• A reply to Paul Cullen’s tone policing

    Here we are again, another male who isn’t affected by the 8th amendment and who has shown zero interest in the pro repeal campaign is suddenly worried about “tone”.

    This time it is Paul Cullen of the Irish Times that has joined the queue of gents ready to wag their fingers at Irish women who’ve dared raised to voice to an audible level. He bemoans that the strident extremes have hijacked the debate.

    The signs aren’t good. Once again, discussion is being dominated by the strident voices on the two ends of the spectrum, each group deeply attached to absolutist views on the subject. “Abortion is murder,” screams one side; “Get your rosaries off our ovaries,” shouts the other.

    This is one of many headscratchers in Paul’s piece. A false equivalence fallacy so bad it could be used the obvious example when trying to describe what a false equivalence fallacy is.

    Woman demanding that the Church, that is, the Church that imprisoned them, used them for forced labour, stole and sold their children, used barbaric medical practices on them, and overall reinforced sexism across Ireland for decades, that this Church should stay out of their business and stop interfering in their bodily autonomy is a perfectly reasonable request. There is nothing extreme or strident about this. Nor is it absolutist.

    Saying abortion is murder, thus implying the doctors who provide abortions and the women who’ve had them are murderers, is extreme.

    To equate an argument against the interference of the Church with people being labeled murderers is asinine. It’s worse than comparing apples and oranges, it’s like comparing an orange with a whole orchard; or Paul Cullen’s logical skills with that of Albert Einstein’s. They’re laughably different.

    Let’s move on to Cullen’s next display of fatuous logic.

    There is one big change between then and now in that the tables have been turned. Thirty years ago, pro-life views were the norm and the notion that women had a right to choose in relation to their fertility was a concept largely confined to university campuses.

    Today, in an Ireland where the liberal outlook now prevails, pro-choice voices are in the ascendant. Pro-life groups, in contrast, are greatly diminished in number, strength and influence.

    Has one tyranny been replaced with another? Has the intolerance of the pro-life brigade all those years ago been transplanted into the current campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment? Is the debate being covered fairly in the media?

    What? Because something has become a prevailing opinion it is somehow tyrannical? Most people think condom usage is ok, little did I know we were all being a bunch of tyrants. Same goes for those who think same-sex marriage is acceptable, smoking is bad for you, and the moon revolves around the earth. Tyrants, every one of us.

    So what evidence did Cullen bring to show how the pro-choice campaign consisted of strident tyrants? (Nice name for a band that). None, zip, bupkis. Unless, of course, you posses the same grasp of rationality as Paul here and think a change in national opinion and women asking the Church to butt out demonstrates stridency and tyranny.

    He does mention the abuse Jack Chambers received but I can’t name one politician who hasn’t received abuse for their opinions. That’s not to condone the abuse, but let’s not pretend the abuse directed at Jack Chambers was some anomaly only to be found within the pro-choice camp. Not to mention the fact that the pro-lifers have done much worse to politicians than just call them names over Twitter.

    Cullen then moves from the above inanity to being downright insulting.

    The push for liberalising abortion law sometimes feels more like a marketing campaign than a political debate. Like the cleverest modern campaigns, it operates on many levels; “Repeal” murals and jumpers are presented as artistic or fashion statements, and an intense focus on personal stories is a strategy borrowed from last year’s marriage equality referendum.

    To describe women giving their personal stories of how they have been negatively affected by the 8th amendment as “marketing” is gravely insulting. Especially given the stigma surrounding abortion in Ireland, and the fact one of the pro-life campaign’s strategies is to silence these women.

    Their stories are a vital part of the campaign not because of “marketing” but because the debate around the 8th amendment isn’t about some abstract philosophical concepts, it’s about the thousands of women the amendment negatively impacts every year in Ireland. They and their experiences are the very reason the 8th needs to be repealed. So of course they should be the vanguard of the campaign.

    But thanks to people like you, Paul, their voices are now under scrutiny as being “shrill”, “strident” and “intolerant” even though that isn’t the case. And at every turn not one example is provided. All the while you ignore the abuse that emanates from the pro-life campaign on daily basis.

    Women are called Nazis and murderesses. Fake counselling services are established to scare women in crisis pregnancies and spread false and harmful information. Pro-life campaigners dress up as pro-choicers in a dishonest attempt to make pro-choicers look bad.  They harass women outside abortion clinics. They force raped pregnant women to give birth. They force women diagnosed with a fatal fetal abnormality to leave family and friends to attain the medical care they need.

    Not only do you ignore all of this and more but you pretend the pro-choice campaign is just as bad because they used the clever slogan “get your rosaries off my ovaries”. Fuck you.

    Category: AbortionIreland


    Article by: Humanisticus