Yoshie's sacred sperm

Steve Perry sperry at usinternet.com
Tue Aug 24 14:15:16 PDT 1999

Steve Perry wrote:
>I'm not interested in whether my argument is politically compelling

Yoshie wrote:
>Hence your inability or unwillingness to squarely answer
any of my arguments in the post to which you replied.

Then let's look at your, um, arguments, such as they are.

Yoshie writes:
>You think that everyone who supports and wants to expand
the right and access to abortion at the bottom of their heart thinks abortion is a moral problem and the same as murder *but* is denying it in the interest of political expediency. That is plainly untrue.

No, I don't think everyone who supports and wants to expand the right and access to abortion thinks it's the same as murder. (Your own--loaded and disingenuous--word; I never used it.) But I do think it's the height of solipsism and intellectual juvenility to claim that one's *rationalizations* of his or her actions are the last word on the moral dimension of those actions, and no one else dare say any more. I now understand better why so many people on the list are often moved to personal invective; what you're saying here is bottomlessly stupid. You relentlessly caricature the motives and beliefs of pro-lifers; I don't particularly care about that, to tell the truth. But I do find it annoying that you follow these caricatures with a line of rhetoric that isn't susceptible to caricature--since it's *already* caricature.

Yoshie writes:
>Perhaps you deserve that Monty Python skit -- "Every sperm is
sacred...," since your morality is basically the same as the Pope's in this regard. (Even most Catholics defy the Pope's nonsense in practice!)

Oh, my--is this, too, one of those arguments I'm failing to answer? If so, then I guess my reply is that you "deserve" the Python skit about the shopkeeper who claims the customer's parrot isn't dead, it's only resting.

Yoshie writes:
>There is more to women's lives than simple and plain physical health.
We would like to be free from avoidable biological contingencies (such as unwanted pregnancy), so we may enjoy our lives freely without gender-specific burdens.

Well, the first sentence shows some promise. But then you continue. There's something infinitely creepy about the manner in which you toss off the phrase "avoidable biological contingencies"--twice now, in separate posts, as though you were talking about deciding whether to live with crow's feet around the eyes or have them tucked--but never mind that. And never mind that your own clumsy choice of words--ie, "avoidable"--suggests not getting pregnant in the first place; ah, but the Pope and I are opposed to contraception, aren't we? (Well, I shouldn't cavil; the only way stupid people can win arguments is by putting stupid words into the mouths of others.)

Meeting your argument on its own ground raises an interesting point. If a pregnancy is reducible to a mere "biological contingency"--just another lifestyle choice--then what of a man's rights vis a vis an "avoidable biological contingency" that *he* wants no part of? I'm not suggesting he ought to be able to compel a woman to abort a pregnancy (or carry it to term); that is clearly an unreasonable invasion. But by your standard--a life free of "gender-specific burdens"--shouldn't he be able to legally renounce his interest in, and responsibility for, any child issuing from a pregnancy unwanted by him? The financial and emotional responsibilities of fatherhood being a gender-specific burden and all.

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