NECAC Forum: Two Male Chauvinists Expose Themselves at the University of New Hampshire

John C. Rankin

In the mid 1980’s I was invited to debate the subject of human abortion at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. My interlocutor was set to be a professor of philosophy, Dr. Barbara Tovey. But at the last moment, she cancelled. So there I was with 140 students and no one to debate. I then served as director for the New England Christian Action Council (NECAC)

No one left, and I said I would do my best to represent how an abortion-rights advocate would make the case, and how I would respond. I did do, then we opened up for a vigorous time of Q & A. Interestingly — in an audience that was perhaps 80 percent not on my side of the issue — nobody said I misrepresented the pro-abortion argument.

Which is to say, the Gospel is always interested in an honest definition of terms, and listening to all sides of a given debate equally. Then the power of informed choice is possible, and informed choice always honors human life from natural origins to natural demise, and with the view toward eternal life.

During the Q & A, one young woman was arguing for the “right” to choose abortion. When I sought to add the humanity of the unborn to the equation, she responded by saying that she still had the “power over” the fetus. She said it with such passion that the whole room was quiet, and as I was about to form an answer.

But then a Christian woman, sitting right behind the college co-ed, leaned forward and said to her, “Oh — you mean you’re bigger.” It broke the quiet with piercing clarity. The young women then threw her hand over her mouth, quite dramatically, in a huge “aha” moment. And after the event was over, she talked at length with some Christians who were there.

There were two young men sitting by themselves in the top row, and following this “aha” moment, one of them said, “I don’s see what the problem is. If I get a woman pregnant, she can go get an abortion. What’s the big deal?” As he did, seventy sets of female eyes turned and glared at him in the next “aha” moment of the evening. As I moved on to the next question, the two men quickly slipped out of the auditorium. Their chauvinisms, their reification of of women, had been exposed.

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