A SYTYCB entry
I recently got into a debate on Facebook with a high school friend who said she found my frequent “sexually-socially-politically liberal” postings “demoralizing and frustrating,” and argued that extreme anti-choice acts like defunding Planned Parenthood in Texas were really “good faith” efforts by lawmakers to make “the best decision possible.”
I know from previous comments she’s made that she bases her anti-choice views on Catholic theology that bestows premature personhood on blastocysts and fetuses at the expense of the well-being of fully developed human beings. As a matter of principle, I refuse to argue reproductive choice (and marriage equality for that matter) with folks who have entrenched beliefs against either that are based in fundamentalist readings of their religious texts. They’re very adept at making irrational arguments that ultimately boil down to “God says, so there!” look logically defensible by painting the secular position as the other extreme on a continuum of views.
ThinkProgress’ Zach Ford posted a great infographic yesterday about this tactic that I found very useful in my choice to not waste my energy on this debate:
If you apply Ford’s framework to the reproductive choice debate, here’s how it stacks out:
Politicians who are trying to ban abortion just want to save women from making a horrible choice they’ll regret.Politicians who are trying to ban abortion are being paternalistic and don’t believe women are smart enough to manage our own lives.See above
|Extreme #1||Moderate||Extreme #2|
|Abortion is killing babies!!! My priest/pastor/Bible says!!!||Carrying an unwanted pregnancy vs. terminating it is a complicated moral and personal choice.||Abortions are awesome!!!|
|Politicians who are trying to ban abortion are doing so because they want to make a good faith effort to make the best decision possible.||Abortion is a complicated moral and personal choice. Blanket third-party decisions don’t make sense because each woman is unique and is the best judge of her situation.||Politicians who are trying to ban abortion want to kill my buzz from all of the wanton sex I’m having because I’m a big slut and abortion is awesome!|
|Women should always have babies when consensual sex results in a pregnancy because they should have to deal with the consequences of their sinful, sinful actions.||If an unwanted pregnancy results from consensual sex, women have a complicated moral and personal choice ahead of them and need to determine what works for them and their families.||We can have all the sex we want and have abortions all over the place because abortions are awesome!|
|Women should always have babies that result from rape because babies are a gift from God, no matter how excruciatingly painful the circumstances of their conception.||Women who are raped must be free to move on with their lives. Having or aborting a rapist’s baby is a particularly difficult moral and personal choice in this instance.||Women who are raped should always have abortions because abortions are awesome!|
So the next time an anti-choice troll tries to goad you into a debate that’s going to boil down to reality-based arguments vs. extreme arguments based in fundy religious dogma, remember this chart. Just like an abusive boyfriend or parent, they’ll use this tactic to gaslight you and make you feel just as nutty as they are.
But unless you’re taking the position in the Extreme #2 column, you really aren’t.