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.

Amplify #5: Gender-bias fallacy

Halfway through my responses to Amplify Your Voice,
10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy we find this:

5. Most people who are against abortion will never even become pregnant. If a law would never, in any circumstance, apply to a man, a man creating that law is preposterous. It is akin to men creating laws that ban women from voting, owning property, or showing skin in public—only much more deadly.

As should be obvious by now, the top 10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy on the Amplify Your Voice website lack rational force. Argument number 5 is perhaps the weakest.

Many of the people who make laws against murder, for example, never commit murder, yet no one protests that it is wrong for non-murderers to write laws against murder. Similarly, we can recognize that it is wrong to commit murder, whether the one doing the judging has the capability of committing the crime or not.

Not only that, this argument implies that only men make anti-abortion laws, which is simply not true. Beyond this, if every woman in the U.S. was pro-abortion, then these types of gender-based arguments might at least have some traction. As it is, there are at least as many pro-life women in the U.S. as there are pro-choice women. In fact,  recent polls indicate a pro-life majority in the U.S. even among women! This means the claim that: “Most people who are against abortion will never even become pregnant” is simply false. The pro-life passion of women like Mother Teresa or Lila Rose, or Carol Everett or Helen Alvare and millions of others clearly demonstrate that these pro-choice, gender-based arguments simply do not correspond with the real world.

Finally, even if statistics actually were in support of the assertion this “reason to be pro-choice” would still be fallacious. It is an example of argumentum ad populum, or the appeal to majority fallacy which says if many people believe it, it must be true. Just because a majority agrees, doesn’t mean the majority is correct. The majority used to believe the earth is flat. Today, not so much. A majority of people in southern states used to think it was morally permissible to own black persons as slaves. That did not make slavery morally acceptable.

So, once again, we see that yet another of the top reasons to be pro-choice listed on a pro-choice website is fallacious. The way this is shaping up, what are the chances that the remainder will also prove to be fallacious? Stay tuned, to find out!


Planned Parenthood foiled again

If a picture is worth a thousand words an undercover video may eventually be worth hundreds of millions of withdrawn taxpayer dollars. At least that’s the hope of Lila Rose of LiveAction. As a result of her diligence, Planned Parenthood finds itself in yet another sticky situation. Each time LiveAction comes out with another video exposé, I think: surely this must be the last one. You know, fool me once, shame on you, fool me six times… ? How slow can a multi-million-dollar non-profit trans-national conglomerate actually be?

This latest sting brings the total up to something like six P.R. nightmares for the abortion behemoth with no apparent counter-strikes. Just as the buzz begins to subside from the previous debacle caught-on-camera, yet another accommodating Planned Parenthood employee unwittingly provides LiveAction with enough unscripted moral bankruptcy for a juicy sequel – and is promptly fired for it.

This time, a Planned Parenthood counselor is caught red-handed aiding and abetting a young woman (a LiveAction actor) who says she’s pregnant and wants a boy but will have an abortion if the baby turns out to be a girl. Yesterday’s release is apparently only the first in what LiveAction indicates will be a series of videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s willingness to participate in sex-selective abortions.

You have to wonder what the damage-control meetings at PP headquarters must be like with each new LiveAction release. Upper level P.R. directors have got be getting a bit annoyed at what has become a persistent thorn in their side; no doubt keenly aware that a sympathetic media can only repair so much self-inflicted destruction,

In a valiant effort, Laura Bassett, for example, with the Huffington Post, parrots Planned Parenthood’s preferred script by characterizing the operation as a “hoax investigation” leaving the impression that the whole thing was something of a joke. If so, LiveAction continues to get the last laugh, leaving Planned Parenthood and the media to clean up a tarnished public image.

Commenting on the video, Bassett suggests that:

The staffer answers all of the woman’s questions honestly and makes it clear that Planned Parenthood will not deny the woman an abortion despite her reasons for wanting to have one. At the end, she directs the woman to an ob-gyn for an ultrasound and says, “Good luck, and I hope you do get your boy.”

Which then prompts this response from a Huffington reader:

Honest answers = encouragement? No wonder they are scared of decent sex ed!
Seriously, for the staffer to give other than honest answers is unethical. For her to chastise a patient would be equally unethical. – been2there

Hence, the classic rock and hard place. What tends to get lost in the hubbub is the fact that it is the very logic on which pro-choice doctrine rests that leads to the conundrum Planned Parenthood finds itself wrestling with in this and other LiveAction videos.

The simple reality is that if pro-choice logic is correct, then sex-selection abortion should be as morally permissible as any other abortion – which is exactly how the now famous PP staffer responds to the situation. If the human fetus lacks some significant moral quality (let’s call it “personhood”) that a baby possesses then abortion should be morally acceptable for any reason. If not, then pro-choice proponents have a problem. LiveAction videos demonstrate the latter in a way that the spin-meisters at Planned Parenthood can’t figure out how to effectively deal with.

According to Planned Parenthood Vice President Leslie Kantor, the staffer “did not follow our protocol for providing information and guidance when presented with a highly unusual patient scenario.” Kantor’s statement goes on to note that:

Within three days of this patient interaction, the staff member’s employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters. Today opponents of Planned Parenthood are promoting an edited video of that hoax patient encounter.

No information is given in the statement regarding what specific “protocol” the now unemployed staffer violated or how “retraining” will correct the problem. Nevertheless, the statement suggests that LiveAction is “now using edited videotapes to promote false claims about our organization and patient services” – a difficult claim to support in light of what the staffer is clearly seen doing and saying in the video.

Regardless, Kantor suggests that:

Gender bias is contrary to everything our organization works for daily in communities across the country. Planned Parenthood opposes racism and sexism in all forms, and we work to advance equity and human rights in the delivery of health care. Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices, including addressing the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote gender bias and lead some to value one gender over the other.

While condemning “gender-bias,” an unnamed Planned Parenthood spokeswoman (apparently Kantor) reportedly told the Huffington Post, that Planned Parenthood’s policy:

…is to provide “high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into” its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).

If Planned Parenthood will not “deny a woman an abortion based on her reason for wanting one,” it would seem that “gender-bias” is as good as any other reason.

What is most remarkable in all this is the fact that Planned Parenthood is no slouch when it comes to buttressing and embellishing its public persona. One need only look at the speed, precision and level of coordination in the recent Susan G. Komen shakedown to see how ruthlessly effective the Planned Parenthood revenge Juggernaut can be when firing on all cylinders. So why the lack of an effective counter-attack in the face of what is by comparison a tiny pro-life group?

Apparently, even millions of taxpayer dollars have a hard time erasing what hidden cameras reveal.