On the Matter of Public-Funding for Abortion

 

This past week, I took the opportunity to respond to an editorial column in a local newspaper. In that column, Julian Sereno complained of efforts of legislators present and past to prevent public monies from subsidizing elective abortion. Sereno’s column may be read in its entirety at the following URL:

http://www.thedurhamnews.com/2011/06/15/207203/abortion-opponents-imposing-their.html

 

For those of you looking to hone your critical thinking skills on the anvil of bioethics, I would encourage you to read Sereno’s column, analyze his arguments, and then formulate a response that adheres to a 250-word maximum limit.  Post your response here for the benefit of others and/or for critical interaction.

Once you have completed that task, if you are begging for more work, feel free to critically review my response, which may be accessed at the following URL:

http://www.thedurhamnews.com/2011/06/22/207338/all-legislation-proceeds-from.html

 

I hope you will take this small exercise as an encouragement to engage others in your community on matters bioethic.

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Michael Martin
Michael Martin
9 years ago

Sereno opens his article by stating that North Carolina Republicans are trying to use their political power to interfere with a woman’s choice to have an abortion. This is a fallacy of division in stating that all Republicans or only Republicans support the provisions of a bill that will defund Planned Parenthood and will require women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound and receive counseling to discuss all options related to pregnancy and termination of pregnancies.
In the next paragraph, Sereno shows us an example of a faulty comparison when he tries to equate the word “belief” to religion so that he can argue abuse of the First Amendment. Next he uses innuendo to imply that if someone opposes abortion, that individual must have a religious agenda. This is also a good example of hasty generalization. In paragraph three, Sereno makes an unwarranted assumption when he states that as a result of the Hyde Amendment (which prohibits the use of public funding for abortions), poor women give birth to more and more babies. This is also a fallacy of division, as he infers that babies born to women of poorer classes have a negative impact on society.
In the fourth paragraph, Sereno introduces an irrelevant thesis when he begins to describe how the children who are not aborted go on to lead horrible lives, drop out of school and ultimately get involved in crime, gangs, violence and become drains on society. Or they become menaces to society and end up in prison. These statements are also good examples of fallacy of division and unwarranted assumption. In the last two paragraphs, the author wraps up the article with examples of fallacy of relevance and irrelevant thesis when he brings up the fact that Republicans are seeking to cut funds for programs that teach sex education and the use of contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies from occurring. This is also an unwarranted assumption since he fails to mention that many Republicans support abstinence education, which promotes the best contraceptive and the only one that is fully effective against unwanted pregnancies. He also mentions that funding will be cut for programs like Smart Start and More and Four that are designed to help underprivileged children. While this is an important topic to discuss, it has nothing to do with abortion and only aids in adding to the impression that he has an axe to grind with Republicans.
By framing his argument this way, he ends up suggesting that abortion is the solution to the problem of children who need government funding or for delinquents who end up in prison. It comes close to sounding like eugenics through abortion based on vast generalizations. This entire article and his attempt to form a valid argument gives us strong examples of reductionism and false dichotomies, taking the very serious and deep issue of abortion and making it out to be a simple solution to fix crime and as population control for the poor and uneducated. He also presents it as an either/or choice: either you have an abortion or you keep the child, when there is the option of adoption as well.