When Satire Becomes Absurd

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Holmes Lybrand Fact Check Editor, Daily Caller News Foundation
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It is no surprise that The Washington Post fawned over a ‘satirical’ Texas bill that attempts to equate colonoscopies to abortions. What is surprising is how poorly conceived the satire and logic of the bill is.

Jessica Farrar, a Texas House Representative, presented a ‘satirical’ bill meant to highlight differences between the freedom of access for men’s health compared to women’s. The problem is, it does no such thing.

The bill is meant as a “shoe on the other foot” stunt, mocking the “Woman’s Right to Know” act in Texas. In this satirical bill, Farrar proposes that men would be charged $100 for masturbating, they would have to wait 24 hours before receiving a colonoscopy, vasectomy, or Viagra prescription and must provide informed consent. Farrar’s bill (H.B. 4260) is a total of 4 pages long.

Suggesting, as Farrar has, that a colonoscopy for a man is the same -or similar- as an abortion for a woman, is deceptive and dishonest. Colonoscopies are routine, necessary for men’s health, and do not cause harm to men. Abortions are not routine, are hardly ever necessary, and can cause damage to women. Arguing that abortion is a women’s health issue, as Farrar does with this bill, is a false bit of rhetoric that dismisses the reality and danger of abortions. Comparing abortions to routine and necessary check-ups is a useful trope when attempting to disguise the serious and unnecessary nature of many abortions.

If this bill is meant to persuade some on the pro-life side to relax certain laws surrounding abortion in Texas, it does a very poor job. Farrar demonstrates a lack of knowledge regarding the principles and beliefs of pro-life individuals. The main argument in this satirical bill is that women are not treated the same as men. This argument ignores the fundamental view of the pro-lifer, that it is no longer a question about a woman but a woman and a baby, a person, a human. Whether or not Farrar believes this is unimportant, her bill demonstrates a lack of understanding of this fundamental belief by the opposition. If Farrar is truly attempting to open the eyes of her constituents, as she claims, why is she using an argument that completely dismisses and does not address their worldview? Her bill instead makes the argument that pro-lifers should agree with her because vasectomies, as a matter of men’s health, are comparable to abortion. They disagree with the premise of your argument yet you proceed? It would be as if someone quoted scripture to an atheist and then demanded their conversion.

Regardless of the views of Farrar’s opponents, the comparisons she draws in this satirical bill are nonsensical. As discussed, colonoscopies are not the male equivalent of abortions. There is no such thing as the male equivalent to abortion because men can’t grow babies inside of them. She compares vasectomies to abortion, but vasectomies already have a female equivalent, and it is not abortion. What is the satirical point of throwing a $100 fee on a man when he masturbates? Are there proposals to fine women for their periods or for masturbating? Of course not. This supposed satire is nothing of the sort and presents a poor mockery of the genre.

We hear so much of “The Party of Science.” There is nothing scientific or clever about this bill. It is a sad attempt at satire that demonstrates the refusal of pro-choicers to debate about the pro-life belief that it is a person, not a clump of nothing. Even if pro-lifers are wrong, this “satirical” bill is nonsensical in its comparisons and pathetic in its argumentation. One can only hope for a better sparring match with an opponent than this.