Extremism and fatigue with the abortion debate
Sometimes, I get tired of extremism all around. Well, it’s not extremism so much as a lack of an attempt at empathy that gets me. I set aside these links in January. Both appeared in my feed reader around the same time.
On the pro-life side, Jill Stanek wrote a post about how a silver coat hanger pendant was described as “gorgeous and touching” by an abortion proponent. It is an incredibly odd thing to say, but there’s no attempt at understanding on Stanek’s part—however challenging that may be. Is it seen as “gorgeous and touching” because it’s a tribute to women who died from unsafe abortions? (Why that’s a poor argument for legalized abortion is a matter for another post.) Instead of attempting to understand what would cause someone to make such a bizarre statement, Stanek just takes the opportunity to point out how crazy the other side is.
I get tired of that sometimes. Point out how absurd the arguments are, but I’m not sure I see the value in ridiculing the people…
And on the other side, you can always rely on Feministing to be void of empathy for anyone they disagree with. We’re referred to as “antis” (1984 was not an instruction manual…), and in a lengthy post about sidewalk counselling at abortion clinics, Jos is entirely incapable of even imagining—for a split second—what might possess us antis to try and talk a mother out of killing her unborn child. We’re all stupid, think lowly of women and just want to harass them. I suppose it’s totally inconceivable (pun not really intended) that anyone might be thankful that they were caused to re-think a decision to get an abortion.
Sometimes, it’s just tiring to constantly hear all the strawman arguments and caricatures. It’s easy to show how illogical the arguments in favour of abortion are, but the real challenge is to respond compassionately and empathetically to those who speak most violently against us, rather than to descend into the same bouts of name-calling or ridicule…
I’ve probably been guilty of the same thing. Here’s to making more of a conscious effort to criticize what people say, rather than simply ridiculing the people themselves.