Abortion activism and civil discourse: Reply to Shields

Critical Review 20 (1-2):167-179 (2008)

Robert B. Talisse
Vanderbilt University
Jon Shields's finding—that certain evangelical pro‐life activist groups are more interested in deliberative discussions about abortion than are pro‐choice activists—is wrong on methodological, normative, and philosophical grounds. He generalizes about pro‐life civility from a small, trained sample group, and ignores possibly important variables that would explain pro‐choicers' incivility. Further, politeness is not necessarily a requirement of democratic deliberation—which entails not forcing one's own beliefs on the public, as pro‐lifers manifestly are trying to do, despite their calm demeanor. Conversely, some pro‐choicers' refusal to engage in debates is not a deliberative failure, as Shields suggests, as deliberation includes such things as campaigning and canvassing. Lastly, Shields, and the pro‐lifers he has observed, use the weakest of the pro‐choice arguments, instead of focusing on the best academic work in the field
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DOI 10.1080/08913810802316415
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Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Democracy and Disagreement.Amy Gutmann - 1996 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
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