The other gift that keeps on giving*, Clementine Ford, offered another couple of hundred words in Sydney’s Morning Herald last week. The subject was the Irish referendum which resulted in abortion being legalised for a more wider range of reasons than previously. To be more accurate, the column would have probably been just fifty words if one could filter out “misogyny“, “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture“, i.e. Clementine’s default reasons for anything she finds offensive in the world.
As always with La Ford’s ramblings, she links multiple subjects (the war in Syria, border disputes in Israel, etc.) with the point she’s trying to make (“abortion should be legal and free on demand“), but there were two sentences that leap out as indicative of the mental gymnastics that must be performed to maintain a level of certainty as rock solid as Clementine’s.
This is the first;
Abortion is an issue of reproductive health-care, not morality.
A useful epistemological technique to test the truth of a position is to look at the very extremes to see if the statement still holds true. In this case, we could imagine a situation where a full-term pregnant woman requests a termination whilst the baby is in the birth canal and in the process of being born, let’s suppose for reasons of her mental well-being.
If La Ford’s statement is correct, the midwife would have no need to hesitate before, sorry for the mental image, suffocating the baby as its head emerged from the woman’s vagina. It’s doubtful anyone sane reading this would disagree that there’s a moral element to that decision.
If we can agree on that, La Ford’s statement might still be true if we can find a point between conception and birth that the termination of the foetus doesn’t require a morality question to be answered. Birth minus 1 week? 5 weeks? 10 weeks? It seems hard to find a reason or trigger for her no morality decision required position.
The second sentence that indicates a contortion of logic is this one;
Men who cannot get pregnant need to learn that their opinions on this issue are irrelevant.
There’s quite a lot going on in those 16 words, let’s unpack them shall we?
“Men who cannot get pregnant“. At first that seems a tautology; of course no man can get pregnant so why add the extra 4 words? Unless…… she’s making a very subtle point that there are some men who can get pregnant; men who used to be women but are now, in La Ford’s mind, men. Being a man and carrying a foetus to full term are not mutually-exclusive in Clementine’s mind. Okaaaaay.
Those “men” who weren’t born with a uterus and the other physical requirements to conceive and give birth, i.e. the people we used to call “men” in those halcyon days when all of us understood the term, aren’t allowed to express an opinion on abortion, according to Clementine, and if they were to express an opinion, it would be deemed irrelevant.
At the risk of wasting my time writing an opinion that will instantly be dismissed as irrelevant because of nature of my genitalia, I’m going to anyway.
Abortion is a highly-nuanced and difficult issue and one that many very intelligent people have struggled with over several decades in many jurisdictions. That La Ford feels so certain that it is not an issue of morality and that a male’s opinion on the subject is irrelevant says more about her intellectual dwarfism rather than the correctness of her opinion.
As for men being able to give birth, that’s simply a land grab of language to suit a Cultural Marxist agenda.
As Bertrand Russell eloquently put it;
Fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves.
Of course, Russell’s opinion is not relevant to La Ford because, in all likelihood, he had a penis.
*Herpes is the original gift that keeps on giving.