Monday, February 20, 2006

Who’s Afraid of an Argument? The Insecurities of the Abortion Rights Movement

Who’s Afraid of an Argument? The Insecurities of the Abortion Rights Movement, by Albert Mohler
"Don't waste time talking to anti-choice people." That is the straightforward instruction provided by NARAL Pro-Choice America in its "Campus Kit for Pro-Choice Organizers." The director of the Pro-Choice Action Network answered a question about why his group does not engage in conversation with pro-life advocates with this statement: "Along with most other pro-choice groups, we do not engage in debates with the anti-choice." In other words, they are scared to death of a genuine argument.

Mohler then examines an article, "Bioethical Politics," by Jon A. Shields of the Center on Religion and Democracy at the University of Virginia.

Shields provides a fascinating view into the work of Stand to Reason and Justice for All, featuring the arguments offered by Steve Wagner in his "Pro-Life 101" seminar. ....

The article describes what happened when JFA staff and volunteers showed up on the Auraria campus in downtown Denver--home to the University of Colorado, the Metropolitan State College, and the Community College of Denver. The program set up its characteristically large displays that featured pictures of aborted fetuses throughout the process of gestation.

As expected, many of the students walking by the exhibit, especially women, responded with initial disdain and little interest in conversation. Nevertheless, the JFA volunteers and staff were eventually able to engage many of these students in conversation about abortion and the meaning of human life.

The pro-life advocates "labored to focus their conversation on ontological questions," Shields recalled. This is important, for it indicates the centrality of questions of being to the controversy over abortion, stem cell research, and other urgent biomedical questions. Is this embryo a human life or not? Is the fetus something other than human until at some point it magically becomes a human being? "For most Auraria students," Shields reports, "it appeared that this intellectual exercise was altogether new and that most had never thought about the ontology of the fetus before."

Not to mention they probably have never given any serious thought to why abortion is a "right" that nobody really wants to exercise. How often do you see weeping voters approaching a polling place, filling out a ballot only as an act of despair because it's the lesser of two evils? How many people experience anguish and grief after exercising their right to free speech?

Best not to even ask the questions.

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