Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On Abortion

Althouse highlights an awkward BloggingHeads discussion between two pro-choice women (BH's idea of "balance" would be to have one person be for late term abortions and the other be pro-abortion up to 2-3 years). This predictably turned into a hell of a comment thread, with the Althouse commentariat (that quote about the commentariat skeletonizing a cow on the masthead is mine, thankyouverymuch) turning out some pretty good and civil stuff.

I wrote a comment as well but it was just way too long, so I'm posting it here.

the deacon said:
There are extremists on both sides of the issue. At least the ones on the left aren't blowing up other people's children over it.

You don't hear about the crimes of the extreme "choicers" much, but they do exist, and in far greater numbers than the more spectacular bombings of the extreme "lifers".

As we acknowledge that some on the pro-life side are not pro-life so much as anti-sex or anti-choice, let's acknowledge that some on the pro-choice side are not pro-choice so much as pro-aboriton. These are, e.g., the people who sterilize quietly while performing abortions.

Abortion is a popular tool of eugenicists, including the still honored Margaret Sanger. Sanger, founder of the euphemistically named "Planned Parenthood" was a fan of Ernst Rudin, the philosophical architect of the Holocaust.

Abortions are predominantly done for non-white women, in what may be a coincidence, but not one without demographic implications.

I mention all this as someone who's pro-choice (even though I agree with almost all of the pro-lifer's positions).

I'm pro-choice simply because I don't think the government should or even can police women's uteri. Every menstrual cycle becomes a potential crime, every uterus a crime scene.

I mean, if you're going to take seriously that life begins at conception and any attempt to stop that process is murder, you'll need to investigate the million odd miscarriages that occur every year. Even the ones that aren't murder--a lot of those are going to be criminal negligence.

You'll want to monitor all the possible herbal emmenegogues that women have used for millenia, as well.

If you want to directly equate fertilized egg with newborn, that is. You'd investigate an infant who turned up dead, after all, so this is the logical conclusion of that equation.

You'd probably need to regulate women's activity in general, since any nubile female could be pregnant at any time without knowing it. And certainly society can never be sure.

I say get the gov't out of it completely. We went 30 or 40 years in this country without any laws on the topic at all. I know it's fun to scorn Roe v. Wade with its penumbras and emanations, but there is the ninth amendment, remember that?

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

That emanates and penumbrates like crazy. The idea that the state should suddenly be able to regulate this without some sort of Constitutional amendment strikes me as a slap in the 9th's face.

The gov't shouldn't be paying for abortions either, of course. The government relies on a growing population to keep its bureaucracies well fed.

Now, if you want to reduce the number of abortions, then get the message out. That used to be what churches did, and they aren't what they used to be, so it'll be harder to get that kind of influence, but it certainly can be done. You have the advantage of facts.

Right now, the pro-choicers can try to suppress exposure of those newfangled baby scans that are so damaging to the "just a clump of cells" theory on the basis of protecting rights. End that battle and return to the one that matters.

And if it were totally unlegislated, i.e., if the gov't weren't involved at all, it would be pro-lifers versus who, exactly?

Take laws off the table and the argument goes from "pro-life vs pro-choice" to "pro-life vs pro-abortion". How sweet is that? Only a few people are actually pro-abortion, and most people think they're pretty creepy.

Versus the other way: Make it completely illegal everywhere, and not only do you have to fight the battle forever, your victory creates an underground complete with its own economy, criminal exploitation, and a fair number of dead mothers along with the dead babies.

If you have any other perplexing social issues that need resolving, I'll be in the pool.


  1. My question is simply this. Can you still wear white pants after Labor Day because of Global Warming?

    I mean we bought a lot of cool white capri's and I don't want to get stuck with them.

  2. I try to avoid controversy here, Troop.

  3. I think the real debate, the hearts-and-minds discussion that should've happened in state houses throughout the country, was aborted by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

    To be ardently, avidly, assiduously pro-life, however, does not NECESSARILY mean pro-totalitarianism.

    Pro-lifers are modern day abolitionists. When people are treated like property, someone must stand up for them.

    Hi, Trooper!

  4. To be ardently, avidly, assiduously pro-life, however, does not NECESSARILY mean pro-totalitarianism.

    No, I doubt it ever crosses most people's minds. I don't see how it works out otherwise, though.

    Pro-lifers are modern day abolitionists. When people are treated like property, someone must stand up for them.

    Yeah, I can see that. At the same time, children are also, to a degree, treated like property. The nature of the relationship is not that of fully autonomous beings.

  5. children are also, to a degree, treated like property

    Benign benificence until the age of majority is different than extinguishment prior to birth, no? And, should there be abuse or neglect at that juncture, the State intervenes on behalf of the child. Amazing what 6 inches of vaginal canal will do to one's rights. Unless you're born to a 15 year old at the prom and wind up in the dumpster.

  6. I don't see how it works out otherwise, though.

    Perhaps we can just roll it back to viability. My daughters were born at 26 weeks and are alive and well. It was an arduous journey in the NICU and worth every moment.

    If we as a society could just say, 'no, that baby can live, with assistance, outside of your body now. Your right to abortion has been supplanted by the child's right to life.' This line is getting pushed back [24 weekers are now surviving like 26 weekers did 5 years ago], but it will come to a halt at some point. And that's where the 'right' to abort should cease.

    We do place time, place, and manner restrictions on the 1st Amendment so why not this?

  7. Well, I don't think I need to point out how badly the state botches the "child protection" issue. A fetus probably has a better chance of survival with its mother trying to kill it.

    That aside, yeah, some specific point at which the state says, "From here, it's a citizen with certain rights" would be the most logical choice. I'm a 33 week baby myself, from a time when that was sort of "flip a coin".

    I'm not sure how they find doctors to do the procedure after a certain point. I guess MDs don't do the Hippocratic Oath any more and aren't really bound by the whole "first do no harm" thing.

    I really don't know how they countenance the unambiguous infanticide that occurs if a baby is born during an abortion attempt. Frankly, Obama's support--if he really does--for that ought to be enough to scuttle his political career in any decent world.

    I mean, I'll go out on a limb here and say "I'm against infanticide!"

    My argument remains, though, that this should be an issue for the churches and whatever else we have that passes for churches these days. The battle has to be won at the social level or it won't be won at all.

  8. Thanks for that, blake. You have done a better job of summing up my views on this issue than I could have. Coat hangers, dead girls; don't want any more of that. And yet. There's a middle path, we'll find it eventually.

  9. Hector: Thanks.

    I don't know if we'll find a "middle road"; I don't know that there is one that will reduce the acrimony. And I'm not sure that's so bad. It's okay for certain things to be strongly debated.

    It'd be nice if there was less crazy in the discussion but what the hell.


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