Friday, August 15, 2008

Don't be bamboozled by Democrat "pro-life" talk

There is talk of Evangelical pro-lifers abandonding the Republicans for the Democrats in order to "reduce the number of abortions".

"What's the point of banning anyway? The "pragmatic" thinking goes, "Banning doesn't work! Might as well vote Democrat! At least they reduce the number of abortions."

I think this thinking is extremely foolish.

For one thing, Democrats aim to fund more abortions. They can create social programs all they like. If they fund abortion and abortion providers, they are doing the very thing the pro-lifers don't want them to do. Women do not have abortions simply because of the lack of social programs. There are lots of social programs in many industrialized nations, but that doesn't significantly reduce the number of abortions.

Poverty is not the major cause of abortion. The major cause of abortion is the belief that unborn children are not equal human beings deserving of the right to life, and the attitude that children are a burden, not a blessing.

The other thing that I really wish pro-lifers would do is stop thinking in terms of banning abortion and to start thinking in terms of fetal rights.

This is not ultimately about an act. It's about human beings, and how they have rights just like any other human being.

It's a human rights struggle.

Banning abortion speaks to moralism. Traditional thinking goes: Abortion is immoral, therefore it should be banned. That approach is inadequate. So long as the unborn child is considered a thing, not a human being, there will always be those who will seek exceptions, and those exceptions inevitably lead to abortion on demand, in practice.

People, even pro-lifers, will do what they consider immoral as long as they think no one else is getting hurt. That is the fundamental reason why abortion is legal. It's okay to believe in "choice" when we don't really think we're dealing with human beings. When human life is an abstract thing-- as it is with many people who oppose some abortions-- there is the temptation to deal with an unplanned pregnancy as if the life within oneself is a concept, and not a person. And so, aborting a "concept" seems a lot less objectionable than aborting a human being. Being unprincipled in the face of a crisis isn't such a sin in our society, given the pervasiveness of moral relativism. People "understand" when a woman in a desperate situation has an abortion. They don't want to bring judgment on themselves. Many people who oppose some abortions being legal, will allow for others because they don't really treat the unborn child as equal. This is why abortion is legal. The unborn is treated like an idea, not a reality. Violating an idea is far more acceptable in our society, than violating a person.

The human person is the last moral absolute in our society. Even moral relativists need some kind of dogma to anchor their personal beliefs, because in practice, no one can live without moral dogmas. So the human person has become the measure of what is or is not permissible in our society. If harm is inflicted on another person, that is considered unacceptable. Most of our modern day morality can be summed up that way.

Abortion will be reduced when individuals acknowledge the humanity and the equality of the unborn child. Restrictions on abortion help, but they do not cut to the heart of the issue. Ultimately, our struggle is not about abortion. It's about humanity, equality and the unborn child.

Trying to "reduce abortions", as if that's all we can hope for, is very short-sighted. If Republicans are not that interested in banning abortion (never mind that they passed a PBA ban, but okay) why should pro-lifers think that Democrats are really that interested in reducing them, either? They're not. The Democratic party is driven by an ideology that sees abortion as a medical procedure like any other. They want the government to pay for it. They want more people to do them. They want to undo all the restrictions that pro-lifers have passed.

These are the people pro-lifers should trust to "reduce the number of abortions"?

I don't think so.

I believe that the fight for fetal rights has two fronts; the cultural front, where there is much work to do to educate people that unborn children are equal human beings; and the political front, to get a fetal rights agenda pushed forward. Of course the Republicans are imperfect on the fetal rights front, but there is no clear alternative, there is a critical mass of pro-lifers who can make a change, and the Democrats are worse. The "lesser of two evils" approach is acceptable if there is hope of the agenda progessing in the Republican party. Voting for a Democrat who will vote to lift abortion restrictions and conscience legislation is a wasted vote. It doesn't make any sense.

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