It’s our first podcast with Emily Albrecht, the co-president of St. Olaf Students for Life and our next speaker/writer/coach! Josh and Emily discuss the recent HBO film “Unpregnant” because there are themes taught in this movie that may influence some of your conversations with pro-choice people who have seen it.
If you would like to watch the film before listening to our commentary, we invite you to do that. We will discuss the entire plot in this episode.
Published in 1971, Judith Jarvis Thomson’s A Defense of Abortion is now a classic in contemporary philosophy. She presents nuanced yet controversial conclusions on abortion from creative thought experiments, most notably the violinist scenario. While many have critiqued and defended Thomson’s violinist, I want to examine her views on fetal personhood.
Thomson used an acorn analogy to explain why she did not think human fetuses were persons. I still remember the first time I read her article in my Philosophy 101 class. When my philosophy professor asked for our thoughts on her acorn analogy, I did not know what to say; I was stumped.
In this article I will show why Thomson’s acorn analogy is faulty and fails to refute the fetal personhood view, even though it does work against one bad pro-life argument.
I think the most interesting question you can ask someone who identifies as pro-choice is whether they think abortion should have any restrictions at all. The phrase “pro-choice” means something different to almost everyone, and nothing reveals that quite as quickly as asking about when it’s okay to restrict abortion. For example, I was surprised to find out that two students from a college Planned Parenthood club were uncomfortable with third trimester abortions. Clearly, they weren’t just following the party line!
Maybe one of the most common responses when asked about restrictions is that “people should be able to have abortions, but they shouldn’t be allowed to use it as birth control.” There’s a certain image they seem to have in mind when they talk about abortion as birth control: an imaginary woman who doesn’t use contraception and keeps coming back for more abortions every time she gets pregnant.
Leaving aside how problematic their mental image might be, this restriction seems like a common ground point; after all, we don’t want women to use abortion as birth control, and they say they agree. But the agreement is only at the surface level. We’re using the same words to mean completely different things. As my contract law professor said, there’s no genuine “meeting of the minds,” so there isn’t any actual agreement.
Josh responds to three pro-choice people who pushed back against our recent video about the Responsibility Objection, one of the pro-life counter-arguments to Judith Jarvis Thomson’s famous violinist thought experiment. Is this pro-life argument a red herring? Did we strawman Thomson?
Josh Brahm interviews Ali Rak, an incredibly effective community organizer and activist in Maryland, to explain the nuts and bolts of how she gets people involved in contacting their political representatives in order to accomplish pro-life goals.
00:00 Introducing Ali and the topic;
13:14 Why apologetics training is important for lobbyists;
15:20 What Ali does as a lobbyist and community organizer;
38:44 Do email templates for people to send to their representatives work?
47:00 Tips for in-person meetings with legislators;
55:04 Is it possible for pro-life lobbyists to come across as too emotional when making their case?
59:23 Do you send email alerts with only one call-to-action or multiple?
1:04:08 What are the most common mistakes that lobbyists and community organizers make?
1:06:47 How do you keep people motivated?
1:10:48 How local pro-life people can work well together.