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Abortion protest on Kirkwood & Indiana

By Scott Tibbs, April 13, 2009

I joined a group of local abortion opponents to protest against abortion last Wednesday evening, including a graphic sign as well as other non-graphic text signs. Some of the reactions we got were quite entertaining.

One woman drove by and screamed about middle-aged men holding the signs. In addition to being false (there were 4 adult women and a teenage girl at the protest) it presented an interesting question. Is the logical merit of an argument dependent on the biological sex of the person making the argument? Is a pro-choice argument by a man invalid as well? No, it is not. That is an ad hominem logical fallacy. An argument does not become logically valid or invalid depending on who is making the argument.

Someone dropped by and asked if anyone had adopted a baby. Does this enhance the logical merit of the argument? Am I somehow more credible to speak against animal abuse because I adopted a Beagle from the animal shelter a few years ago? Were opponents of slavery somehow more credible if they cared for runaway slaves or financially compensated former slave owners? The issue is not whether individual abortion opponents have adopted, the issue is whether abortion itself is a violation of basic human rights. If the answer to that question is yes, the question of adoption is irrelevant.

I counted at least five people making obscene gestures. I wonder why this is seen as an appropriate response, especially since the people making the obscene gestures are also gesturing at children who were with the group. Does an extended middle finger somehow help the cause of keeping abortion legal? To the contrary, an obscene gesture demonstrates that the person making the gesture is either lacks the intellectual ability or emotional stability to address arguments he/she disagrees with.

Some would argue that, to be consistent, abortion opponents would (or should) support extreme measures such as "putting women in straight jackets" or other close government monitoring of pregnant women to make sure the unborn child is not harmed. That is just silly. I want terrorist attacks to be stopped, but I do not want government to have significantly expanded surveillance powers to spy on everyone to make sure we catch all terrorists. I want drunk driving to end, but I do not support having an ignition interlock device be mandatory in every automobile. Opposition to something does not automatically require supporting the most extreme police-state measures to prevent undesirable behavior.

A couple young women screamed "my body my choice" as they drove by. But that question goes to the heart of the matter. If someone (male or female) wants to get a tattoo or a piercing, smoke tobacco or marijuana, or consume large amounts of alcohol I support his/her right to do whatever he/she wants with his/her body. But an unborn child is not the woman's body. It is a separate entity inside the woman's body. If this was simply an issue of preventing pregnancy or if the fetus was not a person, I would be more than happy to do something else on a Wednesday evening.