Robert begins his entry, by defining one of the "almost" universal assertions of the Pro-Choice side:
Already, I am nodding my head. Look, don't call your blog Argument Clinic, if your true purpose is to engage in Sophistry. Strawman arguments are boring and frankly tend to tip off a reader that you aren't really interested in having a thoughtful debate on an issue. If you structure your own argument based on a ridiculous mischaracterization of the "pro-choice" side, aren't you really just telling us that you don't know how to argue?
I fail to see how this is a mischaracterization. I reported this argument empirically, from the umpteen billion discussions and arguments I've had with people of all viewpoints on the abortion question. Pro-choice people make this argument all the time.
Why not take on some of the more sophisticated and nuanced positions that pro-choicers hold? How about acknowledging that those who support the legalization of abortion do not have a monolithic position justifying either their moral or legal stance. Hell, there are lots of folks morally opposed to abortion, who still uphold the right to get a safe and legal abortion. There are others who find abortion moral in some circumstances--i.e. when the mother's life is in danger or the child has a fatal genetic disorder--but don't find abortion acceptable in cases of failed contraception use.
OK, it's true that the pro-choice are not a pure monolith; there are dissenters and people who think - for example - that the argument I held up is invalid, for pretty much the reason that I gave.
I will be glad to address other pro-choice arguments; indeed, I intended to all along. But I started with this one for a reason.
Goodness, gracious, me oh my (as my Oma would say). Isn't this just plain unfair? You are denying the pleasures of sex to heterosexual people who don't want children. Why come the gay people or bestiality folks get to have all the fun? The only group you select out to be unfair too are the straight people. Why, oh why?
I am not denying sexual pleasure to heterosexuals who don't want children. Offhand, I can think of four or five ways for heterosexuals to have pleasurable mutual sexual relations that do not involve a penis ejaculating into a vagina. I do not say that folk who do not wish to risk a child must never have sex; I say that the one specifically generative act has known consequences, and that there is no justification for engaging in the act if one is not prepared for the known consequences.
You respond that this is "unfair". Well, what of it? Where is fairness written, in this enormous universe of ours? Fairness is something that we desire; it is not something that we are promised, or to which we are entitled.
We can certainly increase the level of fairness we find in the world through our own actions. It isn't fair that people die of readily curable diseases in the Third World - and we can make choices that improve the situation, if we wish to. But we cannot, with moral legitimacy, kill other human beings to impose that fairness. To use an extreme analogy, it is not acceptable to slaughter Australians, sell their bodies for meat, and then use the money to cure tuberculosis in Africa.
In the case of sexuality, the moral imbalance required to bring "fairness" into play makes the calculus unacceptable. On the one hand, the "fairness" that someone who doesn't want children might have to engage in oral or digital sex rather than intercourse; on the other hand, the death of an innocent human. I think the innocent human wins this one.
My old sparring partner Mythago has noted in discussions on other threads (which I am too
But, seriously, the most flawed aspect of this argument is that you beg the question: what is the purpose of sex? You conclude that the purpose of sex is procreation. What happens if the person reading your argument simply does not share this assumption? What is your response? Why should all heterosexual sex be fundamentally geared toward children? Isn't this why we have technology?
Here, Aspazia, you are simply drawing conclusions from thin air. I did not conclude anything about the purpose of sex; I didn't even bring it up.
Whatever a person's assumptions or beliefs about the purpose of sex, the predictable consequence of vaginal intercourse are a known fact. You can decide that the purpose of sex is to increase the price of latex on the world market so that your futures trading does well; it's immaterial.
Since I didn't say that all heterosexual sex is geared towards procreation or any of the other red herrings being dragged across the trail here, we'll leave the rest of your statement alone.