Mountains and Molehills (Abortion Redux)

If you’ve been a follower of the blogosphere or twitterverse recently, you’ll know that there’s been a bit of a dustup concerning a couple of posts by members of Progressive Bloggers concerning abortion. Now, let me get this out of the way for people who might not remember who I am: I AM VERY PRO-CHOICE. I DISLIKE ANTI-ABORTIONISTS WITH A VENGENCE. I would also like to state that I am an avid third wave feminist. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the gist of the complaints. One would think reading many of the comments made about these two posts, that they were nothing but a vitriolic condemnation of women daring to have abortions and rampant and disgusting displays of misogyny for all to see.

Instead of seeing the ploy for what it is — ‘an ignorant affront to global human rights standards’ — two bloggers saw it as a dandy opportunity to sharpen their middle-school debating tactics. But, see, the thing is — both are fellow members of the blog aggregator called Progressive Bloggers.

It takes some pretzelly thinking to reconcile ‘progressive’ with ‘affront to global human rights standards’, yes?

My goodness! Upon reading that and upon the request of Scott Tribe, I immediately went to see what the trouble was about! Anti-abortionists on Prog Blogs? Not on my watch! Now you can find the links for the offending posts here and here if you’re interested in reading the source material, but if not let me break down the posts for you.

The first one begins rather innocuously,

Canada is about to have a parliamentary debate on the topic of…yes, you guessed it..abortion.  Forget about Justin Trudeau’s victory over Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau. A debate about abortion is bound to be far more combative and nasty than anything that takes place in a boxing ring.

Holy canoly! I couldn’t even stomach the rampant misogyny in that one paragraph! Except that no, it wasn’t misogynist at all. Yes the abortion “debate” (as has been amply demonstrated this past week) is very nasty and combatative. Let’s move on,

For those who might scream foul at Prime Minister Stephen Harper over a promise that his government would not reopen the debate, take a second.  This is an initiative of MP  Stephen Woodworth acting as a private member, not of the Harper government.  And in point of fact the Conservative member from Kitchener isn’t even proposing any new legislation, he merely wants parliament to discuss and potentially study the present law, one which says a child only becomes a human being with rights after it emerges from its mother’s womb.

Now I disagree with this paragraph, because I think that Harper should definitely be held to the fire for this, but other than that, what’s misogynistic about it? Nothing that’s what. The other few paragraphs are inane as well so let’s stab at the heart of this beast shall we?

I’m in the majority on this one.  I am pro-choice, but not in the third trimester when a fetus is so far developed even Henry Morgentaller himself called them babies.  I will grant that the number of late-term abortions that take place (excepting cases of maternal health) are incredibly small, but that’s why we have laws.  Just because something happens rarely doesn’t mean it should necessarily be excluded from any statute.

Now here’s where the real issue is: Ignorance. Yes, this is truly a stupid position to take in light of the fact that less than 1% of abortions are late-term, and of those the vast majority are for health reasons. I get that. This is a stupid thing to say, and it is slightly misogynist to say that a woman’s bodily autonomy should be curtailed by the government. However, and we all learned this, when dealing with misogyny, we should be careful to separate the malicious (“Nice Guys” PUAs MRAs etc.) from the ignorant and well meaning (most of society). The solution to this is not to scream and wail and have the Prog Blogs moderate to the point of dictatorship, it is to bring facts and reason to the argument to prove your point. That’s why I’m a feminist, because the facts and evidence show that women are people and that society suffers from a chronic case of the patriarchy.

The other article is a little different. It’s tone is basically calling out the reporter interviewing Woodworth as unprofessional. The tone is also needlessly deferential to the MP as well. Yes, it irks, and is ridiculous, but again it’s not really misogynistic. You and I may know that Woodworth is secretly trying to put harmful restrictions on abortion, but not everyone does. The words sound pretty enough even if we know they’re hollow. Can you blame someone for taking them at face value? Again the solution to this is discussion and facts, not screaming that the blogger is a misogynistic douche and deserves to be banned.

Now I don’t want to concern troll and tell you all how to behave, but calling on the moderators to act as censors for views that are not necessarily hateful but you vehemently disagree with will not be fruitful in any way. We’re here to make sure the aggregate is orderly, not to impose a viewpoint on the bloggers. If you want that then I suppose Progressive Bloggers isn’t for you, and I wish you well in your endeavors.