Tag Archives: choice rhetoric

Some Speech with Your Freedom

by Kate Larson

Ah, freedom of speech. I was glad to have it at the March for Life, on May 12, and glad to see it used well. I saw many positive things at the march, including a crowd of 15,000, according to reports, a toddler serenely holding a “We Choose Life” sign as big as he was, and people gathered on sidewalks and at the windows of office buildings looking on and sometimes waving at us as the march went by. I hadn’t noticed the latter in previous years and it seemed encouraging. In fact, the whole event was very encouraging, as was the accurate and fairly positive, though not front-page, coverage it received the next day in the Ottawa Citizen. I also saw something that set me thinking about freedom and speech. There was a small pro-choice contingent on the Hill this year, and among the usual slogans, someone was holding a sign saying “I Hate Life.” I don’t know whether it was meant to be a joke, a personal cry for help, or just an attempt to attract attention, but it struck me. It struck me then as tasteless or sad or callous, depending on his intention, but it strikes me now as being the only pro-choice sign I noticed that actually addressed what the day was supposed to be about – life.

Common slogans such as “My Body, My Choice” or “A Woman’s Right to Choose,” which were the types of things I saw on pro-choice signs at the march, don’t make sense when taken at face value. Making choices is a constant in our lives. No one needs to argue for the ability to make any kind of choice because as humans we naturally are able to choose to do whatever we want to do. There are always consequences or outside pressures which make us more or less likely to choose one thing over another, but our actual ability to choose is not under threat. By the same token, the ability to make choices does not need to be enshrined as a right because it is already inalienable. I realize that these kinds of slogans generally mean “I Support Abortion” or “Keep Abortion Legal,” but they don’t explicitly say that. They are hiding a point behind an abstract idea. They are taking advantage of freedom of speech but not saying anything.

I don’t know if the person holding the “I Hate Life” sign really does hate life. I hope not. I suspect not, too, as most people hesitate to be that vulnerable with serious emotions. If he does, I feel sad for him, but also admire his clarity. He is saying what he really means, not hiding behind euphemisms or platitudes. By the same token, the march was a testament to clarity. Signs such as “Abortion Kills a Human Being” and “I Regret My Abortion” meant just that. Hopefully they gave people on the sidewalks and in the office windows something to really think about.

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Changing the Rhetoric

by Reita S.

When I was about 7 years old, I learnt all about cells from TV. I suspect it was either Bill Nye the Science Guy or Magic School Bus. Using Lego or blocks or grains of rice, they demonstrated that all living things are made of little pieces. Every person is composed of three trillion cells, if I recall correctly, and cells die and replace themselves at different rates.

All this to say that from a very young age, educational programming taught me that, at my basic level, I am a mass of cells. The same TV shows also explained that I had something called DNA, which was rather like a zipper or a ladder. (They knew from the start I would never be a scientist.) Apparently my DNA wasn’t like anyone else’s, unless of course I was an identical twin, which I’m not.

So, to recap, I am a bunch of cells, several trillion, all with unique roles and life spans, and I am also genetically unique from everyone else in the world (except potential evil twins).

Why then is the pro-choice cry so often “the foetus is just a clump of cells”? Simple: dehumanization. My roommate and I recently had a discussion about meat. Though she loves fish, she is unable to go purchase a whole fish from the store. Why? She can’t eat “something with a face”; however, fillet that fish and serve it to her and she’ll eat it happily!

In the same way, saying abortion kills an unborn child (which it does) is “eating the animal with the face”. You feel guilty because you feel empathy for the child. You know that it had to suffer and that it had to die. You are angry at the injustice when you remember every child you ever held.

Getting rid of the “unwanted clump of cells” is having your fish and chips. You are totally divorced from action that produced your desired outcome – you don’t feel guilty because there was never anything real to convict you.

This is an issue of rhetorical double-talk. Pro-choice activists and abortion clinics have convinced the public that the foetus is practically a non-living thing. It is a package of parts which can be assembled at birth, if the mother so chooses, to create a ‘real child’.

Rhetoric’s purpose is to persuade. Rhetoric’s goal should be to persuade people of the truth. Don’t be fooled by pro-choice rhetoric, which seeks to validate its own position by redefining simple biology. From the moment you are conceived to the moment you die, you are “a clump of cells”. Does that mean you deserve life any less?

For more information, please see this interesting post by John Sutherland at http://www.johnonlife.blogspot.com.