Monday, February 9, 2009

Pro- and Anti-

The most common way to frame the discussion of abortion is in terms of "pro-choice" versus "pro-life," obviously implying that one cannot value both a woman's autonomy and "life," whatever that means.

I've never liked this way of framing things. Most pro-choice people are also pro-life, but not all pro-life people are pro-choice. The conflict here is over choice. The question here is not "is life good" but "is it good for a woman to choose for herself whether to have an abortion." So the argument is more properly framed as "pro-choice" versus "anti-choice."

But not on BeliefNet, evidently.

After my first post in the abortion discussion forum, I received a warning. My tone was fine, and all I did was point out that--contrary to the OP's rant--there was indeed an anti-choice ticket (since using laws set down by Alaska's legislature doesn't actually say anything about the head of its executive) in addition to the pro-choice ticket.

This violates the rules, the post was deleted by justme333, and I was warned. I sent an email to the mod, and here is the text of it:

I noticed that I was just warned and had a post removed because I did not frame the abortion debate using the terms you prefer.

"Finally, the only terms allowed in the description of positions for this board are Pro-Life and Pro-Choice."

Do you understand why there are many people who object to framing this issue in terms of one side which is in favor of "life" and one which is not? There is a very good reason why I do not describe the anti-choice position as "pro-life," most notably that it is not my life they are protecting.

I find it hard to believe you would not be aware of this issue of terms and why it is important, so I suppose the real question is why you object to this terminology so strongly that you will not even let anybody post using it. It is not offensive, it is not inaccurate. It is, in fact, a well-established and well-accepted way of framing the issue, which scholars in these matters use for a very good reason.

Except, evidently, on your board. Why?

I don't anticipate getting a satisfactory answer. The only reason anybody objects to the terms I'm using is that they resent the loss of a moral high ground they never earned, that of being the side that values "life."

But who knows. Perhaps I'll be surprised. Doubt it though.

I still find it amusing that everywhere I go on the internet, I get into trouble because someone higher up doesn't like the substance of my views, and has no interest in the reasoning behind them. This is a particular problem when I'm forcing a mirror on someone that shows them the way I see them... and they don't like what they see. Rather than give my views a moment to be entertained and evaluated, they just do their damndest to shut me up.

Ah well. This is the internet.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Really interesting. How on the "free open whatever blah blah" (tubes) you're still limited in what you can and cannot do/say.

Isn't it what it's all about, questioning these "accepted terms" and their meaning?