Opinion

Australian human rights organizer wants to silence pro-lifers

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On a regular basis, Tanya Cohen, an Australian who describes herself as “human rights activist and writer,” has been using Thought Catalog to spout off long drivel against free speech here in the United States. It would be comical that Cohen claims to support free speech if her argument wasn’t such a dangerous one.

Regardless of what Cohen regards to be “hate speech,” Americans enjoy the privilege of the First Amendment. This includes pro-lifers, whom among others she disagrees with, Cohen doesn’t believe should have such a right.

In her seven posts for Thought Catalog since January of this year, abortion is mentioned in five of them. Cohen even has an entire piece of over 3,000 words dedicated to the issue, titled “It’s Time To Put An End To Anti-Choice Speech.”

Unfortunately, Cohen takes a stance against life. Her stance is in the fashion of how those who protest against a woman’s “right” to abortion are engaging in hate speech, “expressing hateful or anti-human rights sentiments.” I consider denying someone the right to life to be hateful and a violation of that preborn child’s human rights, but you won’t see me attempt to silence those who support abortion.

Cohen attacks the United States for its “hate speech” in all of her pieces; however, the United States is only one of seven nations which allows for abortion past 20 weeks. Australia is not one of the seven. It’s bad enough that Roe v. Wade and its counterpart, Doe v. Bolton, legalized abortion in all 50 states for any reason. The least that this country can do is to allow pro-lifers to retain their First Amendment right.

What is so hateful about educating the public about the truth of abortion, or counseling women about alternatives? To use the term the abortion crowd likes, what is so “pro-choice” about making it difficult or impossible for women to seek these resources?

Cohen points with emphasis: “Freedom from certain kinds of speech,” and “the right to accurate information” is “a human right.” Cohen categorizes a person against abortion as “one [who] is essentially saying that women are not equal to men and thus do not have human rights,” claiming that “[t]he arguments used by the anti-choice crowd are wrong, misleading, and dangerous.” She does not support her claim, however.

As clearly right as Cohen believes herself to be, she is wrong. Her points are typical and tiring pro-abortion talking points. That is why those who disagree must have a right to share their side, particularly when they speak the truth.

And, it is curious that Cohen would admit abortion carries the risk of suicide and depression as she does:

Women who have abortions already tend to face depression and even suicide. Vilification from right-wing Christians increases the depression already faced by said women, and also increases their suicide rate tremendously, in the same way that the vilification of transgender people plays a major role in their high suicide rate.

Wouldn’t those who try to encourage women to not abort be doing them a favor? What about the women who had abortions and became depressed and suicidal as a result? They powered through it, and encourage other women not to make the same mistake.

Cohen is not dangerous because she supports abortion, but because of her desire to silence all who disagree with her. Here is the kind of nation she envisions:

Laws exist to enforce acceptable behaviour. Arguing against a woman’s right to choose is not acceptable behaviour. Ergo, there is absolutely no reason that it should be legal either. We would never allow anyone to question racial equality, diversity, or multiculturalism, so why should we allow anyone to question a woman’s right to have an abortion? Australia needs to seriously consider expanding its current human rights legislation in order to outlaw not only the obvious forms of bigotry, but also any expressions which oppose a woman’s human right to choose, along with all other ideas which have no place in a modern human rights-based democratic society.

Despite claiming to be in favor of free speech, she does not seem to understand the concept of it:

As such, the right to have an abortion is an Australian value. Does “freedom of speech” allow people to oppose the values of the nation? Does “freedom of speech” allow people to be willfully ignorant and downright wrong? Does “freedom of speech” allow people to oppose human rights? Of course not. Why, then, should “freedom of speech” ever allow anyone to oppose a woman’s human right to make decisions about her own body, which is something that most Australians support? Why should “freedom of speech” ever allow anyone to voice ideas which the vast majority of people believe are completely unacceptable?

What Cohen considers to be answered with “[o]f course not,” Americans consider to be answered with “of course!”

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