The popular mantra these days is that gender doesn’t matter. An individual’s biological sex should have nothing to do with what he, she, or “ze” should be able to do.
That is, except when it comes to the abortion debate. For many pro-choicers, if you are a pro-life male, you are not welcome to discuss or even listen to a discussion about abortion.
Several weeks ago, I attended a lunch talk at Harvard Law School sponsored by Law Students for Life. The talk was extremely well-attended. A good attendance for a Tuesday lunch talk is about 50 people. By noon, 115 people had squeezed into a lecture hall that sits about 80. Around 70 percent of the attendants were male.
Pro-Lifer Thoughtfully Engages His Opponents
Renowned ethicist and professor Robert George gave the talk. His remarks were titled, “Are Human Embryos Human Beings? Are They Persons?” During his remarks, George systemically presented two arguments: first, that embryos are scientifically human beings in their most immature state, and second, that all human beings possess innate human worth beyond what they can provide to society.
His arguments were thorough and highly thought-provoking. Each time George made an argument, he fairly presented the opposing argument and carefully refuted it. The event was a delightful display of intellectual engagement in a minority view in the elite institutions.
However, the response on campus was anything but intellectual or engaging. Instead of discussing the arguments presented, pro-choice advocates on campus hid behind identity politics. The most prominent rebuttal of George’s presentation had nothing to do with the content of his reasoning or the quality of his scholarship; it had to do with the sex of the attendees at the event.
Shortly after the talk, this post appeared on Facebook.
In her post, a Harvard Law student claims that it is easy and obvious to presume that men would be pro-life, in a manner dismissive of their actual reason for espousing that view.
This dismissal of men’s viewpoints simply because of their biology is especially ironic given the fact that many of the same pro-choice advocates have been fighting for sex-neutral bathrooms on campus. Apparently, sexual anatomy does not matter for picking a bathroom, but biological gender can devalue one’s opinions in an intellectual discussion.
Personal Attacks Are Not Arguments
The author of this Facebook post went on to write an article in the Harvard Law Record that claimed professional women must be pro-choice, or they will be unable to succeed professionally. She references 112 female lawyers who “maintain that they would not have been able to achieve their professional success had they not had abortions when younger.” She argues: “Women need reproductive justice to have an equal shot at professional achievement and admission to law schools like Harvard.”
Of course, I agree that an unplanned pregnancy affects the mother much more than her male partner. But does the student’s observation do anything to address the arguments George put forward—namely, whether a fetus is a human being worthy of protection?
In answer to the article, Law Students for Life published this response and asked whether one person’s professional advancement should justify another’s death. The central question to George’s lecture and Law Students from Life’s argument is whether an embryo is a rights-endowed human being.
“If the answer is yes, professional achievement cannot justify the taking of another’s life. That an embryo is a human person unequivocally answers the question of whether abortion is a proper means for women to advance their careers.”
Instead of debating this issue, these pro-choice advocates have preferred to play identity politics to avoid facing the undeniable fact that a human fetus is a human being with innate human dignity. If it’s true that a fetus is a human, then it should follow that she cannot be sacrificed for the professional advancement of another.