"Pro-Choice" is Not Deceptive
October 19, 2005 § 15 Comments
Michelle Arnold has an interesting post up entitled The Wordplay Of Abortion. This is an important topic, and my own view on it is a bit different from the usual one, or perhaps peels back an additional layer of the onion.
I think that a fundamental problem arises when our public discourse becomes dominated by talk of “rights”. Framing public morality in terms of rights at least connotes, and perhaps denotes, that a person can legitimately choose to have his rights enforced, or not. If I have a right to a particular piece of property I can choose whether or not to have trespassers expelled. If I have a right to life it at least connotes the idea that I (or my representative, if I am not competent) get to choose whether or not I live, and the manner in which I am willing to live.
But that underlying connotation of choice does not obtain as an objective moral matter. As a gedankenexperiment, even if (though this is not possible in reality) the baby herself did not want to live, that would not make it morally acceptable to abort her. And perhaps less intuitively, if I own a piece of property I am its steward, and it would be morally wrong for me to allow it to be overrun and ruined rather than tended in some way for the greater glory of God.
So I agree that language is a big part of the cultural problem and has to be addressed. But I think the rabbit hole goes deeper than most people realize.