Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Actual Lame Abortion Analogy Hall of Fame (With BONUS Parrot-in-a-cage)

November 8, 2012: I started this blogpost back in April. But today I am INSPIRED! By this piece of batshit lunacy by none other than Stephen Woodworth, he of Woodworth's Wank, aka M312 or The Motion to Reopen the Abortion Debate That Was Thumped in Parliament Six Weeks Ago But That Certain Fetus Fetishists Won't Shut the Fuck Up About.

Now, back to April, 2012:

In the comments here, Ruaidhr said:
I've never been able to figure out why people can't understand how irrelevant "when life begins" is to the discussion.

You could implant Mahatma Ghandi in me, and it wouldn't take away my right to say "get him out of there!"
Which, of course, is a variant on Ye Olde 'What If [insert esteemed person's name]'s Mother Had Aborted Him' schtick. (It's almost invariably a 'Him', BTW.) Ruaidhr is original though. I've never seen Gandhi implanted before, only aborted.

Commenter Godel Noodle gives one of the standard rejoinders to that one. HIs specific is 'horrible abortion doctor', but Hitler, Stalin, Stephen Harper, etc., can also be inserted depending on audience.

Sensing we had a newbie to the Abortion Debate®, I sent GN to the Lame Abortion Analogies Hall of Fame.

But, gotcha! It isn't actually LAAHF. GN thought such a thing would be a grande idée.

I got googling. But to give GN a taste of the wished-for hell a-coming', I linked to JJ's Way Back Machine for Justice for Unborn TV Sets.

Here we have cars and eagle's nests. (And to answer any newbie's question at this point: No. There is nowhere they won't go.)

Unwanted automobile passengers is a standard. Another fave is body functions or body parts.

This one involves a party, unconsciousness, and surprise at being connected to someone who is using your kidney for nine months.

There are many variants on that one, Thomson's Violinist being the classic.

More on kidneys, specifically selling them, from deBeauxOs and JJ.

Slavery is often conjured up but as Ms Magazine observes, it works better for pro-choice.
The problem here is that the slavery analogy only makes sense if you believe having an abortion is somehow equivalent to owning a human being. (It isn’t.)
. . .
The slavery analogy makes much more sense as an argument for choice, not against it. Slavery is about losing one’s freedom and personal autonomy over one’s body and life. As Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, so eloquently put it: “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”
Then there's the Hitler-holocaust SHRIEEEEEK and its associated genocide SHRIEEEEEK.

Big Nurse Stanek magicks population control, China's one-child policy, eco-Nazis, death panels, and what-not.

And then there's the ever-popular unpopular house guest analogy.

They all rely on migraine-inducing pretzel logic and wildly absurd 'what-ifs'. They all FAIL.

Now here's someone who knows a thing or two about both analogies and pregnancy.
Having sat through too many evangelical sermons in my younger life, I’ve developed a strong resistance to arguments that draw on analogy. Most of the sermons I endured as a teenager and young adult were heavy-laden with analogies; now I can’t help seeing them as a recourse for lazy-mindedness (not always deliberate) and tendentiousness (usually deliberate). They’re useful for when you want others to believe something for which you don’t have concrete evidence, or which may contain many different truths that are unendingly complex, and the analogy helps you to focus on a single one.
. . .
Pregnancy is not much like organ donation; and it is certainly nothing even potentially akin to being a slave-owner or a (female supremacist) Nazi. (Seriously: those two last ones are central arguments of the anti-abortion movement’s desire to enshrine fetal rights. Anti-abortion advocates imagine that pro-choice women see fetuses as “subhuman”; therefore, much like Nazis and slave owners, they allow them to be eliminated at will. That leap of (ana)logic leads directly into the abyss of manipulativeness and dishonesty.) I’ve always seen the abortion-is-murder analogy as a shocking distortion of the reality of an unwanted pregnancy and the maternal-fetal relationship.

Actually in my googles, I found one that does work. Oddly, it's pro-choice.

Let's return to the tendentiousness that Woody rolled out in
M312, Fixed-Wing Technology and Ballooning. (See? There really is nowhere they won't go.)

Here's the last patronizing sentence:
Now do you understand the relationship between Motion 312 and abortion?
Indeed, we do, Woody. And did right from the start, despite your relentless duplicitousness.

BONUS! I found the elusive parrot-in-a-cage analogy. It was in the comments, now sadly memory-holed, at SUZYALLCAPSLOCK's place, but preserved for eternity by Canadian Cynic.

EXTRA BONUS: JJ explains the fetus = polaroid picture analogy I mention in the comments. Definitely one for the Hall of Fame!


Ruaidhrí said...

Hi, Dammit.

I'm honoured to have been part of the process that led to the establishment of this Hall of Fame.

Interestingly, it was the Thomson's Violinist paper that, in 1977, convinced me ( during an undergraduate "Contemporary Topics in Philosophy" course ) to move from "I suppose there ought to be laws limiting this" to "If personal autonomy means anything at all, then women must have this right, dammit".
I've been searching ever since for a way to convey the analogy succinctly enough to use it in conversation. I hit upon the idea of implanting Ghandi to get through the labourious set-up in a few words.

Yours Lamely,

fern hill said...

Implanting Gandhi is good. Not lame the way the others are.

But because there is literally *nothing* like being pregnant, even non-lame analogies can only go so far.

Beijing York said...

I did the google, and came across the men's right to be part of the decision analogy. Of course, it's piss poor, but here it goes: if the man and woman baked a cake together shouldn't he have a say in what happens to the cake?

First, if their intent is to make a cake, the woman probably wouldn't want to stop it from baking unless she suddenly was told that there was cyanide in the flour. But better still, how does the woman find an accidental cake in her oven? Did they make the batter under the influence of a roofie? And if that were the case, that's a crime against her person and she should be entitled to take that cake pan out. And OMG, why am I even doing the pretzel logic dance :-)

deBeauxOs said...

I'm torn.

I personally like the Parrot-in-a-cage analogy that Blob Blogging Wingnut advanced because of its sheer goofiness. I did a quick'n'dirty smackdown, when I blogged at Birth Pangs, sadly not available for linking as the site does not appear to be functionally searchable.

However, JJ's post is brilliant and stands as inspiration to all prochoice folks.

deBeauxOs said...

Fisking pretzel logic is fun, though!


Sixth Estate said...

Thomson's violonist I think was the moment I became an irredeemably pro-choice heathen, too. There may be nothing like being pregnant, but to me that analogy isn't about what a fetus is or isn't, it's about whether law should cover the situation.

And in that way I think it's an absolutely golden analogy. In basically all other cases where one person is called upon to risk the safety and the integrity of their own body for the sake of another person (even granting that a fetus is a person here), we as a society have agreed that this is a personal choice based upon ethical considerations, not a matter for criminal law.

To answer the inevitable fetishist reply (that "conception is a choice"), what happened leading up to that choice is thus made irrelevant. Even if you were directly responsible for Thomson's violinist being in his hazardous state, the decision not to be his life support surrogate still wouldn't be a crime in and of itself. That would be a debate about ethics, not about law.

And if there is going to be a debate about abortion, therefore, it should be a debate about ethics, which is choice; not about law, which is anti-choice.

Sixth Estate said...

On the scale of intelligent argumentation, I think an "accidental cake" ranks somewhere up around a "legitimate rape."

I find it kind of disturbing (and also hilarious) that so many analogies being made by vehement anti-choicers somehow end up revolving back to the ridiculous principle that babies are the joint property of their parents (and therefore that fetuses, being babies, are also joint property). I should have thought that a movement so committed to the sacred righs of all humans would recognize that people aren't property of other people, at any age.

Sixth Estate said...

That is an absolutely astonishing analogy by Woodworth. Good lord. What was he thinking?

Maybe I'm missing something, but I think his point this: if we outlaw abortion, Canada will become a major airplane manufacturer.

I find this point entirely convincing and a valuable contribution to the debate.

fern hill said...

I should add the new one JJ had flung at her recently. Fetus = polaroid picture.

'Is a developing polaroid picture of a deer not a deer just because it's all grey?'


Niles said...

o.O Maybe I need more caffeine but aside from the fact a developing polaroid picture is a depiction of a deer...not a deer...doesn't that lend itself to (not that I'm dating myself by knowing how polaroid pix work -- and btw how does this analogy go over with those born after the polaroid age?)...

...err lend itself to...investing/gambling money in taking a high expense (compared to film rolls) self-developing photo and not being able to tell if it turned out to be a decent shot of *anything* until it finishes chemically exposing and for goat's sake don't squeeze it between the fingers or otherwise mess with it until it finishes processing otherwise it's a piece 'o' crap. (not to mention the retro-abortion of polaroids fading out after years). Compare this to digital photography where you can decide ahead of time what photos are crap or not and delete the ones in which you don't wish to invest.

Every photo a wanted photo.

Beijing York said...

Oh dear Niles, you sure made me laugh: "Every photo a wanted photo."

I am the worst offender... I think I 'abort' 60% of the digital photos I take. And even with old school technology, I've been known to toss out/rip up developed photos that I didn't like. Would that be considered infanticide?

Godel Noodle said...

But because there is literally *nothing* like being pregnant, even non-lame analogies can only go so far.

I have a gut feeling this isn't going to end well for me somehow, but I can't help myself... Isn't being infected with a parasite actually quite like being pregnant? Obviously not in terms of the experience--just by the definition of the word.

Maybe I should swing by SUZYALLCAPS's place and offer to help her out with the analogies. "OK, how about this... You're coming out of Walmart and some guy breaks your arm with a Polaroid camera, causing your tapeworm to be dislodged, after which it is promptly swallowed by a parrot in a flatscreen TV chassis. Isn't the tapeworm the real victim here?"

Godel Noodle said...

Sorry, I really should have begun with a MASSIVE "thank you!" to Fern Hill for putting all this together.

So...thanks Fern Hill! This is highly entertaining (while also being a little depressing, revolting, frustrating, etc.). I just can't get enough pretzel logic. (Speaking of which, I'd also like to thank whichever poet coined that term.)

fern hill said...

GN: Parasite infection *is* the closest physical analogy to pregnancy. And fetus fetishists go insane when pro-choicers use it. Love your Lame Analogy Mash-up!

And you're welcome.

Námo Mandos said...

Ceci n'est pas une personne.

(I couldn't believe no one had said that yet.)

Godel Noodle said...

GN: Parasite infection *is* the closest physical analogy to pregnancy.

Oh good! I'm glad my instincts were off (I was afraid the comparison might be offensive to people I respect--but I couldn't put my finger on how).

Actually, from looking around a bit, it appears to be so fitting that it's rare to come across a definition that even leaves room for it to be an analogy! Under the majority of definitions I saw, it simply IS a parasite. I suppose it's not an "infection," though.

And fetus fetishists go insane when pro-choicers use it.

Aw, sounds like I missed a good show. ;-)

fern hill said...

You are on the Tweeter (as Niles styles it), yes?

Say something like: 'A fetus is parasite on its host. The host has the absolute right to get rid of it.' Use the hashtags #prolife, #prochoice and watch the fur fly.

Fun for a fall afternoon. :D

Anonymous said...

Say what you will. The motion was simply to discuss not implement any law. If you are so sure your cause is righteous you should have no problem having a debate. From what I see you have very poor arguments, no wonder you fear an open discussion.

fern hill said...

You are on a short leash here, Anonymous.

The right to abortion is based on the human rights to bodily autonomy and privacy.

Human rights are not up for debate.

The end.

Niles said...

Interesting. Anonymous is repeating the talking points from anti-choice Kristine's article reprinted in Lifespite.

Talk about forwarding poor arguments.

Godel Noodle said...

Ceci n'est pas une personne.

I was hoping to think of something funny to add here (so I held off on saying anything), but I got nothin'. Still, I couldn't bear to see this witty Magritte reference be met with only crickets and tumbleweeds.

And yes, it's one of those things that is painfully obvious in retrospect. I can't believe I didn't think of it!

Good one, Mandos!

Sixth Estate said...

A good chunk of the pictures I take on my digital camera get erased before they get downloaded to my computer.

Wow, I had no idea I'd had so many abortions. It must be hundreds.

Sixth Estate said...

The existence of this comment would appear to be evidence of an opportunity for "debate."

You don't seem to have used that opportunity very productively.

Post a Comment