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Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Being 'reasonable.'

As the 'debate' over abortion continues in the US, one of its most striking characteristics is the way that ostensible supporters of a woman's right to control her own body are willing to 'moderate' their language and lower their expectations in the guise of 'being reasonable.' Being reasonable when the health, safety, and well-being of untold numbers of women are at stake pisses this magpie off, to be honest.

And we're not the only one. Media Girl has been thinking about the subject, too, and she's come up with a list of the assumptions that underly 'reasonableness':
  • Women are incapable of making "moral" decisions (and therefore we need laws to control women).
  • Women don't have any "self-evident" or "inalienable" rights when it comes to their reproductive parts.
  • Men know more about the issue than women (and therefore women cannot decide for themselves).
  • Women who have sex are somehow "less than" everyone else (and therefore not entitled to even claim a right to their own bodies).
  • Men's sperm have constitutional rights (and therefore women who've permitted sperm to enter them have ceded their constitutional rights).
  • Men must decide how much control, if any, women shall have of their own bodies (and therefore all these laws are only a natural outgrowth of the natural order of things).

With the exception of some of the religious right, very few people are willing to come out and say that they agree with this stuff — even when their actions make it clear that they do. Instead, these assumptions lurk under public statements about abortion even by many people who claim to be 'pro-choice.' Unfortunately, this one case where if you're in by an inch, you're in by a mile. If you buy into the assumptions above to any degree, you've ceded control of the debate to abortion opponents. And, in politics, controlling the terms of a debate gets you most of the way to winning.

As I said earlier, what's at stake in whether abortion remains legal and available in the US is the lives of women. Being 'reasonable' is a poor defense of those lives.

Via Media Girl.

| | Posted by Magpie at 12:04 AM | Get permalink




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