Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Amanda Marcotte's Hot Rhetoric and Inability to Know What a Lie is

I've always thought Amanda Marcotte was a few eggs short of an omelette but this post at the RH Reality Check blog makes me wonder if there are any eggs at all.

Amanda got her hands on a training booklet from the prolife organization Justice for All which regularly coordinates large displays of images of aborted children at college campuses. The training booklet is to help volunteers who stand near the displays share their prolife views and respond to pro-choice objections. The title of Amanda's piece claims there are "all-out lies" in the booklet yet she can't name a single instance in which the booklet lies or instructs volunteers to lie.
Since my scanner is slow, and time is limited, I didn't turn all 113 pages into a PDF, and since much of it is just Q&A sections and scripture, I didn't feel I had to. But I did grab some interesting pages on arguments to make and rhetorical strategies to use against pro-choicers who try to engage anti-choice activists.
What's interesting is that Amanda doesn't provide links to the PDFs of the pages with all these supposed lies. If these pages are so filled with lies, why not post them for reader to judge for themselves instead of having Amanda's inaccurate descriptions.

Here's how Amanda describes the section which instructs volunteers on how to respond to questions about contraception.
So instead of allowing members to admit their hostility to all forms of contraception, they instruct them to conceal their beliefs until a target has been softened up to hear about their true message--sexual abstinence for all not trying to procreate--through a series of dodgy, misleading arguments, including misinformation about how the birth control pill works.
Here Amanda is playing on the ignorance (including hers) of many pro-choicers. Not everyone (and likely not the majority) of individuals who volunteer with Justice For All are opposed to "all forms of contraception" or that we only think people trying to procreate should have sex (since when did prolifers become opposed to sex among people past the child bearing age?). Note how Amanda doesn't share a single one of these "dodgy, misleading arguments" and then respond to it. She just labels them and moves on.
Once you realize this, the movement's half-hearted denunciations of Dr. Tiller's murder, coupled with the enthusiastic return to calling Dr. Tiller a monster, become all the more chilling.
So a prolife organization's training volunteers to talk about their views on contraception and abstinence before marriage makes the denunciations of Tiller's killing "more chilling." This is nonsense.
The section "What If The Mother's Life Is In Danger" is particularly outrageous, in light of the fact that it spreads many of the lies that led directly to Dr. Tiller's assassination. Dr. Tiller performed a number of medically indicated late term abortions, and anti-choice attempts to use legal persecution to catch him fudging the ugly realities proved fruitless.
Amanda clearly knows next to nothing about Tiller's abortion operation. The late-term abortions he performed weren't medically indicated. Those procedures are typically performed in hospitals. They were abortions on girls who either hid or denied their pregnancies until late into pregnancy or late-term abortions on unborn children with fetal defects. Neither is medically indicated. Amanda also fails to mention (likely because she doesn't know) that Tiller's actions of hiring a Kristin Neuhaus to approve abortions on girls who were more than 22 weeks pregnant were under investigation by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.

Amanda continues:
This casual disregard for women's lives is acknowledged as a credibility-wrecking problem in another section "Women Will Die in the Back Alleys with Coat Hangers." It's clear that Justice for All activists have convinced themselves that making abortion illegal actually doesn't hinder access to safe abortions (!), but followers are instructed to pretend to concede that illegal abortion is dangerous, to gain credibility.
Ummmm.....this is called conceding something for the sake of the argument. It's fairly common and it's not deceitful.

I think one of Amanda's big problems is that she seems to have no clue what a lie is. She seems to think "a lie" is something she disagrees with rather than someone saying something which they know to be untrue. This is on display with regards to the assertion that "abortion is genocide."
Shocking as all this is, perhaps the most shocking is the section addressing what Justice For All believes about the motivations of doctors who perform and women who obtain abortion, in a section titled "Abortion Isn't Genocide!" Yes, they believe that abortion is genocide, and their rationales for this belief depend on a bunch of out-of-context quotes suggesting that terminating a pregnancy is exactly the same thing as targeting a people for elimination. People commit genocide because they hate the group in question, so the implication (barely implied, and almost directly stated) is that doctors and women who have abortions do so because they hate fetuses. Not because the woman can't go through a pregnancy for a myriad of personal reasons. Not because the doctor is trying to help the woman. No, because pro-choicers hate fetuses.

This is the sort of vicious lie that led to Dr. Tiller's assassination.
Try to ignore the stupidity of the claim that prolifers think women hate fetuses and notice how Amanda notes that JFA "believe(s)" that abortion is genocide and supposedly believe that pro-choicers hate fetuses. She then claims this "lie" led to Tiller's murder. Well, if they believe it then it isn't a lie, is it? It could certainly be a false statement but it can only be a lie if the person stating it doesn't actually believe it to be true.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:54 AM

    In the booklet Jivin J of Justice For All it says birth control pills causes abortions, and do you believe they cause abortions?