Rick Perry on what Wendy Davis should have learned

You read that right. Rick Perry think he knows both what Wendy Davis has or has not learned from her own experience, and what Wendy Davis should have learned from her own experience. He must have some amazing (and, seemingly, impossible) epistemic skills.

“Who are we to say that children born in the worst of circumstances can’t lead successful lives?” Perry asked in a speech at a convention held by the National Right to Life organization. “Even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She’s the daughter of as single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example: that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential, and that every life matters.”

Of course, this quote illustrates that he has fundamentally missed the point, and is trying to change the subject.

13 thoughts on “Rick Perry on what Wendy Davis should have learned

  1. Out of honest intellectual curiosity, can somebody please direct me to some quality feminist anti-abortion philosophical literature? I know I can google it, but I wanted to know if there are ‘classics’ with that theme..

    (And please don’t psychoanalyze the reason that I’m asking this question under Perry’s obviously stupid comments. I have no religious or political motivations. I just want to see how feminist philosopher might disagree on the issue.)

  2. While I am not an expert on abortion (or feminism), I suspect you would be hard pressed to find any quality philosophical feminist work opposing abortion. In fact, the only quality philosophical work I know opposing abortion is Don Marquis’ “Why Abortion is Immoral.” Opposition to abortion is almost entirely religious, not philosophical, as reflected by the dearth of philosophical material opposing it.

    Obviously, if other people know otherwise, I would be glad to be corrected.

  3. I can’t agree that there is not significant philosophical opposition to abortion. Marquis’ work referred to above is justly noted, but what about Finnis, Noonan, Brody, Kreeft, Robbie George and others? Like the commenter above, though, I say this from the perspective as a non-specialist on abortion.

    Subject to that same caveat, Blah blah, re the nexus between feminism and pro-life philosophy you might try Anne Mahoney or Celia Wolf-Devine.

  4. Nemo, I would still say there’s a dearth insofar as the folks you cite (and others) are certainly in the philosophical minority. Moreover, I think I could only recommend Marquis as well.

  5. Hi Philodaria! If by “philosophical minority” we mean a minority of the folks in academic philosophy departments publishing in this particular area in the last 40 years or so, I expect that’s right. Prior to that, I think that relatively few philosophers would have felt either the inclination to construct philosophical defenses of abortion or the need to publish philosophical condemnations of it. At any rate, it doesn’t exactly seem to follow from this that “opposition to abortion is almost entirely religious, not philosophical”. (Oh, and with apologies to Cato,ceterum censeo I need to be removed from the moderation list.)

  6. Though given that all of the writers that Nemo cites argue from a religious, generally Catholic, perspective, I don’t see why the claim that opposition to abortion is almost entirely religious is false. And, to be frank, the quality of their argumentation doesn’t really recommend itself. Of course, maybe these are simply points we should agree to disagree on.

  7. i’m not sure how anyone can call Callahan’s piece high-quality – it is entirely dismissive of experience that differs from her (his?) own, and goes through extreme contortions to justify an argument that amounts to “an acceptance of biological determinism expands women’s lives.”

  8. laloca, Sidney Callahan is a her; a bioethicist (background in psychology) at Hastings who, interestingly, happens to be married to another distinguished bioethicist, philosopher Daniel Callahan. (He’s pro-choice, she’s pro-life, and they’ve collaborated on a number of works on the subject of abortion.)

    As for the assertion that Callahan is entirely dismissive of experience that differs from her own, goes through extreme contortions, etc. … eh, I’ll go with “No she doesn’t.” (Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.)

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