Thursday, April 15, 2010

A good day to whack a duck

Kelly McParland says that to support a woman's right to choose:
"you have to believe that a fetus is not human in the moral sense." http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/04/13/kelly-mcparland-putting-abortion-advocates-in-a-box.aspx

Joyce Arthur responds to this in a letter to the National Post.
"This is incorrect. The pro-choice view is woman-focused, and we take no view on the fetus (or should not). The status and moral value of the fetus is moot because it's a matter of subjective personal opinion, and the only opinion that counts is the pregnant woman's... But most pro-choice people do not want to ban the practice because that means removing personal autonomy in favour of society's values. Being pro-choice means supporting women's choices even when we don't agree with them -- the hallmark of a truly free and democratic society."
http://www.nationalpost.com/related/topics/story.html?id=2908070

(First of all, notice that Arthur says "we". She is apparently speaking for all pro-choicers. I wonder if in fact she actually does speak for all pro-choicers. They might want to speak up for themselves if they don't agree with her, because what she is saying is pretty scary but that’s just my opinion.)

So let’s dissect her statements.

Arthur says she takes "no view" of the fetus. She is view-less of the fetus. It is nothing to her. Similar to an eraser I guess, as in "I have no view of this eraser".

I wonder if Arthur has a moral view of say, a duck, as in "I have no moral view of this duck so I think I’ll whack it"?

Then she says:
"The status and moral value of the fetus is moot because it's a matter of subjective personal opinion".

If moral value is a subjective personal opinion, that means if I say that murder is okay, because I say it’s okay, then it’s okay, right?

Or, if I say that it is okay for me to steal from you and therefore when I tell the judge it’s all right for me to steal your car, he’ll say "No problem, since morality is subjective, and you think it’s okay, hey I’m good with that. You’re free to go".

Next she says:
"But most pro-choice people do not want to ban the practice because that means removing personal autonomy in favour of society's values."

Now she’s contradicting herself. All of a sudden society has values. How can society have values (i.e. all society shares a value) if values are personally subjective? You really can’t have it both ways Joyce.

And the clincher:
"Being pro-choice means supporting women's choices even when we don't agree with them -- the hallmark of a truly free and democratic society."

So to back to the murder example, if a woman’s choice is to say, kill her husband, then I must support the woman’s choice to murder her husband, which then results in a "truly free and democratic society". Got it.

There you have it folks, moral relativism at its finest.

14 comments:

  1. I would prefer to just have a good laugh at Joyce Arthur's expense. I mean- it's not like that letter to the editor is smart, valid or substantiated in any way.

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  2. Thank you for your clarity of thought. Of course Kelly McParland will not "get" it.

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  3. I should have said "Joyce Arthur" won't "get it" ... cut and pasted wrongly. sorry!

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  4. "Now she’s contradicting herself. All of a sudden society has values. How can society have values (i.e. all society shares a value) if values are personally subjective? You really can’t have it both ways Joyce."

    Society in general can and does share common values. For example, murder and stealing are wrong.

    Values can also be personal. This is how we end up with people having different moral codes. Or groups of people having different moral codes.

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  5. "And the clincher:
    "Being pro-choice means supporting women's choices even when we don't agree with them -- the hallmark of a truly free and democratic society."

    So to back to the murder example, if a woman’s choice is to say, kill her husband, then I must support the woman’s choice to murder her husband, which then results in a "truly free and democratic society". Got it."

    No, you don't have to support that Patricia. Our democratic society has deemed it wrong to murder.

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  6. Many African countries have deemed that abortion is wrong and have made it illegal. This means Ginny must not support abortion in Africa.

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  7. Not quite Patricia. It would just mean that I am still pro-choice. The difference would be that you would be to, now that abortion isn't one of the choices a woman has.

    I could still support a woman's choice to have an abortion, but doing so would be me at risk of criminal charges.

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  8. What makes it so frustrating sometimes to debate abortion, is the lack of logic we often see in some of the arguments. Joyce Arthur says in her National Post letter that pro-choicers "take no view on the fetus" and then in the very next sentence, she takes a view on the fetus!

    She says, "the status and moral value of the fetus is...a matter of subjective personal opinion, and the only opinion that counts is the pregnant woman's..." In other words, she's saying that the fetus has no objective moral value and that it doesn't matter what anyone other than the fetus's mother thinks about it.

    One may agree with that view or not, but it most certainly is a view--a view that is at odds with the view taken by pro-lifers.

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  9. If I interpret Ginny correctly, her definition of "pro-choice" is relative and depends on whether or not the choice is legal in a particular society. (She says in her Aug. 20 post that Patricia, who does not support abortion, would be considered "pro-choice" when it comes to countries where abortion is illegal.)

    Ginny seems to be saying that we should support all those choices that are legal in a society, and only if we do, can we call ourselves "pro-choice." If this is indeed what she means, then she either supports "female genital cutting" in those societies that allow it, or if she does not support it, then she is not actually "pro-choice" according to her definition of the term.

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  10. To follow this logic--since being "pro-choice" is based on supporting everything that is legal in a country--would mean that a person could only call themself "pro-choice" if they supported stoning women adulterers to death in all countries where stoning women adulterers to death, is legal.

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  11. Jeannie and Patricia, I'm not sure if you are confused or simply pretending to be. But you no full well that "pro choice" is a term used to refer to people who support all of the options available to pregnant women. It has absolutely nothing to do with stoning and genitalia mutilation.

    But I think you know this.

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  12. Ginny, if a movement began in some country to protect parents' freedom to choose whether or not to circumcise their female children, and the people supporting this type of freedom referred to themselves as pro-choice (because they believe parents should have the choice to circumcise or not), would you object to these people referring to themselves as pro-choice?

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  13. If someone uses terminology that is not widely recognized or is widely recognized as meaning something else, then they will have alot of explaining to do. It's simply not effective communication.

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  14. Ginny, so are you going to tell all the pro-choice smokers rights group that they should stop referring to themselves as "pro-choice" because people won't understand what they are talking about? Just google "pro-choice" and "smoking." You may not like it, but people other than abortion-rights advocates use that term. Besides, as more people begin to use the term "pro-choice" for other issues, it will become less and less specific to the abortion issue. I have heard the phrase "freedom to choose" for all kinds of things, including financial investments.

    Thus to ensure effective communication, which you have correctly noted is important, one cannot simply say "I am pro-choice." One must finish the sentence to provide the context, as in "I am pro-choice on abortion" (meaning "I believe people should have the freedom to choose to have an abortion or not") or "I am pro-choice on smoking" (meaning "I believe people should have the freedom to choose to smoke or not"). After all, you wouldn't want people to think you support female genital mutilation if you simply called yourself "pro-choice" in a country where a "pro-choice" campaign were underway to promote the freedom of parents to choose to circumcise (mutilate) their daughters, would you?

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