Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Bad Abortion Analogy

Male conservative anti-feminists sometimes make bizarrely bad analogies about abortion.

What makes these analogies so poor is that they often totally eradicate the perspective of uterus-humans, a perspective one might believe to be a tiny bit relevant given certain reproductive truths. By failing to take into account the fact that babies do not spring forth from the aether fully-formed, that is, they gestate inside the uterus of another human being, these folks fail to render adequately-parallel analogies.

For instance, one fellow put forth that a woman having an abortion was just like a drunk driver getting into a car and killing someone. In his analogy, a woman was the drunk driver and the fetus was the drunk driver's victim. So, okay. If we're going to go the slut-shamey route, that analogy would almost work. That is, up until we consider the third element of the analogy: the uterus, and its analog, the vehicle through which the "murder" is committed.

But, is a car really sufficiently similar to a uterus to make the analogy work?

When we consider the differences between a car, something one can enter and leave at will, and a human uterus- something that is inside a person- indeed that is part of a person, we see that the analogy becomes much weaker. For, might the pregnant person that is harboring the uterus that is harboring the fetus have rights that factor into the moral equation that, say, a car does not?

The abortion/drunk driving analogy would work only if a driver and the car were inseparable in the way that a human and the uterus are.

Nonetheless, the bad-ass shades-wearing bros of anti-feminism tend to inexplicably applaud each others' woman-eradicating, fetus-centric abortion analogies as genius.

Case in point: Over at his (mis-named) "Self-Evident Truths" blog, "Euripides" bemoans:

"It's a felony to steal or damage bald eagle eggs. Human babies don't get the same respect."

So, Euripides doesn't actually mean "human babies" here. By "human babies," he means either a zygote, embryo, or fetus that is inside a human person's uterus (words, they have meanings!). Notice how it's only by eradicating the female perspective that the rather large difference in location between a human baby (different developmental stage/outside someone's body!) and the zygote/embryo/fetus (different developmental stage/inside someone's body!) become irrelevant.

In Euripides' analogy, a bird's nest is a human's body, the bird's egg is the zygote/embryo/fetus, and the hatching process is the human gestation process.

Yet, in what ways might relevant differences exist between these three features of his analogy? Sure, I can buy that a bird's egg is somewhat similar to a human embryo. But, is the egg hatching process sufficiently similar to the human gestation process for the analogy to work? Can, say, a pregnant woman just leave the embryo at home when she feels like flying around looking for prey?

And then, well, starting from the radical proposition that a human person with a uterus might have more rights than an eagle would be a helpful beginning point from which Euripides can observe his rhetorical weaknesses.

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