[eDebate] My 2 Roe Cents

Elizabeth Gedmark elizabeth.gedmark
Tue Apr 11 11:08:58 CDT 2006

I had a scary experience the other day: I was on the plane reading an
article in Glamour about how young women are increasingly becoming more
pro-life. I read through the comments of women my age and I understood the
arguments. They said that with the increasing availability of not only birth
control, but even the morning after pill, there was no need to have
abortions unless you were irresponsible. Now of course I don't agree with
this and I do find the argument offensive, but the really scary thing was
that I was not entirely sure I could effectively rebutt all the arguments.

This is because I have never been allowed to argue about abortion.  My
teachers and professors have always avoided the controversial issue and
among friends there seems to be an agreement that we won't discuss such a
sensitive matter. I fear that when I enter the real world next year I will
be unable to defeat those that have been preparing to change the status quo
for decades. I have been dogmatic about one of the issues that is closest to
my heart and I always fear that is a dangerous position.

The fact is that as debaters we will probably skirt the real core of the
controversy. We have debated controversial issues before like the death
penalty and for the most part people agreed on the controversial part and
just ran counterplans to solve better.

I think that this means that there will be very few debates where women are
personally offended. I would even venture to say that there have been even
more offensive issues over the years and there will be less offense this
year in order to avoid sensitive issues. Now of course, you are wondering
where the education could come in when I have admitted that debate is a
distorted game where we don't really debate anything of importance. I think
that it will come in the research. I have always loved researching women's
issues for debate, even though we almost never heard the core controversial
arguments. I think that this increases women's participation. I loved
writing our Mail Order Bride case this year for the NDT. In the research you
get to learn the most controversial and offensive arguments. You can think
through them and write answers, even though you might not need them.

Debate is the best possible way for us to learn about something really
important. Even though I only read deterrence against the death penalty once
(sorry Turner and Leong!) I did understand the arguments better after
looking at that literature.

The fact is that feminism is a four letter word amongst most college
students, especially college women. It is about time we address the issue
and try to figure out an effective strategy to convince those women that are
turning pro-life! It is very dangerous that the women's movement is so
splintered and perhaps it is time we stopped avoiding the issue.

On a note of interest, I did run the case to overturn Brown v. Board on the
education topic. We argued that it is a racist decision in and of itself
because it presumed white supremacy by sending all students to white schools
instead of fixing any of the black schools. We said that it was hurting
schools that wanted to become afrocentric and all black like Central High in
Louisville.  We said that segregation in states that might take advantage of
our plan was already happening- with whites at private schools and blacks at
public schools. We said that integration was inevitable, but that the way
things were going black students had no chance to gain an identity.

All of our judges said they liked the case and most teams on the negative
agreed that racism was bad and ran CLS or states counterplan, etc. It was a
very enjoyable experience although writing the case and discussing it with
my mother was sometimes emotional and painful. I don't have any of the cites
with me, but you can probably contact my coach Daryl Burch, he wrote it with

Just my thoughts!
Liz Gedmark
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