Shock and awe does not make your argument valid


Project Truth staged an assault on the minds and eyes of SRJC students last week. Members came with their posters, their flyers and their aborted fetuses to prove to the school that abortion is wrong. What they showed instead is that they are a bunch of inconsiderate bullies.
Bullies? That seems a bit harsh. Perhaps you would prefer demagogues or agitators but bullies are what they are.
Whether they’re shaking us down for lunch money or opinions, bullies only want to intimidate us into thinking they’re better than us. Their fists, literal or metaphorical, punch and batter us until we see ourselves as worthless because we are not like them.
Project Truth came with that agenda. They wanted to prove to us that they are right and those who think a woman has the right to control her own body are wrong. They claim all they wanted to do was raise awareness and educate students about why abortion is wrong.
What they do is preach and seek converts. It is important to make a distinction between education, debate and proselytise.  Education consists of reputable sources providing verifiable facts to one or more students.  Debate is the jousting of ideas against each other to come to an understanding of which position is better. Proselytism’s sole aim is to convert others to your way of thinking.
Was what the did education? I would say no. They did present facts: abortion does terminate the life of a fetus. However, they also presented an opinion in the form of fact. There is no medical, psychological or spiritual way to demonstrate the moment at which sentience and life begins. Many opinions and arguments that can be made, but all of them, from the feeling that life starts at conception to a baby are nothing more than a rumor until the fetus draws its first breath.
Was it debate they wanted? Again, no. Debate involves two people equally ready to consider not just the ideas and opinions of another, but also to consider their own. When we enter into a rational debate we must be willing to allow the possibility that the other person could be correct. In Project Truth’s campaign they came with no intention of changing their position and engaged people in discussion who most likely would rather be left alone.
Was it prothletisation? Indeed it was. The purpose for the assault on campus was simply to make others believe what they do.
Does this make them bullies? No, it does not. It makes them opinionated and inflexible. What makes them bullies is the tactics they use. They create a context of dead babies for their arguments. With graphic images they make us think of dead babies, they make us see doctors as killers and want us to protect the poor defenseless unborn babies. They push our buttons, and we can’t help it.
Their tactics are the mental equivalent of being punched in the mouth and asked, am I right now?
Why does Project Truth need to bully us in order to convert us? Because pictures of dead babies make us forget the other side of the argument. A woman with an unwanted pregnancy is not just bearing the child, but also a financial and economic burden that will last far beyond the nine months of the pregnancy. The question that needs to be asked is does the baby’s right to live outweigh the mother’s sovereignty over her own body?
By bullying us, by showing us the graphic images of death, Project Truth distracts us from the mother. This is wrong. The question of abortion and the rights of the fetus vs. the rights of the mother are complex issues that require more than an emotional sucker punch to win a victory.