Okay, now that I’ve listened to both of the commentaries (for good measure, I listened to the pro-abort commentary a second time), I am free to rant. First, I appreciate that NPR presented a balanced look at the issue. Second, to those of you who are reading this who are more “progressive” than I: please listen to the anti-abort commentary for me and give me your thoughts. Was loaded language used? It seemed to me to be much less filled with rhetorical hyperbole than the pro-abort commentary, but obviously my skepticism of the anti-abort commentator’s position is somewhat less than it was with the other. You can listen to the anti-abort commentary here (at least for a little while). The pro-abort commentary can be found here.
Third, the pro-abort commentator happens to hail from my hometown. How quaint! I bet you didn’t know that I grew up a Democrat, or that Goshen is a hotbed of leftist activism. But it is. I personally know a lot of Nader supporters, and I’m not joking. I’m kind of a black sheep in my family, politically speaking.
My biggest problem with the pro-abort position is that it has insinuated itself into the language of liberality (in the classical sense of the word liberal — in case you’re not a regular reader, please note that whenever I use the word liberal, I mean it in its classical sense. The Libertarian Party is probably the political entity that most embodies the values that a classic liberal held in the early 20th century. If I am referring to the political left, I use the word leftist. But I digress.) Ahem. Anyways, a line from the commentary (I think I’ve got it quoted correctly) that really sticks in my craw goes like this:
“We can’t claim to be a free society if half of us aren’t free to make our own choices.”
Clearly, this person has a warped view of freedom. A free society cannot function if there aren’t clear rules about every person’s rights. Unfortunately, the Roe v. Wade decision in effect ended the debate about the rights of the unborn before it really began. But I am getting off topic again. My choices are limited in many respects because I live in a society that is governed by law. Restriction of choice is not indicative of an oppressive society; it is, in many issues, a necessary ingredient for a free society.
While legally the debate over personhood is (for the moment) over, ethically and scientifically it has yet to be decided. Recent court decisions have added some doubt to the Roe v. Wade decision by granting personhood to unborn victims of crimes (if their parents want the children to be born). But rational individuals can only hope such a subjective legal view of unborn children’s personhood will not long withstand the scrutiny of a rational society. Sooner or later, our country will have to decide once and for all whether or not infanticide is a protected ritual, or an illegal practice. In the meantime, let’s try not to exaggerate the magnitude of the freedom that would be restricted were infanticide in all forms to be outlawed. For the vast majority of women who choose to have an abortion, the pregnancy was the result of consensual intercourse. And of those, an even larger percentage (about 97%) of abortions are entirely elective, as in not performed to protect the life of the mother.
I’m going to be in the Haute tomorrow, so I need to catch some shuteye. Have a nice night.