In 2008, the late Soran Reader wrote, There can be no real question about whether abortion can be justified. To “debate” such a question is to harm women, just as to “debate” Apartheid would be to harm black South Africans. The fact that something so necessary for women is treated as a “debate” shows a worrying lack of respect. 1 As this passage shows, the abortion issue is particularly difficult and sensitive. The trouble is that it is difficult and sensitive precisely because people care about it very deeply and do so often for different reasons, though at times surprisingly symmetrical ones. For instance, the “pro-choice” writer (we will discuss terminology in a moment) has serious reasons assembled to say what Reader does in the epigraph here. But the “pro-life” writer also has serious reasons assembled to say precisely what Reader does about another marginalized population, namely, the very young and defenseless (as pro-life writers see it) who have not yet been born. No doubt each side sees the other evincing a “worrying lack of respect” in the sense that a marginalized population is dealt a bad hand by the policies she or he rejects, but as far as persuading the other side that he or she should change course, it will hardly do to shrug off rational and civil arguments from the other side and retreat to one’s ideological bubble (though of course we do not mean to attribute this further step to Reader herself).
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