I am personally Pro-Life but ambivalent about abortion laws: in an ideal society abortion would be as illegal as infanticide. Thing is, ideal societies do not exist. Politics is the art of the possible, and law is about punishing people.
It is politically impossible to ban abortion. The Roe v Wade decision was bad jurisprudence and the nation is still choking on it, but there is not much one can do about bad Supreme Court decisions. The other great Supreme Court decision that attempted to settle a moral debate by stripping an entire category of humans of all legal rights – the Dred Scott Decision – was only overturned by a civil war that killed 600,000 soldiers, and only an absolute fanatic could support that kind of violence.
Unlike other countries America still has not made peace with abortion, in large part because of the way it was imposed from above by an activist court operating on legal theories that experts today consider tenuous, if not ludicrous. But abortion is part of the landscape. We Americans make recourse to abortion so damn often as a back-up to negligent use of contraceptives, it could well be morally impossible to ban it: how many people are we proposing to incarcerate?
Frankly, not every evil has to be illegal. Not even something as evil as abortion, even though a legal regime where the unborn are routinely murdered cannot under any circumstances be called “just”. Sometimes we have to put up with evil and try to limit it best we can.
The wickedness of abortion is clear from the fact that it is entirely dressed up in euphemisms. A healthy human mind simply can’t contemplate it without revulsion. The recent videos secretly filming Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the prices for baby parts in language stripped all euphemism seems to have pricked the conscience of everyone but politicians, reporters and the abortionists themselves (three breeds, of course, that have no conscience).
The relative value of fetal hearts, livers and lungs displaces the euphemism that abortion is an operation on a woman’s body, and not the destruction of a separate body: they are, of course, not the lungs of the mother. Discussions of “more crunchy” techniques of dismembering a fetus vs “less crunchy” techniques (the later preferred because it preserves the precious organs) reminds us that this is indeed an act of violence. If you think about it, the entire entity known as Planned Parenthood is a corporate euphemism: if abortion were a respectable procedure it would be preformed by real doctors in real hospitals.
Euphemism corrupts the mind, which begins to confuse words with reality. Witness this witless article in the New Republic:
These are not “baby parts.” Whether a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, the tissue specimen is called “products of conception.”
This is magical thinking, as if by changing the words we change the reality. The author goes on to say that medical procedures are often gross and non-doctors are troubled by it, but so what?
Personally, I have no idea what she is talking about: a description of a heart surgery does not bother me, a description of a murder does. I kill and gut fish and game without a twitch of stomach or conscience and know exactly what it is to remove heart, lungs and liver from a small mammal. My disgust is not aesthetic, it is entirely moral; this is not an operation meant to cure, nor the butchering of a lesser animal, but the killing of a human.
The author, by the way, is an expert in the care of premature babies, which is what you call a “product of conception” that escaped the forceps. Her capacity for compartmentalization is astounding.
Planned Parenthood is in full damage control, producing as much spin as they can and demonizing the whistle-blowers whom I expect will be facing a lawsuit.
If proponents of abortion were honest, this is how they would react to the videos:
Yes, this is what abortion is you idiots. It is the killing of an unwanted baby. It is an act of violence, just like the execution of a criminal is an act of violence. Yes, we do it for money, we have labor and overhead; we need to eat and to send our kids to college. In fact, we do much of it with your money, since about half of our revenue comes from state governments who have economic interest in cutting down the number of poor and mostly black children on the welfare roles.
We say things like “women’s health” and “product of conception” out of deference to your bad conscience. The fact is, you, or at least most of you, want these little humans dead. What boyfriend among you would not rather pay $400 once to abort his daughter than be stuck with 18 years of child-support payments? What father among you would not give his teenage daughter the order to abort his grandson rather than see the money he set aside for her college education go to waste? What single career girl among you would not rather spend an afternoon in a slaughterhouse than take two years away from building her resume to care for some brat fathered by a man of lower social status?
Americans love babies, true, but you love money more. You love money so much you kill financially inconvenient babies. Admit it: you treat the unborn in ways you would not dare to treat a puppy. You sacrifice your infants to Mammon and we are the high-priests, and we will have our cut of the peace offering.
You have chosen this. Live with it.
These videos are not going to change anything.