an embryo. Maybe that is irrational, but there is something meaningful and important about a developing human to me. I am no longer religious, though I am willing to admit that some of that feeling might stem from the fact that I was raised religious, but I will always think of fetuses as babies and I think there are other pro-choice and on the fence people who do as well. I can accept that it is a life that is must live off of a woman's body in order to continue and that it is a woman's right to to not have to put her body through such an ordeal with an outcome with extreme long-term consequences. Calling it "parasitic" and "like a tumor" in a discussion about abortion will anger me and turn me off.

Also like Luna, I have a volatile reaction to late-term abortion. One of my little sisters was born at 25 weeks in 1991 and is a perfectly healthy young woman now. Likewise, my brothers were born at 30 weeks (in 1998) and 26 weeks (in 2000) and are perfectly healthy, athletic, and tall boys. Not only would dehumanizing a fetus in its third trimester anger me, I'd probably laugh in your face. If you want to discuss abortion with someone who is anti-abortion (especially late-term abortion) you should make concessions that it is understandable that a fetus is a meaningful thing to a lot of people, that it is not crazy that it is a meaningful thing. But the thing you need to emphasize is the devastating effects on the woman herself (and possibly on the potential child). Often this argument does not work, but I don't think there is any other argument that could even possibly work.

And maybe anti-abortion rights people who cannot be swayed disgust you so much that you don't care and you want to anger them. That is not really my style, but I guess it is understandable. However, when you do you risk offending "bystanders" that you might be able to persuade or make somewhat more sympathetic or those that are pro-choice but feel isolated by such language.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 01:16 am by CatAstrophe » Logged

fermun   haha, if killing babies offends you, this may not be the show for you
HyperGlavin
hellafancy
Probably a postbot


Magnificent ass-haver


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 03:06 am »

Calling it "parasitic" and "like a tumor" in a discussion about abortion will anger me and turn me off.

Wait, do pro-choicers actually do this? Or is it just another way of making them appear to be more callous than they really are, in the same vein as the "war on women"? Because I have had pro-lifers tell me that my argument is basically the same as that when it certainly isn't, and I find that judgement to be offensively ignorant.

As for late-term abortion, the anti-abortion movement is actually a major factor in those. Many states in the US have pushed for legislation that forces pregnant women to undergo weeks of 'counselling' before they can even apply for an abortion, and some church-backed centres have disguised themselves as family planning clinics, only to tie up the precious little time that an abortion could be considered safe and ethical, which allows them to demonise all abortions in one easy grouping.
Logged

[19:13] <EFHRK> Calvin the Coward
[19:13] <%ZachJ> Calvin the Unremarkable
[19:13] <oball> Calvin the Gross
[19:13] <@buttebot> Calvin the Butt
RummyLu
The PUNisher
Florasexual



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 03:23 am »

This is slightly off topic, but I've always been fascinated by the way abortion is a consistent "hot-topic" in American elections and society in general. Does anyone have any insight into why this is?

On the flip side of the coin, where I'm living now up until fairly recently (1989) abortion literally was seen as contraception as other forms of legitimate birth control were not readily available under the communist regime. I've friends here whose political and personal views align greatly with my own except for this issue and in general their reasoning is along the lines of, "I'm lucky to be here as my mother has told me she had x amount of procedures performed." I don't necessarily agree with them, but I find it interesting nonetheless.
Logged

"Iíll retract the rape complaint from the wombat, because heís pulled out."
FizzlePop
All yours
Fart Master


Why do we want to eat the people we love


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 04:08 am »

Yeah, abortion discussions always seem very odd to me as well.

In my country there is a complete freedom to abort when the woman feels that she won't be able to properly take care of it. This is an incredibly broad factor so up untill the 14th week of pregnancy any reason the pregnant woman can bring up will be taken as a valid reason, after that there is still a possibility to have an abortion if the child would be born in pain or if it would endanger the mental or physical well being of the mother.

There also isn't anything regarding age or consent that needs to be taken into account, a 15 year old girl can go and get an abortion without ever needing to mention it to her parents or boyfriend and usually for free or for a very reducded cost.
And i truly believe in this way of handling abortion, a complete freedom of choice for the woman who will have to raise the child if it were born.

And i'm one of those people who just don't see fetusses as people, to me they'll always be (and apologies to those that are offended by this) small meaningless blobs of cells, especially if they haven't yet really developped sentient thought.

For any other of those sensitive topics (eg. Euthanasia, death penalty) i believe in the utter right of any person to live, so they have the right, but if they themselves (or someone with nothing but the best intention for them if they can no longer think for themselves) want to absolve themselves of that right i say they should have that option.
Logged
CatAstrophe
Gay Dolphin Sex
Buddy Friend Pal



View Profile
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 04:10 am »

Calling it "parasitic" and "like a tumor" in a discussion about abortion will anger me and turn me off.

Wait, do pro-choicers actually do this? Or is it just another way of making them appear to be more callous than they really are, in the same vein as the "war on women"? Because I have had pro-lifers tell me that my argument is basically the same as that when it certainly isn't, and I find that judgement to be offensively ignorant.

As for late-term abortion, the anti-abortion movement is actually a major factor in those. Many states in the US have pushed for legislation that forces pregnant women to undergo weeks of 'counselling' before they can even apply for an abortion, and some church-backed centres have disguised themselves as family planning clinics, only to tie up the precious little time that an abortion could be considered safe and ethical, which allows them to demonise all abortions in one easy grouping.

First of all, maybe I did not make myself clear, but I am pro-choice, I used to be pro-life, so I have no reason to demonize pro-choicers. I have my own personal values, but I do not expect others to share them so I do not think abortion should be illegal and I think many of the restrictions we see emerging are not only unnecessary but harmful (for the reason you mentioned, restrictions often lead to illegal late term abortions). Secondly, I have seen some pro-choicers characterize fetuses as a parasite (which is technically true) and akin to a tumor (as in "should I not have a tumor removed because it is a bunch of sells living off of my body?").
Logged

fermun   haha, if killing babies offends you, this may not be the show for you
CatAstrophe
Gay Dolphin Sex
Buddy Friend Pal



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 04:19 am »

In my country there is a complete freedom to abort when the woman feels that she won't be able to properly take care of it. This is an incredibly broad factor so up untill the 14th week of pregnancy any reason the pregnant woman can bring up will be taken as a valid reason, after that there is still a possibility to have an abortion if the child would be born in pain or if it would endanger the mental or physical well being of the mother.
In the United States, by the letter of the federal law, abortion is completely legal, no questions asked in the first two trimesters (we do get a lot of restrictive legislation in Congress but most of it dies). The entities that generally put restrictions that make abortions more difficult to obtain are the individual states. States have a lot of power within their own borders and can enact laws that sometimes contradict federal law (legally they can't, but that can take years to resolve). In liberal states like New York and California, it is fairly easy to get an abortion and other reproductive service care, but in conservative areas like the midwest and south it is more difficult.

Edit to clarify - The thing that made abortion legal in the US was the famous courtcase Roe v. Wade, which interpreted the Constitution as protecting abortion as part of a right to privacy. Because it is a court case and not some sort of bill or resolution, it is much easier for states to legislate around it.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 04:43 am by CatAstrophe » Logged

fermun   haha, if killing babies offends you, this may not be the show for you
RummyLu
The PUNisher
Florasexual



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 04:25 am »

Cat I was wondering what changed your stance, Is it something you're comfortable talking about here? If not, no worries and I'll pull my head back in.

I recently read an article wherein doctors described their experiences performing abortions on pro-life supporters active in picketing etc. It's a really interesting read, and I'll try and find it again for this thread.
Logged

"Iíll retract the rape complaint from the wombat, because heís pulled out."
CatAstrophe
Gay Dolphin Sex
Buddy Friend Pal



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 04:41 am »

I changed my stance because I decided to listen to the opposition's reasons once I knew a few pro-choice people who did not talk about the subject in a way that angered me and did not demonize me and call people with my beliefs woman haters. I realized that restricting abortion does not reduce abortions but just puts the woman's life at greater risk and makes it more likely that a late term abortion will happen. It wasn't a sudden change of opinion. I didn't decide one day "I am pro-choice" (in fact I think I barely started calling myself pro-choice within the last several months even though I guess I could say I have been for a couple of year). I just became more open to other people's opinions and beliefs once they became more open to mine and slowly started to change the way I thought about the topic.
Logged

fermun   haha, if killing babies offends you, this may not be the show for you
RummyLu
The PUNisher
Florasexual



View Profile
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2012, 04:45 am »

Ah cool, thanks Cat!

I found the article by the way, I found it an interesting read you guys might appreciate it http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html
Logged

"Iíll retract the rape complaint from the wombat, because heís pulled out."
Not A Spatula
Posthulhu



View Profile
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2012, 04:56 am »

This is slightly off topic, but I've always been fascinated by the way abortion is a consistent "hot-topic" in American elections and society in general. Does anyone have any insight into why this is?

On the flip side of the coin, where I'm living now up until fairly recently (1989) abortion literally was seen as contraception as other forms of legitimate birth control were not readily available under the communist regime. I've friends here whose political and personal views align greatly with my own except for this issue and in general their reasoning is along the lines of, "I'm lucky to be here as my mother has told me she had x amount of procedures performed." I don't necessarily agree with them, but I find it interesting nonetheless.

It's because depending on which side you approach the topic from, you're either focused on the idea of countless human lives being terminated or countless women being denied their natural right and having the rest of their lives compromised or endangered. And moving on from shit you were definitely already aware of, the fact most Americans are Christian is probably also a pretty big factor.

I'm moderately pro-choice. I agree with Roe vs Wade and disagree with state interference. When somebody treats late-term abortions lightly or attempts to dehumanize the fetus though, it does cause a certain knee jerk reaction in me to break from the conversation, even if I'm more sympathetic to that person's stance than a pro-lifer's. Someone who treats fetuses as "things" and concedes to them no value, even possibly, as a human being is someone I feel uncomfortable talking to about the subject, much less aligning myself with.

I can respect FizzlePop's opinion because I understand how natural of a conclusion that is to him and some other people. But I wouldn't recommend trying to assert this to those who oppose abortion if your end goal is to get them to sympathize more with your side.
Logged
norumaru
Jerker, Smirker, midnight
Hurker



View Profile
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2012, 05:36 am »

First, the "War on Women" term pushes me away from pro-choice essays and graphics, even though I am pro-choice, because it makes me want to distance myself from "Women."

I agree with you in principle, principle being that demonization and hyperbole aren't helping anything, but a lot of anti-abortion rights (to choose a term as neutral as I can come up with) policies are at the core more designed to punish women than to protect fetuses. Barry Deutsch, although somewhat guilty of the language thing, gives a summary in this blog post.

Now, there are points where I disagree with this article (like the thing about clinic-bombing extremists, I mean come on), but I think in general it does have a point. And if the policies are more useful for restricting female sexuality than for what they say they do, I do think that merits pointing out.
Logged

holy shit there is a jesus on my toast
no wait it's just some stoner
smoking a doob
RummyLu
The PUNisher
Florasexual



View Profile
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2012, 06:31 am »

It's because depending on which side you approach the topic from, you're either focused on the idea of countless human lives being terminated or countless women being denied their natural right and having the rest of their lives compromised or endangered. And moving on from shit you were definitely already aware of, the fact most Americans are Christian is probably also a pretty big factor.

I guess it's that unique American brand of Christianity then, I mean my grandfather was an Anglican minister and I don't remember him ever vocalizing any opinion on the issue publicly, and in private he wasn't particularly against it either. Still, I find it pretty amazing that political campaigners in the states still use it as a platform issue.
Logged

"Iíll retract the rape complaint from the wombat, because heís pulled out."
Bettytron
Posts: 5



View Profile
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2012, 10:49 am »

First, the "War on Women" term pushes me away from pro-choice essays and graphics, even though I am pro-choice, because it makes me want to distance myself from "Women."
What norumaru said here.

When they're talking about the War on Women, they're talking about pro-life legislation that not only seeks to ban abortion, but to restrict access to healthcare, to contraception, and to comprehensive, factual sex education. Anyone serious about reducing the number of abortions should oppose those restrictions, but the forces behind the pro-life movement do not. And there is no other motivation behind those restrictions but to keep women from retaining control over their bodies. It sounds hyperbolic and I completely understand why casting it as some kind of epic battle turns people away from the conversation- if I were talking about women's health rights in casual conversation, I absolutely wouldn't use that language. It's worth remembering that the legislation extends far beyond abortion bans, though, into exerting control over a woman's bodily freedom.

I take to heart all of the comments saying they hate the "parasite" or "tumor" comparisons. I think that's what kept me from responding to the "killing a child" comment, because saying, "well, it's not a child" has less to do with the law and everything to do with dismissing someone's feelings about an unborn fetus. What about making the distinction between when a fetus can viably live outside the womb? I mean, that is what the Roe v. Wade decision is based on, that's where the trimester issue comes up. Generally if late-term abortions are legal, and in most places they are not, it is only in the case of the mother's health. And you know, if women had access to abortion without excessive waiting periods, and were able to get accurate health information without being misled by pro-life pregnancy centers, elective late-term abortions would pretty much cease to be a thing.
So I guess what I'm asking here is if those discussions of viability fall into the same category of arguments as the "parasite" comments do, or not.

It's because depending on which side you approach the topic from, you're either focused on the idea of countless human lives being terminated or countless women being denied their natural right and having the rest of their lives compromised or endangered. And moving on from shit you were definitely already aware of, the fact most Americans are Christian is probably also a pretty big factor.

I guess it's that unique American brand of Christianity then, I mean my grandfather was an Anglican minister and I don't remember him ever vocalizing any opinion on the issue publicly, and in private he wasn't particularly against it either. Still, I find it pretty amazing that political campaigners in the states still use it as a platform issue.
It is definitely an American-Christian thing, though I'd imagine worldwide the Catholic Church has a lot of influence on the issue too, no? It's super-effective as a political tool because, if someone is going to be a one-issue voter, abortion is the issue they will vote on. The "baby-killer" idea of abortionists and women who get abortions is pretty deeply ingrained, and being pro-life is the default position for many Americans. I know so many people from my hometown who, no matter their economic class or their feelings on education or taxation or what have you, will vote Republican solely because they are opposed to abortion. This is why an open dialogue is so important!

What if women who'd had abortions were more vocal about their own experiences? Do you think that would be something most people would be receptive to? Would it come across as offensive? I can imagine the latter- if you believe abortion is murder, would it just be like listening to a murderer justify themselves?
These two Hairpin articles from abortion providers were, I thought, very enlightening and humanizing. I'm curious about how someone who takes a pro-life stance would feel about them.

The main problem I feel that I have with the topic is that, as a man, I'm too detached from it to be telling anyone how it should be. It's not something that really affects me either way, and so I feel it's a bit of a dick move to try and call the shots for others, telling them what to do or how they should feel.
I think that protecting a woman's right to abortion access is hand-in-hand with protecting her right not to have an abortion, if that is not in line with her beliefs or situation or any other reason she wouldn't have one. And like Zach said, the wider social implications of that kind of debate affect everyone, regardless of gender or sexuality. Aaaand as Luna said, it could certainly affect you personally at some point in the future. I mean, I'm not saying that you have to speak up on the issue, or take a stand, but there are a lot of good reasons to do so even if you personally are not ever going to be pregnant and considering an abortion.
Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 Print 
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!