Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Fundamentally Missing the Point

In my morning newsfeed, I saw an article about a member of Congress proposing a “gotcha” bill that aims to create harassment for lawmakers that propose “heartbeat” abortion bans. This is supposed to be a bill saying “if you wanna regulate women’s bodies, we’ll regulate yours.”

The problem is, this is a fallacy of false analogy. The differences outweigh the similarities by a huge margin. Opposition to abortion exists because of the fact that the fetus is a separate human being apart from the mother while this bill attempts to harass men over the natural function of their bodies.

As a Catholic, I’m not bothered by the banning of vasectomies, restrictions on pornography, and making irresponsible fathers responsible for helping support the woman they impregnated if they won’t do the right thing. So, in those cases, it could backfire on her.

However, no law opposing abortion interferes with the free sexual behavior between persons while this law does exactly that. Yes, sexual activity should be between husband and wife alone, but that’s impossible to enforce by criminal law. In contrast to this law, laws restricting abortion exist (once again) because of the fact that the fetus is a separate human being apart from the mother. Once a human life is begun, both parents have responsibilities to him or her, whether that means raising the child themselves or putting the child up for adoption.

That’s why the bill only serve to show her ignorance. Erectile dysfunction medicine is not the male equivalent to the “right” to abortion. This medicine is aimed at helping a body to work as intended while abortion is intended disrupt the body from working as intended by killing another human being. That’s false analogy in the bill.

It’s also based on a straw man fallacy. She wants to ban vasectomies while making sex without a condom “aggravated assault” (self-contradictory, by the way) because she wants the bill to “control” men in the same way that she sees bills opposing abortion “controlling” women. But these bills are not about control. They exist (one more time) because of the fact that the fetus is a separate human being apart from the mother. The law must protect innocent human beings. The unborn child is an innocent human being. Therefore the law must protect the unborn child.

I doubt this bill will go to a floor vote. The author effectively admitted she’s trolling. Kendrick’s party would likely be unwilling to face the response [*]. But I think it is dangerous anyway. It shows that members of Congress have lost sight of truth and reason. By seeing abortion as a “cure” to a “medical problem,” it shows they have lost sight of the value of a human being. This is why St. John Paul II (in Christifidelis Laici #38) reminded us of the core truth of the right to life coming first:

38. In effect the acknowledgment of the personal dignity of every human being demands the respect, the defence and the promotion of the rights of the human person. It is a question of inherent, universal and inviolable rights. No one, no individual, no group, no authority, no State, can change—let alone eliminate—them because such rights find their source in God himself.

The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, fínds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights—for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture—is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination. (Emphasis original)

The laws opposing abortion are part of that defense of the human person and nobody who refuses to defend the life of the unborn can be said to defend human rights. Yes, there is more to the defense of life than the opposition to abortion. But the defense of life can never downplay or exclude that opposition.

As long as reasoning like Kendrick’s exists, it shows we have a long way to go in teaching people about the importance of human life.

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[*] It is possible that it could be brought to a vote with the intention of embarrassing Kendrick’s party, forcing them to either vote against it or face backlash.

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