Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"Nurturant Parent" vs. "Strict Father"

An interesting suggestion to reframe the abortion debate in accordance with the "Nurturant Parent" - "Strict Father" model (via Anne):

This debate is not about "choice" or "life". It is not even about being "anti-abortion" or "pro-abortion". This debate is how we approach the issue of unintended pregnancy: Prevention or Punishment. The Prevention Approach is about supporting policies that prevent unwanted pregnancies and decrease abortions while the Punishment Approach is about supporting policies that increase unintended pregnancies and increase abortions in order to punish people for having sex. The difference in approach reflects the difference in our values.

...

The vast majority of Americans harbor discomfort concerning the act of abortion. It is unlikely, however, that most believe that all women should be made to suffer when faced with an unintended pregnancy. I believe that if one were to pose the question: "Are you willing to deliberately increase the number of abortions, unintended pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases in this country in order to teach people the lesson that sex is wrong?" most people would answer no. In fact, many people would find this tactic to be inhumane, cruel and unethical.


My objection to allowing the honesty, beliefs, humanity, benevolence, and/or ethics of strangers to play a determining role in a woman's medical decisions aside, the strategy advanced by this article might have merit.

I don't think redefining the terms to allow for an honest debate, the kind that we can win, will have any effect on the true believers--those who wish to impose their system of belief on others at any cost. For example:

Stacey Emick, legislative director of the Texas Right to Life Committee, said being offered emergency contraception is one more traumatic thing for an already traumatized person to think about.

"If they're just throwing a pill at her and saying, 'Here's how you get rid of the problem,' that's not an informed decision," she said. "You are putting her in a more vulnerable position."


To a person willing to bend reality to this degree to fit their dogma,
no amount of data will be persuasive. For this segment of the population (hopefully a minority), ideology will always trump reality.

On the other hand, those who hold a personal belief that abortion is unacceptable, and are thus truly committed to decreasing the number of elective abortions, should find the facts about "pro-life" policies--e.g., that increasing the risks of sex has never, in any democratic society, worked to decrease unintended pregnancies and abortions--most useful.

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