The Fallacies of the “1 in 3 Campaign”


When walking around campus I could not help but notice the “1 in 3” banners hanging around the Diag. I was curious as to what this “campaign” was all about. After visiting their website, I quickly realized this was a campaign for abortion.

What caught my eye was not whether abortions are right or wrong – this debate is for another time, place, and article – but the underlying assumptions that provide the foundation for this “campaign.” These assumptions are quite troubling, and the language that this “campaign” uses is rather dangerous. The assumptions that form the “avocation” of the “1 in 3 Campaign” also happen to be fallacies.

Their statement goes as follows:

The 1 in 3 Campaign is a grassroots movement to start a new conversation about abortion—telling our stories, on our own terms. Together, we can end the stigma and shame women are made to feel about abortion. As we share our stories we begin to build a culture of compassion, empathy, and support for access to basic health care. It’s time for us to come out in support of each other and in support of access to legal and safe abortion care in our communities.

Here, the assumption that sticks out like a sore thumb is that abortion is considered “basic health care.” As though all should have access to it – as if it’s a right. Every right should be accompanied by a duty, but I digress; the language used here supposes it is our society that creates the “stigma and shame” associated with abortions, and that “women are made to feel” badly about abortions. But perhaps they are feeling shame that stems from feelings of empathy and compassion for the being (or clump of cells, or whatever you want to call it) that they had aborted.

The statement goes on:

The 1 in 3 campaign builds on the success of prior social change movements, harnessing the power of storytelling to engage and inspire action and strengthen support for abortion access. By encouraging women who have had abortions to end their silence, share their stories, and start a new and more personal conversation about abortion in our society, the 1 in 3 Campaign will help create a more enabling cultural environment for the policy and legal work of the abortion rights movement.

The fallacy in this statement is that, through “the power of storytelling” the “1 in 3 Campaign” is attempting to appeal to emotions – with no rational reason to support abortions. The support they seek merely relies on women’s stories of experience. They hope that through the stories of women who have aborted fetuses, this will “inspire action” to support access to abortions. In other words, through emotional stories, other people’s emotions can be aroused in order to gain support for their cause. But why should people support this cause? Just for the sake of shedding a negative stigma attached to them? Or for the mere choice, convenience, and freedom of the mothers?

Yet the most fallacious assumption which lies at the heart of the “1 in 3 Campaign” is that because a significant number of women have abortions in their lifetime (presumably 1 in 3), the procedure must be right and justified. This is simply an appeal to popularity, or “jumping on the bandwagon.” Just because presumably 33% of women will have abortions in their lifetime does not validate or justify the practice of abortions. There is no argument to see here – It is quite a lofty assumption to base a “campaign” off of.

What makes this type of fallacy dangerous is that it assumes the more people who commit an act, the more justified that act must be. If I were to say that 1 in 3, or 2 in 4, or 3 in 5 college students participated in risky behavior such as binge drinking, unprotected sex, or drug usage, it would be foolish and dangerous to assume these actions would be okay to do since a significant number of college kids do so. It is not the freedom or independence to do these things that makes them okay to do either, as many other abortion “campaigns” argue that “choice” is the basis of their justification, and definitive of an independent woman. But this “campaign” is not just pro-choice, it’s strongly pro-abortion – a procedure that has yet to be proven as being medically legitimate.

What this “campaign” does is label any argument posed by pro-life groups as “stigmatizing abortions.” This is yet another attempt of political correctness to demonize opposing arguments, portraying their own argument righteously as to “not offend anyone.” It is a pointing of the finger at the opposition, and blaming them for the negative feelings associated with abortions.

If this “campaign” wished to be unbiased, even if it is true that 1 in 3 women get abortions, they should also post the stories of women who regret having abortions, whom view it as a mistake. But no un-biasedness here – they only wish to shed the “stigma” associated with abortions. “1 in 3” poses themselves as being an innocent campaign for women to share their life changing stories of how their abortions kept their lives commitment-free and convenient for them – just like most other abortion campaigns. It would be unwise to fall for their seemingly “innocent” and simple claims; their assumptions are fallacious, as well as dangerous.

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