One of my sisters-in-law posted on her Facebook wall a crude abortion-rights poster that consisted of a simple decision tree. If you are on Facebook at all, you have probably seen the thing – essentially, if you have a vagina, you are entitled to an opinion on abortion rights (euphemistically called reproductive rights); if you don’t have a vagina, shut up.
Because I find the poster to be not only crudely insulting, but also simplistically fallacious, I sometimes comment, and I did so today, with my standard response:
- Yeah, but the next time we have a discussion about fighting a war, do we want all non-soldiers to shut up?
Usually this response ends the discussion, but my sister-in-law took a different tack by accepting my suggestion:
- S-I-L: Might be a good idea Mike!! Each one of us should be willing to stand up and protect our individual right!!
- Me: Unfortunately, God did not bless men with the ability to have babies; nor women with the ability to fight in war.
- SIL: Biologically men cannot have babies. However MANY women have proved they can fight a war!!
- Denise Whitman: You are so wrong, Mike Kueber – but you will never admit it.
Where the hell did Denise Whitman come from? You may not recall, but as I blogged previously, Denise’s sister got into a heated discussion on Facebook with Kelly and me over bossy girls who show leadership skills, and Denise interjected that Kelly and me need to get a life. Both of the women “unfriended” Kelly.
No surprisingly, Kelly mocked Denise a bit:
- Kelly: Come on Mike Kueber you know you are wrong! Admit it:
I was mightily tempted to mock Denise, too, with a suggestion that a picture of her can be found in the dictionary alongside the term “peanut gallery” – i.e., a group of people who criticize someone, often by focusing on insignificant details.” But I bit my tongue and instead said:
- Me: By wrong, I assume you mean that only people with vaginas should decide the abortion issue. I tried to provide an analogy that shows how silly that idea is. Obviously, I failed. I could provide you with additional analogies, but I suspect it makes more sense to stop.
By now Kelly had cooled down and tried to calm the waters:
- Kelly: I think abortion is wrong and I think men should have the right to vote on all issues just like women were given that right about 100 years ago! It is OK to argue and not let it become personal!
- SIL: Mike and Kelly, everyone has their own beliefs on what is right and what is wrong. I don’t want to start a family war about this. Which is the reason I don’t ever say much in person or on FB about how I feel about politics, religion, and other personal issues. There is nothing I can say or do to change the way you feel or how I do. So we should just leave it as we agree to disagree!
- Mike: SIL, whenever Facebook friends post a political poster, I assume that they are inviting a discussion of the topic. Otherwise they should include a disclaimer to “please don’t comment unless you agree.” As Kelly has suggested, people should be able to discuss politics or religion without getting angry or judgmental. But telling all men to “shut up” is not a good way to start a rational discussion on abortion. This issue is evolving and everyone should keep an open mind.
- SIL: I do have an open mind Mike. I have 2 brothers that are as opposite as there ever could be. I listen to both of them and feel they both have good and bad points. I know you and your brother do not share my views and that is good to. But I felt that your comments were not about the abortion issue as much as they were just slamming woman in general. We are the ones that surrender our bodies and lives in most cases. We have also fought much harder than you can believe to gain a lot of the rights that men take for granted. I also believe that at 18 all able bodied people should sign up with SS. Equality should not just be for black and white.
- Mike: Jeez, SIL, it’s ironic that I am “slamming women in general,” while your poster has women telling all men to shut up. As they say in sports, go figure. And you are wrong to infer that I don’t share your view on abortion. Personally, I would vote for Texas to adopt the ruling of Roe v. Wade, but I think each state should have been allowed to vote on this issue instead of having the Supreme Court force it on everyone nationwide.
- SIL: Ok Mike, I find a hung jury!! And I (my post) did not tell MEN to shut up! It says ‘IF YOU DON’T HAVE VAGINA’. Have a nice day!!
Although that last comment doesn’t seem to make sense, it did include an invitation to draw this discussion to a close, and I accepted by giving her the last word.
About a week ago, I blogged about a Facebook discussion with a woman over George Clooney’s bride wherein the woman attempted to cut her losses by suggesting that, “This isn’t worth arguing about.” I told her that I wasn’t arguing, but rather was giving my brain its daily exercise. Today’s exercise was not nearly as satisfying because I sensed a failure to communicate. Although the soldier analogy is undeniable, it was not effective. And we never touched on the essence of the abortion issue, which is when does society have an obligation or right to protect a fetus from its mother.