Thursday, November 1, 2012

"I'm personally opposed to abortion, but..."

Matthew Schmitz at First Things has a nice essay on David Frum's suggestion that Republicans take a more conciliatory approach to the abortion controversy.


Schmitz:


Frum said that I, along with all pro-life advocates, should be willing to accept a regime where abortion is safe, legal and rare:
[Frum:] Yet here’s the point for Mr. Schmitz: the only way to get to a broader national consensus about the morality of abortion is to put an end to the culture war over abortion as symbolized by the demand for the punishment of abortion.


Schmitz replies:

Frum apparently believes that the pro-life movement is committed to putting vulnerable women in jail. But this simply is not the case. Many prominent pro-life advocates have made clear their opposition to any such punitive regime. Ramesh Ponnuru, for example, has proposed stripping people who commit abortions of medical licenses and imposing steep fines on people who commit them without licenses.
Pro-life advocacy generally does not entail advocating punishment for women who seek abortions. Women seeking abortion are, almost by definition, under great duress (they are seeking the death of their child), and law recognizes that culpability is greatly mitigated by such duress.

Punitive measures should be directed at abortionists, with license revocation (no physician who ever kills anyone intentionally should keep his license), heavy fines, and incarceration where appropriate.

The legal goal should be to shut down the abortion industry, not to punish women for their acts in a time of duress. The goal of the pro-life movement is protecting the vulnerable, and this protection should extend to mothers seeking abortion as well as to their innocent children. "Pro-life" means concern for the mother as well as for the child. Being pro-life means advocating for support of pregnant mothers and mothers of young children, and for medical care and for adoptive services.

Schmitz:
Frum goes on to claim that we only can achieve a pro-life consensus after pro-lifers stop insisting on banning the procedure. But this would undercut itself practically because of its logical incoherence. Why would we ever want abortion to be minimized unless we believed it to be a grave injustice?
There has long been an argument on the abortion issue-- made famous at a Notre Dame speech by former New York governor Mario Cuomo-- that one can be personally opposed to abortion yet not work diligently for its legal eradication.

That argument is transparently irrational. The only reason to oppose abortion is because it is the killing of an innocent human being. No one opposes abortion because it is messy or expensive.

Yet opposing an act that kills an innocent person inherently involves working to ban it. To personally oppose abortion yet oppose laws that ban it is as irrational as to personally oppose rape but to oppose laws against rape. For a person of conscience who opposes abortion, "choice" is no more rationally applied to abortion than it is to sexual assault. Abortion and rape intrinsically violate innocents, and the only moral response is to work for abolition under law.

The nature and degree of culpability of abortionist and mother is another matter, to be decided with mercy and care for people otherwise of good will who are caught up in this horror. But we in the pro-life movement must work to end the legal sanction for killing.

20 comments:

  1. I'm starting to suspect that you've had a couple of your rape-fetuses aborted and it pisses you off that your victims weren't forced to carry them to term.

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  2. So if I understand you correctly, those who intentionally take an innocent life while under stressful circumstances should not be punished?

    Boo

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  3. No worries ladies, especially you ladies of means, if Egnor gets his way you can simply travel to one of the many abortion clinics sure to pop up just across our borders. Its ok, we know you are under great duress.

    -KW

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    1. Abortion is homicide, but there are different degrees of culpability.

      Severe punishment of the woman seeking the abortion has never been the goal of the pro-life movement.

      Punishment of the abortionist is another matter.

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    2. So are there any other circumstances where someone of sound mind who willingly participates in a homicide should not be punished?

      Boo

      PS If you can't think of any feel free to cuss me out again.

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    3. So are there any other circumstances where someone of sound mind who willingly participates in a homicide should not be punished?

      Sure. The legal doctrine of necessity allows for someone to kill someone else under certain circumstances.

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    4. Homicide is killing a human being (homi and cide). War is homicide, self-defense killing is homicide, capital punishment is homicide,suicide is homicide, accidental killing is homicide, murder is homicide.

      Each type of killing involves a characteristic culpability of the person doing the killing.

      The law recognizes the different kinds of culpability, from none to very severe.

      Most pro-life advocates would not assign a high level of culpability to a woman who had an abortion-- she likely does not fully understand her act.

      For the abortionist making money from it, it is another matter.

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    5. Homicide is killing a human being (homi and cide).

      No, it isn't. Homicide, as the law defines it, is the unlawful killing of another person. Hence, war is not homicide. Capital punishment is not homicide. Accidental killing is not homicide.

      And since aborting a fetus isn't illegal (and it isn't killing a person), it isn't homicide either.

      Try again dipshit.

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    6. Illegal homicide is the unlawful killing of a person.

      Legal homicide is lawful killing.

      Homicide means killing a person, irrespective of legality.

      The real issue here is that you are trying to portray pro-live folks as vindictive brutes who want to imprison women for having abortions.

      You're out of luck. We don't advocate that. We do advocate punishing abortionists, and protecting both mothers and their children.

      We're not going to help you build your strawmen.

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    7. No, the real issue is the contradiction between your wanting to portray abortion as murder but not punish women who abort. If abortion is murder, then a woman who chooses to abort is a murderer, by definition. You try to weasel out of that self evident truth by infantilizing women as helpless and/or stupid creatures who don't realize that being pregnant means you have a baby inside you. This is because at the end of the day, the pro life movement is less about saving babies than about controlling women, as your comments have made abundantly clear.

      Boo

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    8. Egnor:

      Most pro-life advocates would not assign a high level of culpability to a woman who had an abortion-- she likely does not fully understand her act.

      The silly woman doesn't understand. Jesus, how much more mysoginist can you get? If you were honest (which you obviously aren't), you would demand the lawful penalty for first degree murder, including the death penalty.

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    9. Mike, if you simply took a moment to look up the definition of Homicide you would see that you are wrong. You can’t simply redefine word as necessary to make your argument correct.

      -KW

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  4. I believe it’s about more than controlling women. I think the pro-lifers can’t stand the thought of people enjoying promiscuous consequence free sex, because for them consequential sex is the only kind that can be enjoyed without guilt, shame, and the prospect of eternal damnation. The availability of birth control and abortion makes sinful sex to temptingly easy.

    Although considering Republican conventions draw twice the number of hookers compared to Democratic conventions, I would have to agree that controlling women is the primary reason for their position.

    -KW

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    1. In pro lifer's world, the menz still get to have their mistresses and prostitutes, so it's much more about control of women. If women can't control their reproductive health, then it's much easier to keep us in the house. Have you heard of those creepy psuedo-incestuous "Purity Balls"? The girls' dads literally get a key to their sexuality which they are supposed to give to their husbands when they hand over control of their women to them. The boy versions of Purity balls, meanwhile, are called Integrity Balls, wherein boys, instead of vowing to remain pure themselves, vow not to soil other men's property (aka women). The flip side of that message, of course, is that once a girl is soiled, it's open season.

      Boo

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    2. Right. You pro-aborts have such respect for women (Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Bob Menendez).

      You've killed about 25 million little girls since 1973, and your abortion ideology has left 100 million women "missing" in Asia.

      Abortion culture is responsible for the most horrendous femicide in history.

      Aborting children, and selectively girls, is tha anthesis of respect for women.

      Tell me, do you believe sex-selective abortion is moral? Should it be legal?

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    3. You don't give a shit about those women, Egnor. You're a hate-filled maniac.

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    4. Ad hominem isn't an argument, troy.

      Address the issues I've raised.

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    5. Asked and answered before, Egnor. IMO, sex-selective abortion should be illegal because it may bias the sex ratio, which may cause unhappiness in people unable to find a mate.

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    6. I can't speak for everyone else, Mr. Egnor, but for myself, you repeatedly commit the fallacy of assuming that since I criticize one position or group, I must belong to the opposite position or group. On abortion I think both sides have one very powerful argument along with a lot of bad ones. The general right to life of each human being is a very powerful argument, and the right to control one's own body is also a very powerful argument. I honestly don't know how to resolve those conflicting rights. But as your post and innumerable other examples make clear, the pro-life movement as a whole has as its real goal seeking to control female sexuality for its own sake. This can easily be seen in the inconsistency of their rhetoric. If abortion is murder, then those who willingly participate in that act are murderers. You continue to try and evade this simple truth by pretending it's somehow a strawman, which of course it is not. It would be a strawman if I had claimed this was your position. I am only pointing out the hypocrisy and inconsistency of it not being your position, however. Hence, it is not a strawman.

      Boo

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  5. Mike,
    You're spot on. Abolition is the answer. Once it happens in one region, it will catch on like a wildfire. Shame will be the fuel for some, genuine concern for life for others.

    I have to add the first comment on this thread is utterly disgusting dehumanizing filth.

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