She Was a Girl from Birmingham:
fallacious pro-life arguments and how to respond to them

            4/24/07

nwh


Aside from the War and those pop-up polls about whether Britney Spears’s kids should be taken away where you can win a free ringtone, abortion is the nation’s most hotly contested issue, and last week’s Supreme Court ruling has thrust it back into the spotlight.

We all know that practically everyone who’s pro-life is pro-life because of wack religious shit, but unlike other right-wing positions based on wack religious shit, Conservatives are actually willing to engage in debates about abortion, because they are under the impression that they have good arguments aside from the core mumbo-jumbo about souls.

Many Liberals, however, are disinclined to debate minutiae outside of our general prescription about “a woman’s right to choose.”  The 1585 of course agrees with the idea that a woman has this right, but I also think it’s important to remember that this right is derived from myriad smaller logical points.  And when we assert it a priori and refuse to engage beyond that, it makes Conservatives think that their arguments are more “logical” than ours (when they’re actually not) and that we are basing our stance on the warrant that women should be able to do whatever they want simply because they’re women.

So, to help you the next time you find yourself in an abortion debate that advances beyond the sloganeering of “souls vs. rights,” here are some sweet, checkmate-ass retorts to some of the most common Conservative attacks on Roe v. Wade — all based on superior logic, so as to nullify the Conservative’s accusation that your position is based solely on touchy-feeliness, or whatever stupid thing they were going to say.  So...


When they say..._________    -->    You say..._________


1.  “Being pro-choice is illogical!  If your mom had had an abortion, then you wouldn’t be here!” 

Response:  Yes, that’s true.  It’s also true that I wouldn’t be here if my parents had never met, or not had sex that day, or if my dad had jizzed two seconds later or two seconds earlier, or jerked off earlier that day, or had something different for lunch.  There is an effectively infinite amount of shit that could have caused me or anyone else to “not be here,” so why single out abortion?

1b.  “But the fetus is already alive!” 

Response:  Technically, so are sperm, and millions of those already die inside your nuts every day anyway, and a fetus early on is no more alive than an individual sperm cell is. 

1c.  “But sperm wouldn’t survive outside the body for more than a couple of seconds.” 

Response:  Exactly.  Neither would a fetus.  Oh, and just so you know, I could be giving you shit for calling it a fetus before the third month, because before that it’s an embryo and before that it’s a zygote, but what the hell, I can fuck you up on this regardless.

1d.  “There’s no difference between all those fancy science words!  It is a human baby!” 

Response:  I’m so glad you said that, because there is actually a big difference between those “fancy science words,” as you call them.  Even after it stops being just a bunch of cells, the blob in question is still just a retarded fish or some shit for a while.

2.  “What the hell are you talking about?”

Response:  What I’m talking about is the fact that, although we now know that ontogeny doesn't exactly recapitulate phylogeny, it is still the case that the characteristics unique to a species tend to appear very late in its fetal development.  Thus, whether a fetus is alive is actually not the same question as whether it is human, because the parts that make it human — the cerebrum, for example — don’t appear until the ass-end of the gestation period.

2b.  “Oh, yeah?  Well, I…  actually, wait, nevermind.”

Response:  No, that’s okay, what is it?

2c.  “Nothing.”

Response:  Are you sure?  You weren’t going to say that you don’t believe in evolution, by any chance, were you? 

2d.  “Maybe, but why are you dragging the evolution debate into this?  Isn’t it totally irrelevant?”

Response:  That’s what I’d assumed you were going to say, and the reason I assumed this also explains why the evolution, ahem, “debate” is relevant, as follows:  Only 14% of the U.S. population believe that evolution is “definitely true,” 51% believe it is “definitely not true” — i.e., they are Creationists — and the other 35% aren’t sure.  Since the same population is split roughly 50/50 on the abortion debate, and both these issues correlate nearly exactly with party identity itself, this means that there are virtually no pro-life people who believe in evolution, which is something you never really hear anyone bring up.  But since the abortion debate is about whether the fetus is “human,” and since the reason it isn’t directly involves evolution — i.e., someone can’t debate the relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny if that person does not accept the existence of phylogeny itself to begin with — I think it’s something people should start pointing out a whole lot more, seeing as how anything that anyone who doesn’t believe in evolution has to say about abortion is automatically just as useless and irrelevant as what they have to say about evolution itself, and that virtually no-one who is against abortion believes in evolution.    

2e.  “But the whatever-it-is would still end up being a human baby if you didn’t do anything about it.”

Response:  Yeah, which is why you do something about it — namely, having an abortion.

3.  “But you are messing around with Nature!  Aren’t you happy to be alive?”

Response:  Those are two different points, but I can answer them both together, since they were both stupid.  You are already “messing around with Nature” in everything that you do.  For example, are you planning to go have sex with someone five minutes from now?

3b.  “Of course not.  I’m a giant loser.”

Response:  Okay, well, if you did go have sex with someone five minutes from now, then you might have gotten that person pregnant, so therefore I guess you are “messing with Nature” by continuing to stand here and have this conversation with me, since by doing so you are preventing the person you would otherwise have been creating from existing.  And by the way, same goes for the fact that you are not planning to go rape someone in five minutes, so I guess that means you think rape is not only excusable, but a moral imperative, since you are effectively “causing people to not be here” by not going around raping women 24 hours a day.

4.  “Of course I don’t think rape is okay.  In fact, I think women who are pregnant because of rape should be allowed to get abortions.”

Response:  I’m so happy you said so, because guess what?  That means you were lying before when you said that you thought the fetus was a living human being.  If you really thought that, then you would consider a rape exemption to be equivalent to murdering an innocent for someone else’s crime.  So you basically just admitted that you are only really against abortion because you want to punish women for having sex voluntarily, because you’re pissed off about being a giant loser.

4b.  “Hey, I’m not a giant loser!”

Response:  Dude, you just admitted you were a giant loser like two minutes ago.

4c.  “Oh, yeah.  In retrospect, that was a grievous misstep.”

Response:  Don’t worry.  It’s not like it was some big secret in the first place.         

5.  “You are only mature enough to have sex if you are mature enough to raise a child!” (sometimes phrased as) “You should only have sex if you are willing to accept the consequences of pregnancy!”

Response:  Bullshit.  While it is obviously true that pregnancy is something that can happen as a result of having sex, it is equally true that dying in a car accident is something that can happen as a result of driving a car, so you could just as easily say that no-one should drive a car unless they are willing to die in a car accident.

5b.  “That’s different!”

Response:  How is it different?  A fatal car crash is a terrible accident that can happen as the result of driving a car, and getting pregnant is a terrible accident that can happen as the result of having sex.  There are things you can do to reduce the risk of getting pregnant, like using birth control and condoms (which you are also against for some reason), and there are things you can do to reduce the risk of dying in a car accident — and, now that I think about it, aren’t you guys also the ones who think there should be no speed limits and who opposed mandatory seat-belt laws?  Interesting.  Are you sure your goal isn’t just to ruin people’s lives because you’re insane?

6.  “Well, what about Post-Abortion Syndrome?  It has been proven that eleventy billion percent of women who have abortions are depressed and shit afterwards!”

Response:  I’m going to respond to this in stages.  First of all, it has been nowhere near proven — and in fact, very nearly disproven — that Post-Abortion Syndrome exists.  People get depressed for lots of reasons, including lots of pregnant women who don’t get abortions and get depressed after having the baby, which would seem to indicate that there are chemical processes going on during pregnancy that are likely to make you depressed either way.  Secondly, since there is high correlation between abortion and unplanned pregnancy, and also high correlation between unplanned pregnancy and depression (because people with bipolar disorder or clinical depression tend to engage in risky behavior more often than the general population), it is very likely depression that’s indirectly leading to abortion, rather than the other way around.  So that’s two post-hoc fallacies on your part.  Finally, there’s also the fact that even if women are getting depressed after having abortions, that doesn’t prove it’s wrong.  You get depressed after quitting your job or breaking up with someone too, because big changes in life tend to rattle people, even if in the long run they are the right decisions.  Plus, there’s also the seemingly obvious fact that, to the extent it does exist, you assholes are causing this alleged Post-Abortion depression yourselves by making women feel like there’s something wrong with having an abortion, so this P.A.S. shit is also a fallacy of self-fulfilling prophecy.  If half the country were always screaming that it was evil to eat broccoli, then there’d probably be such a thing as Post-Broccoli-Eating Syndrome, but that wouldn’t prove that there’s something wrong with eating broccoli, only that the people who scream about it are nuts.         

7.  “You are doing so much crazy stuff with logic that you are losing sight of the real world!"

Response:  That's an interesting objection, since you began by accusing me of not being logical.  I guess logic is suddenly a bad thing, now that you've realized I'm actually better at it than you are, huh?  Anyway, this is a stupid objection, since you're essentially saying that my arguments are bad because my arguments are good — i.e., that I am so smart that being smart is making me wrong.  No dice.  Today is not Opposite Day.

7b.  "Well, you can only say all that stuff because you went to a fancy school!"

Response:  Well, no shit.  That's how you become smart.  But that doesn't mean that being right actually counts as being wrong.  By the way, I was also pretty smart to begin with, which is how I got into the fancy school in the first place.

7c.  "No, it's not!  You only got in because you're Black!"

Response:  Dude, I'm not Black.

7d.  "Oh, yeah.  Oops."

Response:  No harm done.  I guess you're just so used to saying that, sometimes you don't even stop to think about whether the person you're talking to is actually even Black, huh?

8.  "I guess so…  But even if you can prove with your fancy logic that abortion should be legal, it is still horrible and we should do everything we can to lower the number of abortions being performed!”

Response:  Okay, so why don’t you become a Liberal, since we are the ones who are “doing everything we can to lower the number of abortions being performed” — e.g., giving people access to birth control and information about safe sex, not to mention trying to eliminate poverty, since the most common impetus for abortion is financial problems.  The number of abortions being performed in the U.S. went down during Clinton’s presidency and then back up under Bush II, because lunatics like you who are against abortion are also against all the things that actually prevent people from needing to get abortions.  So, the question is, do you actually want to lower the number of abortions being performed, or just be pissed off about sex because you’re a loser?

8b.  “I’m not against everything that would prevent people from needing an abortion, because I am pro-abstinence, and the most effective way to keep from getting pregnant is not to have sex at all.”

Response:  Yeah, good luck with that.  Are you also against teaching people the Heimlich maneuver, because the most effective way to prevent choking is never to eat food, and teaching people about the Heimlich maneuver would make them think it was okay to be running around eating food all day?

8c.  I was totally not about to say 'running around having sex all day'.

Response:  Yes, you totally were.  I have had this conversation a million times, and people like you always say “running around having sex all day.”  What is it with you and that stupid hyperbole?  And why are you the ones who accuse us of being pussies, when you are the ones who always talk like you’re someone’s lame-ass mom? 

9.  “Okay, well, abortion law is biased!  There was a Roe v. Wade for women, so it is only fair that there be a Roe v. Wade for men!”*

Response:  Uh… what?  No, seriously, what the fuck are you talking about?  Only women get pregnant, so when you say there should be a “Roe v. Wade for men,” I have no idea what you mean.  Besides, the actual Roe v. Wade wasn’t a “Roe v. Wade for women” so much as it was a “Roe v. Wade for people.”

    *(I’m not kidding.  I have seen people say this word-for-word in conservative chat rooms on more than one occasion, and I still have no idea what the fuck it means.)

9b.  “Well, you Liberals are the ones who think that everything should be equal, so I guess that means you can’t have a Roe v. Wade for women, because you can’t have one for men, ha ha ha.”

Response:  Dude, are you even still taking this seriously?

9c.  “Actually, no, I was just trying to act like a tough guy and make my friends laugh.  But to be honest, that’s all I was ever trying to do.  Really, I was only even having this conversation because I thought I’d have an opportunity to call you gay.”

Response:  Okay, whatever.  I’ll give you one more shot at a legitimate point.

10.  “But pregnancy is the point of sex!  It is what is supposed to happen when you have sex!  It is Nature’s Law!”

Response:  By that logic, the fact that I am bigger and stronger than you means that I am supposed to kill you and take your food, because that is Nature’s Law, and it is the point of being big and strong.  Nature’s-Law arguments are worthless, because “law” in that sense should mean that it is impossible to break, not that you “get in trouble” for breaking it.  If someone managed to build a perpetual-motion machine, we wouldn’t send him to jail for breaking the Laws of Thermodynamics, because his doing that would mean that the Laws of Thermodynamics aren’t what we thought they were, and therefore were not “broken.”  And speaking of science, since you don’t believe in evolution, what the fuck are you doing talking about the Law of the Jungle or whatever?  You have a curious way of claiming not to believe in evolution whenever evolution comes up directly, but then reasoning as if you do believe in it whenever the discussion is about something else.  I'm just saying.

10b.  “Umm…  Fuck.”

Response:  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Listen, why don’t you go home and sort out all your beliefs until you get somewhere remotely close to the point where they don’t all massively contradict one another, and then you will be allowed to come back and argue with me.  Until you do this, then not only does a fetus not count as a person, but you don’t even count as a person, and what I say matters and what you say doesn’t matter, period.  Have a nice day.

11.  “You’re gay!!” 

Response:  Congratulations, you got it in at the buzzer.

11b.  “So I win?” 

Response:  No.  No, you don’t.

11c.  “But I called you gay!  That means I win!” 

Response:  You know what?  Here is a crazy homeless man.  Why don’t you argue with him about the effectiveness of tinfoil vis-a-vis preventing the aliens from stealing his thoughts?

11d.  “Does it say anything in the Bible about whether tinfoil can do that?” 

Response:  Umm… yes.  Paul says it can, in his second epistle to, uh…  the Solarmanites.

11e.  “Then I stand no chance against this learned gentleman.  Anyway, I must be going.” 

Response:  Off to buy some tinfoil, are you? 

11f.  “None of your business!  Typical Liberal — always wanting to know who’s going to buy tinfoil.  What ever happened to Free Speech?” 

Response:  Wow.  Just…  Wow. 



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