Silencing men – or at least pro-life men.

by Roger Resler

My Dr. Seuss post from February, 2013 continues to draw comments, mainly from pro-choice proponents. One recent supportive comment, however, came from Carlos Zamora. He writes: 

Great argument Roger. It pleases me greatly to see such an educated and well informed individual standing up for the rights of the unborn. Especially a man. Far too often have I been scorned and my opinion completely disregarded on the matter simply because I do not possess ovaries. In reality, that is a very stupid point. Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it. But like I said, great information and great blog. I hope to get a chance to read your book soon.

Of course this will likely be dismissed by those on the pro-choice side (especially the females) as merely one “anti-choice” male complimenting another for promoting misogynistic ideas. The simplest stereotypical explanation is usually preferred when a genuine understanding of the opposing point of view would otherwise require thoughtful consideration.

Ironically, while neither Carlos nor myself had any choice in the matter of our gender, neither (presumably) did our female critics who seem confident that “femaleness” is a necessary prerequisite to free speech when the topic is abortion. Carlos makes a good point when he observes that:

Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it.

Like Carlos, I’ve run into the “gender objection” from pro-choice advocates on many occasions – and it always seems to be pro-choice females who raise the objection. Take for example this blog entry. Simply stated, the idea is that men don’t get pregnant, therefore they have no right to speak against abortion. Conversely, you might think – at least for the sake of consistency (or at the very least the appearance of consistency) – men should also not be encouraged to speak in support of the pro-choice cause, right? Wrong. Take for instance this NARAL endorsed “Men For Choice” celebration marquee that reads:

We appreciate the men who stand proud for reproductive rights, and we’re thrilled to celebrate their contributions at two exciting Men For Choice events! 

Or this one, which “honors” pro-choice Massachusetts State Representatives Carl Sciortino and Jim O’Day and then lists their accomplishments for the pro-choice cause. Not only does NARAL allow these men to speak about abortion, they furnish a platform and then promote their comments.

Or how about feminist Colleen Crinion’s admonition that abortion rights is “still an issue [men] need to support.” Crinion suggests that:

Just as gay rights needs straight allies and civil rights needs white supporters, abortion rights need men. If you know and love a woman then you should care about access to abortion.

And then there’s the love-fest between NARAL and 11 Men For Choice.

There’s clearly a double standard here. It seems that men (who can’t get pregnant whether they’re pro-choice or not) can speak about abortion if their speech conforms to acceptable pro-choice guidelines.

But what if you’re male and you sincerely believe induced abortion is an injustice? What do you do in that case? According to pro-choice feminists you can either change your views or shut up. Why? Well, basically because you can’t get pregnant. Consider again Carlos’s observation:

Far too often have I been scorned and my opinion completely disregarded on the matter simply because I do not possess ovaries.

As Carlos notes, based on his own experience, you can’t speak out about abortion if you’re male and you see abortion as an injustice. This conveniently eliminates potential criticism from half of all would-be pro-choice critics. For the remaining segment of the population, again, as Carlos points out:

Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it.

In this case the smallest victims can’t speak out (other than a very few abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden) and the perpetrators won’t (other than a few brave souls who’ve changed their positions like Abby Johnson, Bernard Nathanson or Carol Everett).

What this all boils down to is the idea that the only people who allegedly have any moral grounds to actually speak about abortion are women who approve of it and the males who agree with them. If you’re a male and you believe in “a woman’s right to choose” abortion on demand for any reason, then speak all you want. But if you’re male and you sincerely see abortion as an injustice, then shut up because you can’t get pregnant. And if that doesn’t silence you then prepare to be accused of wanting to control women and having your opinions branded as either religious imposition or misogynistic hate speech.

The debate over “personhood” was created by pro-choice proponents in order to make the pro-life position impossible to maintain. From the same playbook, pro-choice philosophy also attempts to impose ground rules on free speech that make it impossible for abortion critics of the wrong gender to have a voice. As one blogger puts it:

men are dismissed on the basis of their sex as an anti-intellectual manoeuvre to try to shut down critical enquiry on this ideologically-charged topic.  

What we see from the prevalence of all this is that many – if not most – pro-choice advocates simply aren’t interested in having a legitimate, civil discussion. They’re not interested in listening to and understanding the claims made by those on the other side. If there’s any truth to pro-life arguments, they don’t want to hear it. They prefer to stereotype, caricature, marginalize and silence the opposition. This is an example of the ad hominem fallacy wherein “a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.” People who are arguing a weak case are particularly prone to this kind of fallacious response. When this type of response is commonly resorted to among pro-choice proponents – to the point of being openly posted on pro-choice websites (see for example this or this) – it’s a pretty clear indication that there must not be much left for them to fall back on.  

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.

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