Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pointing out the Obvious

There are some things I can't let go. When someone passes off crummy rhetoric as a competent argument, I have to point it out.

Today, in my Google alert on adoption, I received the following article, apparently from a news website focused on Northern Arizona. In it, the author links adoption to being anti-abortion. This is, as nearly any adoptee can tell you, incredibly problematic. But before we even get to the crummy adoption part, we have to wade through the crummy anti-abortion part.

Adoption is solution to abortion issue:

The first excuse given is the most common: A woman should have rights over her own body. This is probably the easiest point to argue against. If a woman has rights over her body, mothers should be allowed to drink and smoke with their children inside them.

Pregnant and non-pregnant women should be allowed to do heroin, cocaine and meth. Legalize all illicit drugs, and acquit all those guilty of attempted murder by means of fetal alcohol syndrome. To say a woman has free reign over her own body is to allow her to dissolve drug laws and mistreat an unborn baby.

There are several problems with this "reasoning." The first, and most obvious, is that it assumes something which is actually a major point of contention in the abortion debate. It assumes the fetus is a child with rights. While some pro-choice advocates have argued that this is an irrelevant point, it is clearly a controversial point that many arguments on both sides turn on. What the author has done has assumed something that must be argued for. He uses that assumption to make his case. It's called begging-the-question, and it is a well-known fallacy.

Further, he assumes that something being illegal is also immoral. But that grants the law too much (and too little) connection to morality. Many things are against the law that are not immoral. (What side of the street you drive on, for instance, is determined by the law, not morality.) Other things have been legal but are not (and never were) moral, such as slavery. The law cannot serve as moral justification. At best, the law is an attempt to codify morality. The author reverses this, suggesting that the law justifies morality.

Then there is the whole business about "illicit drugs." This is a slippery slope fallacy. Recognizing that people have the right to self-determination is not identical with allowing them to do absolutely anything with their body. There are lots of well-worn examples of the slippery slope fallacy.

That's three fallacious bits of reasoning in one argument. That would be impressive if it were intentional. As it is, it's just sad. I hate to think how little critical thinking goes on in the majority of people.

As far as that goes, I might as well have posted this on my regular blog. (Indeed, it's a nice rant along the lines of what often appears at Over a Candle.) But then he gets to the adoption part of the insanity.

But many ask: Why should a woman have to spend her life with the child? She doesn’t have to. The answer is simple: adoption.

To pregnant rape victims: My sincerest sympathies to you, and may your burdens be eased. However, a piece of advice in your suffering: Abortion does not solve rape. Adoption, however, gives another couple a chance to have a beautiful baby boy or girl.

Most of this ground has been tread by many people in many different places. I think I was struck by how flagrant an example this is of someone who is clearly ignorant about the complexity of adoption.

Somehow, it's okay to make a woman go through nine months of a pregnancy and the discomfort and dangers of childbirth because we're not going to make her spend her life with the child. Never mind the damage done to both mother and child with adoption. At least she won't have to raise the kid.

In one paragraph, we go from "sincere sympathy" for rape victims to the real motivation behind adoption: babies for other couples. No real concern for the women who were raped. No concern for mothers coerced out of their children. And absolutely no regard for the children who are stripped of their identity and put through the adoption mill.

I'm tired of being a solution for other people's problems. Adoptees, whether children or adults, are people. They are not gifts. They are not solutions.

Do I really have to say that again?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Adoptees, whether children or adults, are people. They are not gifts. They are not solutions."

When my daughters adopter thanked me for giving her up I blanched and almost threw up. This was repeated to me by my daughter as she talked to her adopter while I was visting with my daughter.

Not a bloody clue how hurtful that was.