Pro choice, not pro abortion

April 25, 2016 § 155 Comments

It has been pointed out to me that in characterizing the public position of the mainstream pro-life movement as pro abortion, I am being unfair.  Some go so far as to suggest, while bravely facing the applause, that this is outright calumny and rash judgment. The dispute is not over the moral status of abortion: it is over the legal status of abortion. The mainstream pro-life movement abhors abortion morally and wants to see the number of abortions dramatically reduced.

Pro-lifers are even willing to do whatever it takes legally to mete out punishment for all of the abortions caused by men who manipulate poor helpless women.

So lets define “pro choice” as the position that a woman ought to be able to choose abortion without any legal consequences to herself.

The mainstream pro-life movement’s position, then, is not pro abortion.  It is pro choice.


How to end political conflict over abortion

April 15, 2016 § 41 Comments

Ending political conflict over abortion admits of a simple technical solution.  All we need to do is develop and enhance techniques which empower women to carry out abortion themselves, without the assistance of an abortionist.  If necessary we can develop technology which has ‘acceptable’ uses – which is to say, non-criminal uses – for other things besides self-abortion, to avoid any objection to the effect that the providers of the technology can be criminally charged.  After all, guns don’t kill people: people kill people.

That way – under the principles expounded by all respectable people, including pro-lifers – the law has nobody to charge with a crime.  Political conflict over abortion should come to an end.

Unless we listen to the fruitcakes and nutcases who think there should be legal sanctions against women who procure abortion, that is.

But they aren’t True Pro Lifers[tm] or True Conservatives[tm] anyway, so why should we listen to them?


Reader GJ in the comments below provides data to the effect that 20% of all abortions in 2011 were self-administered by the mother taking an abortion-inducing pill.  In 2008 approximately 30% of the abortions in Planned Parenthood facilities were performed by the mother herself (taking a pill).

Life under the Big Top

April 15, 2016 § 40 Comments

Someone is pro abortion if he asserts – for whatever reason or set of reasons – that no woman should face any kind of legal sanction or punishment for deliberately choosing to have her unborn child murdered.

It is a pretty big tent. I used to think that many of the folks who literally march under the pro-life banner were well meaning but suffered from a kind of stockholm syndrome. Recent events show that I was giving them too much credit.  It turns out that they are just pro abortion after all, and have been so all along.

Magistrates managing the madness of murderous murderess mothers

April 13, 2016 § 60 Comments

Conservative writers continue to confirm that the mainstream pro-life movement views (and has for some time viewed) women who procure abortion as, categorically, innocent victims.  Mother Theresa observed that a murderess murders her conscience in addition to her victim, and the pro-life movement has perverted this act of conscience-killing into exoneration. This is a narrative you may recognize: sure the behavior she chose was objectively abhorrent, but through the magic of inscrutable subjectivity we can presume her subjective victimhood.  Because we can’t know anything about whether she is subjectively guilty or innocent in the invisible Cartesian theater of the mind we are justified in concluding that she is an innocent victim in the invisible Cartesian theater of the mind.  Christ’s admonishment not to judge the inner state of her soul translates into  a license to declare that the inner state of her soul trumps her chosen behavior.  Judging the inner states of souls is actually just fine — as long as the conclusion is that a woman who procures abortion is subjectively innocent.

Dump trucks filled with exceptional cases where murder goes unpunished are rhetorically deployed to turn special pleading into a general principle.  (Obviously, just to take one example, if abortion were treated legally like a kind of murder that would not alter the double-jeopardy exception: someone who had been tried and found innocent could not be re-tried even in the face of new evidence).

Beneath it all is – precisely as I have suggested – a belief (or, equivalently from my standpoint, actions and words perfectly consistent with the belief) that women are not fully adult and responsible moral agents when it comes to abortion.

we will treat women who go outside the law to end their pregnancies the same way we treat people who attempt to commit suicide. We might mandate that they get help, in the form of counseling — instead of leaving them to face the crushing guilt without support

One flaw in the suicide analogy is that attempted homicide is not the same as a successfully completed homicide.  But I can work with that, I suppose.

Therefore I suggest a compromise: the pro-life movement can reach consensus to treat women who procure abortion the same way we treat other severely mentally ill people who have successfully carried out homicide and remain a permanent danger to themselves and to others. Instead of life in prison, life in an asylum.

If you aren’t dead, you aren’t the murder victim

April 8, 2016 § 45 Comments

A commenter writes:

Men pay for the abortions, and I don’t mean tax dollars. Men are hiring the hit men, particularly in the case of the unmarried women who make up a majority of abortion-seekers.

It’s an old trope for a reason. Women have moral culpability for getting up on that table, but they all too often aren’t the ones putting the money into the abortionist’s hand. That’s usually a man, baby.

Nobody has suggested that co-conspirators in murder should not be punished. Quite the contrary. All co-conspirators in and accessories to murder should be normatively subject to some sort of sanction or punishment. Exceptions are people who literally lack agency: who are physically forced, who are severely mentally ill and need to be under constant supervision for that reason, etc.

Leniency is possible and sometimes warranted; but true leniency is leniency precisely because the person deserves to be punished. As Dalrock points out, being under pressure or ignorant isn’t even exculpatory in the case of a parking ticket, let alone murder.

What is ludicrous and irrational is the simultaneous contention that abortion is murder and that women who deliberately procure abortion are categorically innocent victims, not perpetrators of murder (along with the abortionist and any other co-conspirators).  To consider innocent victimhood the normative case for women who procure abortions is to assert that – as the normative case – women lack moral agency.  It is to assume that women in general lack the capacity to be responsible for the behaviors they choose unless proven otherwise in a particular case.

I’m sure your wife deserved the beatings

April 7, 2016 § 3 Comments

Presenting reasons why you believe that women lack moral agency is not the same as disputing that you believe that women lack moral agency.

Not guilty by reason of life is hard

April 6, 2016 § 12 Comments

One of the interesting things about the intramural dynamic between left and right liberals is that it is sometimes the ‘conservatives’ or right-liberals who craft the newest, latest, most progressive innovations in the ways in which liberalism attacks and destroys the natural moral order. In order to stay respectable conservatives sometimes have to out-progress the progressives.

Back in the day the insanity defense provided a kind of compromise or unprincipled exception as a way of saving liberalism from itself.  Liberalism requires public-square neutrality, so the liberal ruling class must prescind from making moral judgments. Disease is unlike moral failure inasmuch as moral agents are culpable for their moral failures but are not (necessarily) morally culpable for contracting a disease or having some sort of defect.  Under the insanity defense heinous criminals could be defined as ‘sick’, thus avoiding making substantive moral judgments while at the same time still asserting a form of politically correct authority.

However, even this vestigial politically correct pseudoauthority is intolerable to mainstream pro-life conservatives or right-liberals when it comes to women who choose a particular kind of murder. Female emancipation means that when a woman chooses abortion she must face no consequences whatsoever.

Let them eat cake

September 6, 2013 § 15 Comments

The modern economic order is one in which many businesses, large and small, are required to take on customers that they don’t want.  New Sherwood has a clever idea about how to respond to liberal brownshirts who are using the law to force small business owners to (for example) bake “wedding” cakes for sodomites: pledge to donate all of the proceeds to Courage or similar organizations.

The analysis of material cooperation with evil is correct, as best as I can tell.  As in similar situations, compliance with the law under protest in order to sustain an ability to make a living is, again in my analysis, morally licit.

Nothing says “leave me and my business alone” like funneling all the revenues from your unwanted customers to organizations they find distasteful.

I’d even suggest that a Christian pharmacist ought to donate all of his contraceptive revenues to a big, mainstream anti-contraception organization.  That is, I’d suggest it if one existed.

Red Cardigan explains …

July 4, 2013 § 31 Comments

that when a trashy unrepentant entitled heterosexual single mom asserts through the courts that she has a right to be employed at a Catholic school, the correct course of action is to give her a job.  But if a trashy unrepentant entitled lesbian single mom asserts through the courts that she has a right to be employed at a Catholic school, that is “sickening”.

That thing you see poking out of the tent is the tip of the camel’s tail; that sound you hear from “conservatives” is the faint dawning of awareness that it doesn’t work to stand athwart the steep part of the slippery slope shouting “stop!”

(Read more under the “Pro Life Stockholm Syndrome” tag).

It just gets better

January 30, 2013 § 49 Comments

Red Cardigan’s intransigence on the Kathleen Quinlan case, explained in her own words:

But then again, I also see Catholic schools these days as hoity-toity pricy private school options to help predominantly white Catholics escape the dysfunction of the local public schools, so perhaps that’s one reason why I snort a bit at the “morality clause” thing. My 9th grade Catholic “health” teacher taught us how to use contraception, made fun of the Church’s teaching against it, mocked the “rhythm method” (she’d never heard of NFP), and told us if we had a problem with what she was saying, we could take it up with our religion teacher; she was teaching “health.” The bishop was too busy laying down on railroad tracks to protest nuclear weapons to care, and our religion teacher was a former flower-child nun who believed an inner child (a little blond girl, IIRC) lived inside of her and that she was also psychic, so she didn’t much care about our grasp of Catholic moral teaching. I have heard NOTHING in the ensuing decades which tells me anything much has changed; in fact, a teacher I know was fired from her job at the Catholic school for the “mortal sin” of teaching children in her biology class that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder.

I could go into my own experiences – then and now –  and how they differ from hers, etc.  But why bother.

I guess that whole Golden Rule thing doesn’t apply to how people who work in and depend upon Catholic education are treated.

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