(UPDATE TO ORIGINAL) Thanks, Kossacks, for all of your help in responding to the right-wing anti-choice guy who is a fellow foster parent on a FB group. I will post both my and his response at the flip, keeping both of our names anonymous out of consideration for our (and the group's) privacies.
I'm sure you will all notice a lot of yourselves in my
plagiarism paraphrasing of a lot of your main points. As you might have gathered, it is very hard for me to respond to such a viscerally emotional argument. I pride myself on being a writer, but regarding issues and arguments like these, I colossally fail at communicating counterarguments.
So thank you again, and without further adieu (and with the original diary text preceding--scroll down), are both my and his responses.
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So it's been a few days--almost a week--since Obama's "abortion speech" at Notre Dame--yet some people, even well-meaning and caring foster parents such as this commenter, can't let it go:
Consider posting this as your status -- "Mr. President, if the unborn are not living human persons, then WHY on earth should we strive to have fewer abortions?"
He posted this not ONCE, but TWICE--on two separate days--urging us (or at least the anti-choicers in the group) to post this as our personal "status" message. For those who aren't familiar with Facebook, your "status" is very similar to a "tweet," or a short message on your personal page that appears at the top and, if set to Active on your own home page or group, on that group's or person's page as well.
I could think of a thousand ways to respond to this post, up to and including the fact that vitriolic arguments such as his are the very point Obama was trying to make with regards to the abortion issue: the tenor of this debate is and has been so poisonous for the past several decades, and no group can come to consensus. Many of us, however, can agree that abortion is a sad and tragic, but often necessary, decision a woman and ONLY a woman finds herself making in an undesirable situation.
I was about to post something to that effect, but another foster parent on the thread made this thoughtful reply, which I read with interest and approval:
I'd like to ask all of the anti-abortionists to focus some of their energy and efforts to fight for the rights of the babies and children who are born addicted to drugs or into abusive/neglectful situations. Those little lives are at the mercy of laws that favor adults. Another post in addition to yours may be, "Mr. President, if the unborn are not living, human persons, then what are we doing to protect them once they are born?"
To which the original commenter responded:
But I'd like to point out that I don't have to marry a woman to demand that her husband stop beating her. We don't have to make the world a perfect place before allowing everyone to enjoy it. Those parents who abuse their children at the very least allowed them to live which gives them the chance to be loved and nurtured.
I was, to say the least, confounded at this hyperbolic argument, especially the last line, which flabbergasted me in its callousness:
Those parents who abuse their children at the very least allowed them to live which gives them the chance to be loved and nurtured.
It floors me that a fellow foster parent who surely (hopefully!) is aware of the dire, horrible, and often unforgiveable circumstances in which abused children survive...or not. The ones who do survive, who are discovered by "the system," are the lucky ones. Whatever the FUCK is this guy THINKING?
Sorry, but I have no words. I think I need to go lie down (and I'm already not feeling that great to begin with).
(And yes, surprise surprise, this guy and his wife are Fundies.)
How do I respond to this inanity? How CAN I respond to it? Any and all clues will be welcome and appreciated!
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My response--although I was admittedly SEETHING angry at him (as you can tell in the diary!), I thought, WWOD? when writing my PM to him (private message), and tried my very best to "rise above"--I hope I did Obama's argument--and you all--justice:
Thanks for the add, and thanks to you and ((your wife)) for not only providing the informative Foster Podcast for your listeners. It is clear that both of you are devoted to your daughters, and bless you for welcoming them into your lives, your home, and your big and loving hearts.
I have to admit I was a little flummoxed to your reaction to the President's speech on Sunday. You posted a status not once, but twice, recommending that your readers asked the President if "the unborn are not living, human persons, then why on earth should we strive to have fewer abortions?" Because I listened to Obama's speech, and absorbed the message he was trying to convey (which, as I mentioned in my reply to your thread on your Wall, was an answer to your question), I was bothered by your reaction. Forgive me if I am wrong, but it seemed to me that you reacted to his speech solely out of passion and anger...and didn't listen to what Obama was trying to say.
I was also frankly put off by a reply you made: "Those parents who abuse their children at the very least allowed them to live which gives them the chance to be loved and nurtured." As a fellow foster parent, I am curious to know if you truly see abusive parents as more loving than someone who makes the decision to abort--for any reason.
Anywhere in this country, I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who likes abortion. Many people--myself included--are personally against abortion, yet are pro-choice from the standpoint that we would never, ever want either ourselves or the government to make such a deeply personal decision for another person who was facing an unplanned pregnancy. I have never been pregnant before, and cannot imagine the overwhelming and monumental circumstances that one who did unintentionally get pregnant would experience. Thus, for pro-choice and pro-life people alike, reducing the number of abortions is an honorable goal.
It is not a perfect world, and no one is going to come to 100 percent agreement on the abortion issue. Obama realizes that, and wants to encourage people on the anti-abortion side of the fence to work for common cause with those who believe in women's rights and freedom of choice. The other option we have available to us is to continue to alienate one another, and still be stuck in the same rut we are 40 years from now.
I would suggest you read the Faithful America link I shared with you earlier--and also read this article--it is long but well worth the read:
His response, which, although I disagree PROFOUNDLY with him, is at least thoughtful and considerate:
Re: Obama and his Notre Dame speech
Hi (me), thanks for the links. I'll check them out. I appreciate your respectful and thoughtful tone. I’ll try to reciprocate it.
The basic premise I'm approaching the topic from is this:
If the unborn are living human persons, then there is simply no justification for killing them (except for the life of the mother). Any justification for killing them can be extended on out throughout their entire lives.
If the unborn are not living human beings, there is no justification for preventing abortions. It's has the same consequence as removing a mole or laser eye surgery. It should be free reign all the way until the hour before delivery.
These are the two consistent positions. Obama's position actually alienates both sides by recognizing that there is something fundamentally wrong with abortion, but does nothing to stop it.
I agree with the President, there should be fewer abortions. I think he needs to answer the fundamental question on "why". Once he starts probing the deeper aspects of "what is it?" I think he would recognize that the right to kill another person, regardless of her location is not a right we should be protecting.
One of government’s jobs is to protect the rights of the weak from the abuses of the strong. The government interferes in deeply personal choices everyday on behalf of the weak. Owning slaves was a deeply personal choice that many had personal qualms about but thought others should be allowed to do. Once we recognized that all humans are persons our government saw that it had a duty to protect the weak. There all kinds of things that government will not allow women to do to their bodies that have zero affect on other people. You can not pay a doctor to cut your hand off. Why do you let government impinge on that freedom over your body? If government will not allow you to harm yourself, why should it allow you to harm someone else.
I recognize that abortions will still happen even if it is made illegal. Slavery still happens to this day. That doesn’t mean the government shouldn’t stop it.
You asked "I am curious to know if you truly see abusive parents as more loving than someone who makes the decision to abort--for any reason." I recognize the opportunity for both of us to have passionate responses to my answer. So please take a deep breath before reading more. . .and I’ll do the same. . . .
Do you think there is any loving reason for a parent to kill an 8 year old? Down Syndrome? Product of incest or rape? Poverty? Single parent?
As little as I think of abusive parents, I think the parent who kills their child is more abusive no matter the good intentions they perceive themselves under. Death is the ultimate abuse.
The unborn are living. – if they were not living they would not grow
The unborn are human – they aren’t pig fetuses or rabbit fetuses inside the womb. They are human fetuses
The unborn are persons – they have all the same character, traits and DNA as their mothers. Like a newborn, if given the right environment in which to grow they will become mothers themselves. Like a newborn, if you stop their life they will not become mothers.
Thanks for taking the time to dialogue on this very important issue.