Make Abortion Unthinkable in Three Steps

Posted: May 4, 2011 by Alan Shlemon in Do the Right Thing, Events

Oregon Right to Life invited me to speak at their state conference last month in Portland. They’ve posted the video of the event, and edited in my slides too.

  1. Ginger Anderson says:

    Thanks for this clear instruction! I also want to say that I am very proud of our neighbor, Representative Matt Ubelhor, IN for his work in passing the first US bill defunding Planned Parenthood. It is just waiting the Gov,’s signature at this moment. What a victory!

    • PISSED OFF says:

      There’s nothing that pisses me off more than a man that thinks he has ANY say in what a woman does with her body. It’s completely sexist and pretentious of you to think YOU, A MAN, has a say at all.

      You’re right, how can you possibly know about all of those areas? You can’t. That IS the case. Until you are a woman, sir, that has to deal with being raped and becoming pregnant – you have NO place to talk about this.

      • Dale Wickizer says:

        Okay. Have it your way. Visit The organization is predominantly women. You can talk to them on the matter. (Message will be the same by the way! :^)

      • Dale Wickizer says:

        Also, you should visit Pam Stenzel’s site: She is a woman who would gladly talk to you as well. By the way, her biological mother was raped: she was the result.

      • Alan Shlemon says:

        PISSED OFF,

        If you’re right that a man can’t say anything about abortion, then maybe we should invalidate Roe v. Wade since it was decided by all MALE judges.

        Perhaps, also, I have no right to speak out against slavery since I have never owned a slave. Until I am a slave owner, and have to deal with the rigors of losing slave labor, I have NO place to talk about that either.

      • G. David says:

        Does it also upset you if men try and have a say in what a person does with their body by discouraging things like suicide or self-mutilation? What if a woman wanted to pluck out her eyes or cut off an arm or a leg for no good reason – should society have a say in that?

  2. Philip Motes says:

    Alan, it looks like you’re gonna have to borrow Brett’s pink wig and do this all over again…

  3. Kent says:

    Enjoyed the clip even though it died at 19:30. I will try to watch the rest later. The Ireland interview was great. I guess PO’ed didn’t watch that.

  4. Ryan says:

    You didn’t address any of the moral arguments for abortion.

    I agree with everything you said (up until the discrimination part due to the moral arguments).

    You should go back, and consider Judith Thomsons article again, and actually write a half-decent rebuttal that isn’t arbitrary against it. You sort of winged around it, and this is a very profound reason to allow abortion; one you seem to be avoiding.

    1) Human-rights based argument for it. See Judith Thomsons ‘A Defense of Abortion’.
    2) Utilitarian based argument for it. The unborn don’t feel pain until 28 weeks in to development, and we can hardly call them self-aware. Therefore, the utilitarian may argue that it would generate more happiness to supply the mothers request than the unborns. (Of course, the utilitarian could argue the long-term creation of overall happiness, but I think a neo-utilitarian argument where things are only immortal if they generate unhappiness would suit this well also)

    I appreciate your attempt to be secular, but you have bated around the philosophical ethical issues and I can’t help but wonder if that stems from your religious opinions.

    • Amy Hall says:

      Ryan, the problem is that no one can address everything in only 40 minutes. But if you’re interested in hearing how Alan would respond, he did do a short video response to Thomson’s violinist argument here. Or you could also watch this debate he did with a pro-choice professor.

  5. Ryan says:

    @ Amy – I commented on the first link and addressed the problems with Alans logic, and believe me, I only scratched the surface.

    As for the second video, it’s long, all over the place, and I have little time at the moment. That woman seems like a weak debater; but that hardly makes anybody correct in this issue.

    I’d like to see an article that addresses the moral issues and successfully overcomes them, because honestly, I’d say it has never been done.

  6. Ryan says:

    “Of course, for Thomson’s argument to work, the relationship between the mother and the intruder must parallel the mother’s relationship to her own child. Right away there are problems. First, there can be no intruder until two parents create him. Second, abortion is much more than withholding support—it’s actively killing another human through dismemberment or poisoning. Indeed, per Thomson, I not only have the right to remove an innocent intruder from my yard; I can cut him up and throw his body parts in the garbage! As abortion-choice advocate and philosopher Mary Anne Warren points out, “mere ownership does not give me the right to kill innocent people whom I find on my property.””

    This was the only really direct-refuting quote I could find. And frankly, the differences between the two arguments was championed by Alan, and that argument fails.

    The second one is better thought out, but I’d still have to say that if somebody was to be attached to my kidney for their survival, unbeknown to either of us, then if dismembering him to completely regain my mobility was the only way to remove him, it would still be acceptable socially and ethically to do so, as I have a right to my body, and a right to self-determination, and in no means have to physically support him (although it would be nice if I did, and it seems rude to not, it would not be a moral negative).

    Perhaps somebody should address this in a blog?

    • Amy Hall says:

      Ryan, how about this scenario: Suppose you let into your home a man who is known to attach children to their fathers. (This man gets around, too, because every day you see a few fathers happily walking around, attached to their children.) But you let him in anyway because he’s a really nice man that you enjoy being around. You’ll just lock your bedroom door, and figure he probably won’t be able to get in. The next day, you wake up, and there is your two-year-old! She’s attached to you, and that will cause you some inconveniences. Now you know for a fact that in six or seven months the connection will be broken, and while it’s inconvenient, people put up with this all the time. What do you do to your child? Is it right for you to dismember her? Should this be acceptable socially and ethically? Do you have any responsibility whatsoever to your two-year-old child?

  7. Ryan says:

    It’s not right for me to dismember her, but it’s not wrong either. I’m assuming that in your example you mean to have the child’s life depend on its attachment to me for the allotted time?

    Personally, I would gladly go through such. But at the same time, if somebody was to tell me that I can or can’t, no matter my intent on the situation, I would have something to say to that.

    You can’t be against all abortions or for all abortions without being a member of political extremism. Abortion involves the unnecessary death of a baby; no question. The problem, however, is that if you believe in human rights (the very argument and only secular argument used to attack abortion in the first place), you must believe in the right to ones own body. If we don’t own our own bodies in this world, what do we own? Seriously.

    It’s nice of anybody to allow the use of their body to another, but if it ever becomes required, we face really dangerous ethical problems.

    ^ I advocate this platform strongly; and I honestly feel that anybody who wishes to make abortions illegal fails to understand the argument or is blinded by emotion.