With all due respect to Joni Hirsch Blackman, the author of this article in the Daily Herald.com, but the complete misunderstanding of the moral issue of abortion articulated in this piece demonstrates a lack of sophistication that goes beyond mere relativism. I was so stunned when I saw how JivinJehoshaphat summarized the article that I almost did not believe someone could get this sort of silliness past a proper editor. This is really a recurring theme in journalism today. Obviously, editors are no longer taking the effort to be fully informed or editorial review is so weak as to be laughable. That is the case at our local paper, The Atlanta Journal/Constitution. Cynthia Tucker has published a defense of her editorial style claiming that she gives individuals the opportunity to publish their opinions even when she knows they are factually inaccurate. This is a measure of fairness. As a result, it is impossible to trust anything you read in the editorial pages of our paper. Conservatives and liberals alike produce the most ridiculous distortions and mistakes as the AJC sends them on into print. Who cares if is right or wrong, it is all opinion.
That is not even fine when people are discussing the various methods of stimulating the economy, but it is absolutely irresponsible when it comes to issues of bio-ethics. Small mistakes in our reasoning can lead people to believe that whole classes of human beings ought to be freely killed. Zero margin of error forces us to be more careful.
Which leads us back to this article. Let us begin with the beginning:
No one disputes that, yet tobacco is sold in countless stores throughout the country and in our community. In fact, there is a tobacco shop not far from where I live in Naperville, and I -- someone who has watched people die because of tobacco -- sneer when I drive by.
It's tempting, but I'd never harass the people who go in there or try to have the store shut down -- even though the whole purpose for the place being there is to sell something that eventually will kill whoever is using it.
Tobacco universally kills everyone who uses it, huh? Do I really have to respond to that. Lets just call it gross factual error and move on.
Tobacco is legal and the store has a right to be there. So instead, I, and others who feel the way I do, try to educate people about the dangers of tobacco.
That's not good enough for those opposed to abortion. They not only voice their opposition, they want everyone to be "protected" from a new health clinic in Aurora near Naperville offering many necessary health care services besides abortion.
Yikes! So if this is not a bad analogy I am unaware of what one is. The lethality of abortion on the unborn if done correctly is near 100%. The unborn are involuntarily slaughtered. The abortion doctor is not killing the unborn as a by-product of another action. It is the job he/she is paid to do. Find the unborn child, kill it, and remove it from the mother’s body. I can see how Blackmun confuses this with a tobacco shop where people buy pipe products, cigars, and cigarettes. I know people that smoke an occasional pipe with the approval of their doctor and suffer no ill effects. I know others that smoke cigars when they can get their hands on a good one. They do not die as a result of this. The tobacco shop owner can easily sell products to adults that may or may not use them responsibly. If they abuse the product, it will most likely hurt them. It will not necessarily kill them. How on earth is the tobacco shop analogous to the abortion provider? One always intentionally terminates a life that had no protection or alternative. The other sells products to adults who choose to use those products either responsibly and in moderation or to excess and the detriment of their health.
This shows how deeply rooted the misunderstanding of moral arguments is in our culture. “Hey, you do not like abortions, well I hate cigarettes but you don’t see me standing on the corner protesting. I think soft drinks are evil, too.” In this context, evil loses all moral force and is reduced to statements of preference. Here you see it on all of its rhetorical glory.
In point of fact, we are brought back to the same question that always hangs over us on this issue. What are the unborn? If they are innocent human beings then the analogy that has been made is insulting. Our moral outrage over tobacco shops and abortion facilities ought not to be comparable. It is simply a greater moral offense by far to destroy innocent human life for elective reasons as a profession than it is to sell an unhealthy product to adults. If the unborn are not innocent human beings enjoying natural rights that include the right to life, then killing them is no moral offense at all and the tobacco shop is far worse. One of those positions is true, but the truth of either position is not dependent upon our preferences. It is objective.
I will not comment on the pastors and clergy that are defending this abortion facility. I will not go into the fact that Planned Parenthood took a deceptive route to acquiring the zoning permits and licenses to open this facility in question. Today I am merely angry with the editorial boards that are willing to shill for Planned Parenthood by publishing utter and complete nonsense from authors with no sense of duty to know what they are talking about. This issue is just too serious for child like analogies to be bandied about by writers trying to meet a deadline.