So I woke up and The Today programme was attempting to have a debate on abortion, I say attempting because the woman they had on for the pro-choice side, Suzanne Moore, was incredibly awful. She spoke over the chair and the other side after having complained when he did that to her. I agreed when she mentioned that Today is known for it’s lack of women – though felt she could have had that dig in a better way.
Abortion is an incredibly emotive issue but she did the pro-choice argument no favours and I hate it when that happens. Take a deep breath and make your points calmly and concisely, then your points actually have impact. Most of what she was saying I agreed with and having gone back and read the article that caused such ruckus I can understand better why she was so angry.
His language choice (as he points out in his second article about the first, is appalling. I read it and could feel myself wanting to shout at him. A foetus may not be a part of a woman’s body but could it live outside of her? Until it can then it is essentially a part of her. He actually had me wondering whether Suzanne was right about the main thing I disagreed with her about.
She basically said that as a man he had no right to an opinion about abortion. I disagree, in the context of a debate about the issue I think that absolutely a person has the right to add his opinion to the discussion. I know a lot of men who are reluctant to say anything about abortion because they don’t want to think about it since they perceive it as an emotive issue for women. This to me is a bad thing – anything stopping people from thinking about real issues and understanding what they genuinely think about something makes it more likely that people won’t properly engage when comes a time that they need to.
But the problem with abortion is people don’t try and engage with the facts, Mehdi Hassan’s article isn’t actually about abortion he just uses that subject to point our that the left and right wings of politics are more complex than the media commonly likes to portray. (And that that portrayal is leaking into our brains and the way we think about things). What he actually writes about abortion pays no attention to the science but plays upon emotive issues about killing an innocent child. Abortion, like everything else is a mixture of physical, emotional, scientific, artistic and various other realities. The thing is, the cells, the foetus, however old it is, is not an innocent child. Not until it is born is it and not until it is born is it a separate being to the mother. But he’s right, this issue isn’t about being left or right wing, it’s about personal engagement with a really complex issue, however after having read that article I wondered whether Suzanne Moore was right and men just couldn’t understand the issues – luckily I read Musa Okwonga’s article and was saved from my sexist instinct. He gets it, that it’s not a light choice, that indvidual situations are all different and that the law needs as much leeway in it as possible.
Men and women need to really engage with what abortion is, they need to think it through and Suzanne Moore and the ‘Twitter mob‘ who attacked Mehdi Hassan are completely destructive to engagement and thought. How dare they claim to be pro-choice when their actions shut down the conversation and understanding.