No Longer So Sanguine As To Entertain Moral Arguments
It seems as though mainstream journalists woke up about six months ago and realized that the anti-abortion movement was not only very serious but about to dismantle reproductive choice as we've known it. If I hadn't spent so much time online in the past few years, I might've been similarly blinded.
As long as the "pro-life" case was being made as an ethical plea, I was rather sympathetic to it, and particularly so when I was young, had rarely had sex, and had never known any poor or depressive people. But even after I'd come to understand the stakes better, what I saw as a minority moralist movement seemed an interesting factor for debate. Because I was convinced that the public health grounds for a permissive abortion policy could not seriously be debated.
Roe was already the precedent by the time I came into political consciousness. As the granddaughter of a nurse who had good reason to be vehemently pro-legalized-abortion, I'd never seriously considered the possibility that the moral ambiguities about potential life, arguments with which I had some sympathy, could be made into binding law.
The moral arguments are much more palatable in the moral sphere; they make for terrible law. The more I read and listen to anti-abortion writers, the less willing I have become to entertain their concerns.
"Principles won't do," wrote Conrad in A Heart of Darkness. Hilzoy in her recent post at ObWi has done an excellent job in countering their nebulous first principle of "life" with a more scientifically helpful ethos of "sentience," but in the political world, I'm beginning to get much more worried about consequences.
Every anti-abortion politician should be asked about El Salvador's policy. They should be asked whether they would support such measures, if not, how would they justify falling short of such. Federal-level candidates should be asked their opinions about the rights of tribally sovereign lands to host abortion clinics, about a nation-wide abortion ban.
It's time to bring the abortion debate out of the shadows. I am one-hundred-percent fine with exhortating women not to have abortions or to use contraception, as long as that exhortation doesn't interfere with sensible public education or amount to harrassment of private individuals. Everything else, the chipping away tactics, the criminalization of often-necessary medical procedures, churches' buying out private hospitals to eliminate abortions, oh it goes on--that is starting to make me very very worried. Paranoid, even.
So just what is it you want, ye who are against abortion? And what consequences of your doughty first principles are you willing to oversee?
The above rant was first ranted here.