Debunking the Debunker – 2

See the first post to get your bearings.  Not strictly necessary.


I said before that Millstein is a step ahead of the usual arguments, but in this case, it’s only because he uses more words than most memes.  There’s something like bait-and-switch going on here, but in a burst of verbosity that seems uncharacteristic for him, the writing is not quite tight enough to accuse him of it.  It approaches word salad.  “Word bruschetta,” perhaps.

Myself, I have no trouble being verbose as the need arises, and here it does.  Indeed, I will “fisk” this one, gently, so as to better answer it.  Millstein in italics, myself in regular type.


Common Argument #2: If a woman is willing to have sex, she’s knowingly taking the risk of getting pregnant, and should be responsible for her actions.

This seems pretty tight to me.

Your Response: You’re asserting that giving birth is the “responsible” choice in the event of a pregnancy, but that’s just your opinion.

Appropriation of The Dude aside, the author presents his opponent’s argument, then proceeds to answer…some other argument.  If anyone has information as to the whereabouts of this other argument, please let us know.

Anyway, yes – if a fetus is a human being, then it is wrong to kill her.  Doing the wrong thing is always irresponsible, by definition; doing the right thing is acting responsibly.

Ergo, if a woman becomes pregnant, the responsible thing to do – because it is the right thing to do – is to give birth to that child.

 I’d argue that if a mother knows she won’t be able to provide for her child, it’s actually more responsible to have an abortion, and in doing so prevent a whole lot of undue suffering and misery.

No mother knows this for sure.  Moreover, an inability to provide is not a legal justification for killing anyone in any other case.

The taking of an innocent human life on a hypothetical – “I won’t be able to provide for her” – is no justification at all.  The natural option in that case is to give the baby up for adoption.

But let’s look at this argument a bit further. If you think getting an abortion is “avoiding responsibility,” that implies that it’s a woman’s responsibility to bear a child if she chooses to have sex.

Only if the sex results in pregnancy, which is always a possibility.

That sounds suspiciously like you’re dictating what a woman’s role and purpose is, and a lot less like you’re making an argument about the life of a child.

No one is dictating a woman’s role, except nature.  The principle in play is that the fetus is a human being, and therefore has a right to life.  Whether the mother recognizes her natural, biological capacities or not, that is a matter of education and self-examination.  If she knows how to have sex, one assumes she is aware of the consequences of sex.  (Likewise with the male, whom we agree has a legal responsibility toward the child).

And if you’re following along closely, you will see that the argument is entirely about the life of the child.


(Huh – Forgot that he continued below the fold.  Very well.)

According to Millstein:

Common Reply: No, because women can practice safe sex and avoid getting pregnant. If she refuses to use contraception and gets pregnant as a result, that’s her fault, and her responsibility.

Your Rebuttal: Not everyone has easy access to contraception, nor does everyone have a good enough sex education class to know how to use it or where to obtain it. But let’s just suppose, for the sake of argument, that everyone had access to free contraception and knew how to use it correctly.

Even then, no contraception is 100 percent effective. Presumably, you oppose abortions even in cases where contraception fails (and it does sometimes fail, even when used perfectly). If that’s true, you’re saying that, by merely choosing to have sex — with or without a condom — a woman becomes responsible for having a child. And that’s a belief that has everything to do with judging a woman’s behavior, and nothing to do with the value of life.

(On the other hand, he hasn’t really said anything new, or unanticipated).

The short, redundant reply is:  A potential and natural consequence of sex, even when using contraception, is pregnancy.  If there is a woman who does not know this, that does not negate her responsibility.

Why not?  Because we are judging her behavior?

(Please, faithful reader, hold your laughter.  How will the Progressives listen if that which terrifies them most is happening right in front of them?)

No, we are judging the human being in her womb to be possessed of dignity.  We are concerned with the right to life.

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