[eDebate] Final Thoughts on Roe

Steinberg, David L dave
Wed Apr 12 10:34:45 CDT 2006

First, I would like to thank the Nicoles for their voices on this matter.

Too few women are involved in CEDA; in its leadership in 2006, on both sides of the ballot in late elimination rounds of Nationals, in coaching and directing.  We seem to be going backward rather than forward.  I believe it must be a priority of CEDA to lower barriers to participation by all who would benefit from participation, and perhaps more importantly, from all those who would help the rest of us learn, grow and develop as people.  Nicole and Nicole, I think, have helped me to learn, at least a little.  I am sympathetic with the positions of Nicole Richter and Nicole Colston on inclusion of Roe in a courts topic.  I must admit that I did not anticipate their reactions, but I learned from them. That is why I so appreciate hearing their views.  Like Neil Berch, their positions and reactions had not occurred to me.  However, I honor them, and I respect that while they do not speak for all women, or maybe even most women, their reactions are heartfelt and honest.  It is likely that they reflect the feelings of at least some other women, maybe men too, in debate (NRichter indicates that this is so).  They offer an insight into a standpoint that we (as men) cannot share.  I think that participation by women in CEDA must be a very high priority; the numbers reported by Berch were abysmal.  The committee is all men, as are the incoming 2VP, the 2VP, the VP and Pres of the organization.  So I will favor that which may possibly avoid barriers to participation and inclusion by women.  I am convinced that inclusion of Roe on the topic could, for some women, be a barrier.  In many ways, it would be a timely and debatable topic, good for generating PR and interest.  Veronica's post was an excellent set of arguments to this, and are hard to answer.  However, I think the costs outweigh the benefits, and leaving it off would not be a barrier for anyone's participation.  Thank you.


David L. Steinberg, Director of Debate
University of Miami
PO Box 248127
Coral Gables, FL  33124
Wolfson Building #3015
305-284-5553 (office)
305-284-5216 (fax)
dave at miami.edu <mailto:dave at miami.edu> 


From: edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com on behalf of nrichter at umsis.miami.edu
Sent: Wed 4/12/2006 10:56 AM
To: edebate
Subject: [eDebate] Final Thoughts on Roe

I have taken some time off from this discussion to regain the emotional
strength necessary to re-enter the debate. I cannot speak about this topic in a
detached sense, and my entire life is affected by this discussion, so I am
ready to make a final statement and move on. I know there are many line-by-line
arguments that I do not have the time to respond to (my thesis is due in a
week, and I do not have the ability to respond to everyone's thoughts). But in
general, I think they overlook the most troubling aspects of this topic. Please
try to listen with an open mind and heart:

1. I am speaking for the invisible voices in this community. I have gotten a
flood of e-mails from womyn (and men) who do not feel comfortable talking about
this issue in the public sphere. They see the repercussions of posting on e-
debate and they fear being criticized and silenced by members of this
community. They do not feel safe to speak out. If you believe the debate about
this is open, I urge to consider the voices that are not visible because they
fear being neglected and delegitimized through arguments about why "switch-side
debate" is good or the educational value of the topic. The truth of the matter
is that there are womyn all across the country that support the position Nicole
and I are taking, but because of privacy and fear they cannot come forward. I
completely understand their position. I have felt hurt and attacked by some
posts over the last couple of days, when my goal is really to just to call
attention to the voices we do not hear. Nicole and I are not alone.

2. There are womyn in this community that have had abortions. I urge you to
consider their ability to debate this topic and the potential consequences
these debates might have on those womyn. Some womyn that have abortions have no
emotional trauma, but some feel extreme shame and guilt about what they have
done. Some womyn become extremely depressed, lead a life of self-hatred, and
some even commit suicide as a result. I don't feel comfortable forcing these
womyn to debate about their personal experience. Inevitably, they will be
negative against a team that approaches this from the right, and I don't want
to sponsor a decrease in the self-esteem of these womyn. Yes, personal
experience is important in debate, but should we force it? Many womyn cannot
debate this from a detached standpoint. I want to make this community safer for
womyn, I feel that debating Roe undermines that goal. Debating this topic will
further ostracize some womyn in this community. My evidence to support this:
the womyn that already feel unable to participate in this discussion. I think
even if participation is increased by debating this topic, we will lose the
most important participants. I think we should consider the feelings and
thoughts of those in the community affected by this topic, not commodify their
suffering for the educational value of switch side debate, and seriously
consider the psychological damage this could do to womyn in this community.

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