I’m staunchly pro-choice, but I don’t actually have a dog in the fight. My rights aren’t impacted either way, especially since there’s no valid male “abortion” (failing to pay child support, notwithstanding). I continue to fight for women’s rights, though, because it’s the just thing to do (I wish more women would do that for disability rights, but I digress). No woman deserves to have the state seize control of her body for the duration of gestation.
We’re all very familiar with a vocal contingency of the population that believes fetuses have more or less the same legal rights as the women carrying them. Here, in Arizona; one of the last bastions of the lunatic Republican fringe, four anti-choice bills were proposed just weeks after Democratic Napolitano abandoned her post and left liberal Arizona-ians twisting (One would think that the Republican legislators would have better things to do with their time, other than mucking over GLBTQI rights, such as solving the budget crisis.). While protecting the children may be a noble endeavor, I can’t help but feel that the anti-choice folks are more concerned about protecting fetuses than already born children. The deep cuts in social and school spending here in Arizona only reinforces my belief.
At least we have a president who appears to be pro-choice. Obama’s belief that grown women don’t need the state involved in the affairs of their bodies bothers many pro-choice foes, even those who would dare suggest secession, or that the government under Obama’s till veers socialist. Obama’s planned appearance at Notre Dame is especially flaming for them.
When I was a child, I enjoyed reading Kathleen Parker. It was nice to have a female editorial perspective in the Chicago Tribune, other than Mary Schmidt, whose sole success was writing for a comic and having one of her columns about sunscreen go viral. When I began thinking critically, about the time I entered high school, Ms. Parker’s writing became less relevant. Like many conservative writers, Ms. Parker has a specific worldview and isn’t above creating convoluted, twisted exercises in logic in order to frame her view accordingly. These type of arguments frustrate me because when the logic structure itself is questioned, those who defend it start screaming about strawmen and try to direct the argument back to the supposed points (My poor, poor brain).
I still read Ms. Parker when she pops up in the Arizona Republic, mostly for nostalgic purposes, and to educate myself on how the other side thinks. She’s more tolerable than Cal Thomas and Charles Krauthammer, both of whom I absolutely cannot read for fear of destroying china and furniture. And, now, with George Will thoroughly discredited (at least he should be) after publishing corrupt science in a weak attempt to refute global climate change, I don’t really have a conservative writer who isn’t a pantomime of a thinking, rational human being.
Today’s Ms. Parker column was a plea to Obama to refrain from going to Notre Dame. His appearance there will offend all the poor anti-choice folk. I’ve read Ms. Parker long enough to know that she never made similar requests to W. Bush, asking him to refrain from attending various universities for fear of offending the anti-war people. I’ve long since known that conservatives tend to be the masters at do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do politicking, so that particular element of her column didn’t bother me. What really got me hot was the following
In a single sentence, Ms. Parker managed to reduce the whole of women’s experiences and perspectives to their uteruses and their ability to carry fetuses. In fact, women’s ability to conceive is so precious, according to Ms. Parker, that the state must step in and control their bodies in order to ensure that these women experience their unique gifts regardless of their mental, physical, and financial states. And, this argument comes at a time when the states are reducing much of the social services aimed at helping women in weakened mental, physical, and financial states take care of themselves and their offspring.
That the state doesn’t force women to choose doesn’t bother Ms. Parker. She’d rather that women not have a choice, because she possibly doesn’t believe that women possess the mental faculty necessary to make such a choice. The weight of her women-as-children argument doesn’t faze her because she engages in what psychologists call the actor-observer fallacy. In short, other women are incapable of making the right choice, but she is able to make decisions properly regardless of mitigating circumstances. Ms. Parker can’t see the slippery slope her argument leads because her mentally constructed reality won’t let her.
Obama needs to be at Notre Dame to show the anti-choice crowd that he is above their pettiness. Ms. Parker needs to learn that the whole of the female experience is not limited to her uterus. If she doesn’t, this is one out-of-work father who wouldn’t mind having her job.