Monday, July 29, 2013

The Strawman Cometh

First off, my apologies for what is probably a ridiculously unoriginal post title.  I'm not so arrogant as to assume that I simply MUST be the first one to come up with such a clever play on The Iceman Cometh.  But anyway, that is neither here nor there.

Back to this particular man o straw.  For this playing along at home, here's a little 101 level info for you:

Strawman (def): a weak or imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted.  - Merriam Webster

A few folks have posted a link to this article from Natural News claiming that an MSNBC anchor basically endorsed infanticide by stating that parents decide when their children are in fact children and go on to make this out to be part of some kind of death cult that believes it is okay to murder children up to three months in age.  They're claiming that this is part of a radical-left desire for 'Post-Birth' abortion (Hi, not actually a thing).

The quote from the article from anchor Melissa Harris-Perry reads as follows: 
When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling -- but not science.
I clicked through to some of the sources and found a longer clip that gives some context to Harris-Perry's statement, which incidentally, seems to deal only with pregnancy and not with the question of infanticide.


The argument she's presenting here is one that I have come across in abortion debates - when does the fetus become a baby?  I've taken parts in debates where one side refers to zygotes and fetuses and clusters of cells and the other to babies and children and innocent life.  The latter may respond that they NEVER thought of their babies as just clusters of cells.

And that's totally valid.

There have been people who have described a sense of relief post-abortion, as though a burden had been lifted.

Also valid.

No one is obligated to feel sad about terminating a pregnancy.  Nor are people obligated to be nonchalant in the face of losing a wanted pregnancy, whether by miscarriage or through having to make a heart-breaking decision due to health or financial constraints.

However, Natural News turns this into a straw man argument by equating pre-term abortion with infanticide and coming to the conclusion that if you agree with one, you must agree with the latter, when they are two separate entities, and some studies have shown that in areas where abortion services are more widely available, infanticide rates drop as unwanted pregnancies are terminated well before birth.

As far as the "poll" asking people whether they'd support 'Fourth Trimester' abortion, I'm inclined to think that this is less about people approving of infanticide and more about people not having the slightest clue about pregnancy and how it works.  You can people to agree to fucked up stuff if you word it in vague and confusing ways.

2 comments:

  1. "Fourth" trimester? They really worded it like that? Geez.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "As far as the "poll" asking people whether they'd support 'Fourth Trimester' abortion, I'm inclined to think that this is less about people approving of infanticide and more about people not having the slightest clue about pregnancy and how it works. You can people to agree to fucked up stuff if you word it in vague and confusing ways."

    *Nods* My dad was trying to sell this to me--that liberal types like me either want to kill babies or are so stupid they don't understand pregnancy and so therefore their opinion shouldn't be trusted. But, newsflash, when you try to deceive and trick people, sometimes you will. And when you don't value education about sexuality and human reproduction, you shouldn't be surprised at the results.

    ReplyDelete

Engaging in discussion and/or general sucking up.. that's where it's at!

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