Sunday, March 12, 2006

Abortion - another commentator without a clue [link]

Lionel Shriver writes in the Guardian Unlimited:

"...I have studied the eyes of the fanatics who regularly picket abortion clinics in the US and I do not see love of tiny unborn babies. I see hatred. "

Really? I personally know many of the leaders of the pro-life movement and, while I sometimes see anger and frustration, I don't see much actual hatred.

What is really going on here is the same culture war that has been raging in America since I was a kid - the same stand-off between the strait-laced, self-righteous toe-the-line types who wear hats to church, and the grubby, licentious long-hairs brandishing peace signs with whom I grew up. Both factions are still shouting at each other across the cultural divide, and these poor foetuses are just weapons flung like ripe tomatoes. The abortion issue in the US is not about babies. It's about control, about power, about who can tell whom what to do, about who despises whom and their disgusting lifestyle. In short, it's about grown-ups.

No, it is a fight to protect innocent life. It is a dispute about respect FOR life in light of the metaphysical uncertainty about when life and consciousness actually begin. Is there an immortal soul? If there is, when does it "attach" to one's body. If there is not, the moral situation is even worse. That "clump of cells" has only one chance for life and consciousness...if we allow it to be artificially terminated, we create a principle that life is disposable.

The term "pro-life" could not be less apt. (Enjoy the irony that many a "pro-lifer" also supports capital punishment.) Only the abortion rights movement has a genuinely positive agenda, the protection of a woman's right to make her own decision about an admittedly thorny moral issue whose implications are intimate.

More ad hominem attacks. Abortion is a positive agenda? Cutting up unborn children is positive? I think the liberal pro-choice movement is hypocritical: it is ok to terminate life or potential life of unborn innocents...but by ALL means protect the lives of violent, antisocial killers.

The emotional force driving pro-lifers is profoundly negative; alas, it is our negative emotions that usually pack the most punch. The anti-abortion movement is fired up with loathing - for permissive, Godless lefties who don't even get nervous when threatened with eternal damnation since they don't believe in it (which must be terribly frustrating).

Even more ad hominem attacks. I consistently see more hatred and loathing (and self righteousness) in the liberal pro-choicers. For sure, I have seen pro-lifers who go to far and make an easy-to-parody spectacle of themselves...but they are a small minority and the vast majority of pro-lifers reject their approach and their message. But the pro-choicers seem to revel in the excesses of their more extreme members.


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