Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A New Debate: Equality for the Unborn Child

So I've read a few Canadian entries of the Blogs for Choice campaign. What I notice about these entries is that the substance of the debate over abortion is not acknowledged.

It makes sense for them to ignore the pro-life side of the debate. Why would they want to draw attention to the arguments for fetal rights? In the meanwhile, from a rhetorical point of view, it's far better to act as if the other side has no serious arguments whatsoever, to simply confidently assert what one believes to be true, and use that emotion to persuade the reader of the rightness of that position.

Sooner or later, the arguments that women should be supreme, that only women matter, that opposing abortion is sexism, will wear thin.

If pro-lifers can turn this from an abortion debate into a fetal rights debate, that day will come sooner, rather than later.

The discussion around abortion is not really about abortion. It's about fetal rights. We pro-lifers have not been able to bring that to the fore, and we should emphasize that most vehemently.

If fetal rights weren't at stake, there would be no so-called abortion debate. I have no qualms about women wanting self-determination over their gall bladders, livers, or other body parts.

But rhetorically, the abortion debate plays out as a discussion about a woman and "her body". The opposition to the act of abortion sounds like pharasaical moralizing over an act-- an operation to removed an undesired object, like a tumour.

Feminists have been extremely successful in using that imagery, that rhetoric, to obtain abortion rights. They play up that talk, and hide anything that challenges that conception of the "abortion debate".

What we pro-lifers must do is show that the underlying assertions of the fetus: that he's a blob of tissue, a non-human being, a non-person-- are false.

And make our fight about obtaining the equality of the unborn child.

Many people in the general public like the convenience of abortion, without really thinking about the nature of the unborn child, the act, and the rhetoric that supports it.

They like the notion of women controlling their own bodies-- who doesn't want control over their own bodies?

But they have no clue as to the nature of feminist rhetoric over abortion.

In the feminist mindset, if a woman wants an abortion at 36 weeks because she got up on the wrong side of the bed, and she can find an abortionist to do the job, she should be supported 100%, no questions asked. Any questioning of her intentions, desires and actions on this point is grossly misogynistic, from their point of view.

You might think it's a caricature, but it's not an exaggeration. Real feminists support ALL abortions, no matter what the reason, no matter what the stage, on the basis that the mother is the person who matters; the baby does not. The mother's sacrosanct autonomy must be preserved at all costs, otherwise, women risk a precipitous return to social slavery.

Most people have an ounce of common sense. They recognize that any individual's autonomy-- male or female-- is not worth the life of an innocent baby. They will especially agree to this at a later stage of the pregnancy. If they do not see the value of the human at the beginning of the pregnancy, they certainly do at the end.

What this says is that at some level, most Canadians acknowledge the personhood of the unborn child. The personhood of the unborn child is a socially acknowledged fact.

What this also means is that Canadians do not buy the idea that one human being's interests should be so supreme that it justifies the killing of an innocent child.

We pro-lifers have this "base". That should be our starting point. What needs to be done is to show the public that fetuses at earlier stages of pregnancy are also worthy of consideration. We need to show that, yes, fetuses at earlier stages are human; they are implicitly acknowledged to be persons; and they are worthy of rights and legal protection.

This is how to answer the rhetoric of "choice".

The more we play up this discussion, the more compelled feminists will be to answer these assertions. For forty years, it's almost as if feminists have not had to answer for their beliefs-- they simply asserted them without question. Mind you, I think pro-lifers could have done a better job, but I will allow that hindsight is 20/20 and that reacting to change is more difficult than creating it.

We have to create the change. We have make the new (to the public) assertion that unborn children deserve equality. They will come to understand that this notion is dangerous to their ideas. They will have to talk about these notions.

And the debate will finally happen.