The morality of abortion

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There is something that many christian denominations believe.  It’s an internally consistent metanarrative that speaks to what they consider the duality of the universe.  It’s classic star wars just without the Ewoks and Jabba. There’s a purely good side full of supernatural entities fighting a dark side also full of supernatural entities who, like any good movie, are fated to lose in the end.  That struggle, many ways, is played out on earth.  It’s straight up bronze age mentality.  Hasn’t changed for 3000 years.  It’s called, fittingly, “The Culture of Death”.  If you’re not with us, you’re against us and going to burn in hell.  There’s no middle ground.  No grey area.  There’s certainly no clearly defined rights and responsibilities.  There’s no self-defined purpose for your life.  Those are all things meted out by god.  If you reject them, hell.  If you embrace them, hell on earth, but you go to heaven.  That’s why abortion is so frowned upon in conservative religious circles.  You’ve prevented a life from coming into being.  That’s dark, not light.  The consequences to the mother are not relevant.  No matter what happens to her on earth she’ll go to heaven.  Same for the child.  The costs are not relevant.  The ethics are not relevant.  That’s why birth control is frowned upon.  Same rational, you’ve prevented a life from coming into existence.  Life, everyone agrees on, is one of the most wonderful things to happen.  The “Culture of Death” is how Catholics and other religious conservatives justify their position.  But the entire premise is flawed.  Their stuck cherry picking a non-relevant book over translated, repeatedly copied, that last made sense when the Roman Empire was at it’s peak.

All of these debates we have between pro-abortionists and anti-abortionists are not relevant.  The “personhood” argument doesn’t matter to either conservatives or liberals but we debate it anyway.  To a conservative the entity, whatever you want to call it (medically it’s a zygote/fetus depending on it’s stage of development) it doesn’t matter because it’s potential will eventually mature into personhood no matter how long it takes or what it costs.  To a liberal it doesn’t matter because the argument is about personal autonomy.  Legally it doesn’t even matter because the case was decided on the principle of medical privacy.  The pragmatic argument that Liberals trot out all the time about the potentially negative consequences don’t matter.  A conservative won’t buy them because the most negative consequence possible is the death of the child.  They matter a little to Liberals because people matter to liberals, but it’s not the crux of their argument.  Almost no one will care about the utility of abortion.  There are no good statistics, but a significant source of clients in abortion clinics are pro-life believers.  “Most pro-life women oppose abortion with four exceptions: rape, incest, the life of the mother, and me.”

Surprisingly, the Supreme Court got this one right.  The issue is decided on medical privacy.  Conservatives are always a bit outraged on that one since under normal circumstances privacy would not normally apply.  My right to privacy would not trump my obligation through action or inaction prevent the death of another person.  (Though, oddly enough law enforcement is currently going down that path).  Same with “personal autonomy”.  I absolutely will lose my personal autonomy if my actions result in the harm to another.  That’s why they’re confused in this case.  Because when we talk about murder, or theft, we’re usually talking about two independent adults.  Who, for the most part, suffer and benefit from their actions (social/economic pressures a different topic for a different time).  When I pass a homeless person on the street I may choose to give him some money or some assistance.  I may also choose to donate to an organization with the resources to make a more substantial impact.  The person who has nothing, who will die if not aided, can demand nothing from me.  Not the least part.  I may not be a very good person to refuse, but he has no moral right to demand.  That much is theft.  He can not have my time, my resources, parts from my body (I do not have to fear from organ hunters).  There is nothing that he has a right to forcibly take from me.  It doesn’t matter how rich I am, or how desperate his condition.  Force is never justified no matter how well-meaning.  And yet, we have a good 40%, according to recent polls, that believe otherwise.  Pregnancy takes an enormous biological, emotional, physical, and economic toll on a woman.  In damn near kills her, and in some cases it does.  (That’s actually fairly unique to humans by the way).  No homeless person has the right to put me through hell for 9 months for his sole personal benefit.  Neither does a child.  I want there to be no more abortions in the same way I want there to be no more cancer treatments,  Ie by curing cancer.  We shall not tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.  Imagine the umbridge if a woman merely suggested as much.

This brings us to the ultimate point.  Having breached medical privacy, you fools have opened up the door for government agencies to tell doctors how to practice.  To make demands of women they do not want.  Anti-abortion activists have mandate cruel, invasive, unnecessary, and irrelevant procedures as a purely malicious and ineffective hurtle towards abortions. — good– you’re thinking — that was the point, we don’t want abortions– but the government can now, in theory make ANY medical decision for you on any moral basis that it wants.  It can tell you what meds you can have, what procedures can be done.  All on the basis of the current collective morality of the government.   For there to be effective healthcare in this country the barrier between government and health must be secured.  THAT is the moral imperative.


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