What Were We Debating About Anyway?

18 Sep

A good friend of mine, who is a brilliant lawyer and a wonderful person, was reading “The last Day of a Condemned Man” by Victor Hugo and afterward made a remark about death penalty and abortion. She said she had difficulties understanding how someone can be against the death penalty and in favor of abortion. She asked: is it logical, considering the principle of respecting one’s life? Wouldn’t this principle be valid in both debates?

I answered her yes, it is logical to be against the death penalty and to be in favor of the decriminalization of abortion at the same time. To me, in both cases, what is at stake is not the respect for one’s life, but the need to limit state’s power. Indeed, I am against giving the state the power to decide about the end of someone’s life due to a crime he committed; and I am also against giving the state the power to legislate about what happens inside a woman’s body, especially if it is to criminalize it.

I do not follow the debate about the decriminalization of abortion closely, probably because that is one of the few legal problems I think my boyfriend and I will not have to deal with personally, unless men can get pregnant in the near future. But I don’t want to talk about the decriminalization of abortion itself here.

What I want to talk about is the gigantic importance of not letting a debate become twisted to the point that it is unrecognizable. And the debate on the decriminalization of abortion is the best example of how a conservative group has changed the debate such that even informed people do not know what the debate is about and therefore form an opinion in favor of the conservative/religious side.

In fact, debating about “abortion” is completely different than debating about “the decriminalization of abortion”. More seriously, wtf is the meaning of “pro life” and “pro choice”? To me, the meaning of someone being “pro choice” instead of “pro life” can only be that this person believes in the right to suicide.

Another example of intentionally misunderstanding a debate happened recently in Brazil. The government was preparing an anti-bullying campaign for schools. Among the subject of the campaign was the respect for diversity, including sexual diversity. How could one be against a campaign that protects children and adolescents from being bullied? That would be a hard fight, right?

So, strategically, some religious and homophobic groups that wanted to keep future generations from not being homophobic – God forbid, indeed– started to call the campaign material “the gay kit”. In interviews, articles, and general debates, they used the term “gay kit” so many times that the general media adopted the expression. Soon enough, the country was discussing who was in favor or against “the gay kit”. And guess what? Not only was the anti-bullying campaign gone before it started – it was aborted, pun intended – but now no politician wants to be connected with it. In fact, this week, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God accuses the Catholic Church of supporting “the gay kit”. Instead of discussing an anti-bullying campaign, we are discussing which church is or is not homophobic enough.

See? This post was not about my friend, abortion, anti-bullying campaign or the gay kit. It was about stupidity, pure and simple. And, unfortunately, stupidity hurts!

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