Minimise Project here, coming to you live with interesting pro-life stuff from around the web.
Our friends at the Equal Rights Institute have a post up which is really good at correcting some common misapprehensions a lot of pro-lifers have about what pro-choice people actually think.
The post is from Rachel Crawford, and it’s analysing a popular new video from blogger and Youtuber Matt Walsh. Walsh’s video is called How To Destroy The “Best” Reproductive Rights Argument, and it’s a series of arguments against bodily rights arguments for abortion. Bodily rights arguments, as regular readers will know, are those which rely solely on a woman’s right to bodily autonomy: they’re supposed to work even if embryos and fetus are our moral equals. Thomson’s violinist is probably the most famous one.
Crawford praises Walsh for some of his points (for example, he does a good job of pointing out that unlike the violinist case, abortion is directly killing a person rather than just refusing to help them). But she thinks some of his points fail to hit the mark.
In his first of five points, Walsh responds to the pro-choice slogan “My Body, My Choice” by saying, “It’s not your body, your body is not the body at issue here. The issue is the child’s body, not yours.” This incredibly common pro-life response to bodily rights arguments is based on a critical misunderstanding of what most pro-choice people mean when they use that slogan. They are not saying that the child’s body is the same as the woman’s body, nor are they saying that the human fetus is somehow biologically part of the woman’s body. They are saying that the human fetus’ body affects and is inside what is indisputably the woman’s body. By “my body,” they are referring to cells with the mother’s DNA, not cells with the human fetus’ DNA. This misunderstanding often causes well meaning pro-life people to unintentionally strawman pro-choice people.
Crawford’s analysis shows how easy it is for even someone very familiar with the abortion debate to misconstrue how pro-choice people think: reading it will help you avoid doing the same!
There’s a natural impulse when someone is experiencing something tough to say something like “this is hard for everyone, you’re not alone in going through this and you will get through it.” It comes from a good place and can sometimes be the right move, but it can have an undesirable side effect: it can make people who have an unusual problem think that everyone has the same issue and thus that they’re dealing with it unusually badly. This can stop a person asking for help that would actually improve their situation.
Over at Other Feminisms, Leah Libresco talks about how this problem can come up when talking about pregnancy or having a newborn.
Whenever I find out a friend is pregnant, I try to find a moment before her third trimester to have the postpartum depression talk. It goes something like this:
“Having a newborn is hard, and you may feel pretty exhausted. And people are going to say things like, “You must be having a rough time! Not sleeping at all, right?” that will make it seem like suffering is normal and there’s no alternative.
And it is going to be hard, but I want you to know that not all kinds of hard are normal or inevitable. If you feel like you don’t deserve to sleep, if you’re afraid you’ll hurt your baby, if it feels like things will never get better or you have nothing to look forward to… that’s not the kind of hard people are telling you to expect.
You don’t have to just endure it, you’re not going to be a bad mom for wanting to feel better, it’s not the price you pay to get to have a baby. It might be depression, and a doctor can help you out… as long as someone knows you need help.”
Check out the whole thing: “If it’s hard for everyone, I don’t deserve help”.
Finally, we want to give a shoutout to Students For Life Ireland, whose blog features perspectives from a variety of young pro-lifers throughout the country. Check them out and if you’re in the demographic bracket think about giving them a pitch yourselves.
They also have a set of useful tips for setting up a college pro-life society, and provide people with plenty of support in doing so. If you’re looking to do some pro-life work in a university context they’re great people to have on your side.
See you next time!