Whilst I was roaming around the blogosphere earlier today, I stumbled upon this post at RightReason by Bill Vallicella where he tries to give Rudy Giuliani a huge benefit of the doubt and grant a reasonable explanation for his inconsistent public statements regarding abortion. (A side note, there was something fascinating in reading some truly gifted scholars try to formulate an intellectually honest position to go with RG’s erratic attitudes toward abortion) In one of the later comments a person posted a website as a source for alternative positions on the issue. Anti-abortion.info is a site where a writer gives a Libertarian party position on abortion, and goes to great length to characterize anyone who holds a strong opinion either way as irrational. He also holds the opinion that the abortion debate is a political cancer that serves to divide our nation and it appears the whole world while forcing “rational people” to choose one of two equally irrational positions. Scott suggested I post on this and my brain practically froze up. Where to start on all of this material? Too...many..options.(imagine that last line in the best Captain Kirk impersonation) Lets try to approach some of the ideas in play and leave the source out of it.
ITEM #1: People who claim that abortion is a terrible thing that ought to be a legal choice for women.
Why is it terrible? Why should it be legal to get an abortion for elective reasons? And if you find that these two positions are irreconcilable is it still “irrational” to choose to advocate one side over the other? Presumably, it is terrible because the unborn are innocent human beings that are being killed for elective reasons. Presumably, it ought to be a legal option to preserve the freedom of a woman to make decisions about her body. But if the unborn are innocent human beings then the question is ABOUT a woman’s right to terminate innocent human life that is not her own body. Do we restrict freedom of choice to protect innocent human life elsewhere? So if the unborn are innocent human beings, then legal protection of their lives is not forced “slavery” but a common governmental practice. If they are not innocent human beings, then the woman’s freedom of choice is no more an issue than her choice of having teeth removed. To stake the moderate position that the unborn is some kind of proto-human or potential human that it sure is awful to have to kill, but “hey, women gotta do what women gotta do” is not intellectually superior. It is not rational. And until you answer the question of what exactly the unborn are if they are not human, it is not a legitimate option. You want to redefine the nature of the unborn to open up the options of what we can do to them, then redefine them. Explain what they are that killing them is a moral option. And for the record, renaming them is not the same thing.
ITEM #2: The abortion debate is intractable at best and causes such ill will it would be better to work together to end abortion through common ground?
Why would those who DO NOT think the unborn are innocent human beings that deserve protection under the law want to end or even limit the practice of elective abortion? Why would they seek another option? Abortion is the easiest option and if the unborn are not innocent human beings it is not a moral issue at all. You would not limit tonsillectomies so why limit abortions? If the unborn are innocent human beings, why would I ever advocate someone’s legal right to kill innocent human beings? What goal is there that makes the needless death of millions of humans an acceptable loss to reach? Political and social peace? The desire of people who are irritated by this fight to be left alone and watch reruns of “Friends” in peace? You have to demonstrate how preserving the peace is of greater moral importance than the preservation of innocent life. Then and only then will making certain that we all “feel good” be of the first order of importance.
ITEM #3: Abortion is like poverty and drug abuse, it can not be stopped by the government.
This post by Scott is about perfect and can not be improved upon here. I will only add one question. If that argument is true then I presume that the number of abortions were constant pre legalized abortion in 1973 and post Roe v. Wade. If they are not, (89,000 - 210,000 annually jumped to 1.5 million in 5 years) then someone needs to supply a rational explanation as to why making it legal dramatically increased the number of abortions in the United States and why the revocation of that ruling and renewed legal restrictions would not serve to decrease the practice. Otherwise, that argument is vacuous and not supported by facts. (Hint, it is vacuous and not supported by facts) Read Scott’s piece which pretty much gives you all you need to know about that. Abortion is NOT a force of nature that can not be contained. It is the immoral action of a nation of people that have been told for 35 years that the government endorses this practice without restriction. That can be changed.