I kept telling myself it was a bad idea, but I just couldn’t shake it off. It was time to pick a topic for my persuasive speech in college Public Speaking. What if I talked about abortion? I kept telling myself, “Come on, David, you know this is not going to end well. You’re a white dude in a public college. You know your professor, and probably most of the students, are very liberal and will tear you apart.” But it kept nagging at me until I was finally convinced by some sage wisdom. “Farmer Hoggett knew that little ideas that tickled, and nagged, and refused to go away should never be ignored, for in them lie the seeds of destiny.” How could I say no to that? I’d need to be careful and fair, but it could be done.
When discussing the topics we had chosen, one student politely said, “It will be interesting to hear the speech coming from you.” Her reasoning being, “Well, you’re a guy, talking about abortion.” Her curiosity is one of the politer responses of this sort. As a whole, the response from the class was quite positive. Usually you hear something like, “Men can’t get pregnant, so they shouldn’t talk about abortion. Men can’t tell women what to do with their bodies.”
They’re right that men can’t have babies. But does that exclude us from the conversation? I don’t think so, and we’ll go over three reasons why.
1. The Irony of History
The first point to be made whenever you hear this is to direct them to history. If men should be entirely excluded from the decisions about abortion, there is a bit of a problem. In 1973, nine men on the American Supreme Court decided for all the United States that abortion be legalized. If they want to leave men out of the equation, perhaps the first step is to nullify that decision and go from there.
This probably will not convince them, but it will expose their double standard. They don’t want men out of the conversation, they just want the pro-life men out. Essentially they are saying that they only want to allow people who agree with them into the conversation.
2. More Than a Women’s Health Issue
Their argument only makes sense if abortion is merely about women’s health and autonomy. They are taking the unborn out of the equation and focusing exclusively on the mother. To be clear, no one is arguing that women’s rights are a bad thing. But if the unborn are valuable human beings, this is more than a women’s issue. This is a human rights issue. Almost 3,000 abortions happen in America alone every day. Even if it’s not an even 50/50 split, that’s still thousands of both male and female babies being killed every single day. As Scott Klusendorf compares it, “What if I told you only generals have the right to talk about the morality of war. Wouldn’t you find that a rather odd comment when war impacts everyone?” It’s a very odd comment, just as the question of “should men be talking about abortion?” is.
3. Arguments Don’t Have Genders
Ultimately this argument is simply trying to end the debate. They want to shut down the opposition without even having to address the arguments you’ve presented. Do not let them do that. The pro-life case does not hinge on the gender of the one presenting it. Considering pro-life men and women are presenting the same arguments, this should be clear. A question to ask would be, “If a woman presented these same arguments to you, how would you respond?” Or better yet, show them a woman presenting the same arguments that you are.
This argument stems from a form of moral relativism. There is a belief that everything is subject to the perspective of the person giving it. “Since I as a man do not know what it feels like to be a woman going through a difficult circumstance like an unwanted pregnancy, how can I pass judgment and legislation on a woman who has?” This only works if feelings determine morality. Perspective does influence empathy and compassion, but it is not the basis for morality. Murdering innocent children is wrong, whether you are from America or Africa, male or female, child or adult. Don’t let them exclude you from that issue because of your gender.
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