Alas has a nice chart showing which of the policies of the anti-choice activists are consistent with “abortion is wrong because it is murder” and which are consistent with “abortion is wrong because women shouldn’t be allowed to have sex without consequences.” Guess what? Almost all the policy positions in question are more consistent with the latter than with the former, including:
Abortion bans which provide exceptions for rape and incest.
Advocating less generous welfare for poor single mothers.
Opposing a vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV).
Morally condemning extremists who bomb abortion clinics.
Alas was inspired by Molly, who has “Twenty Questions” for people who want to make abortion illegal:
1) Should women who abort get life sentences in prison and/or the death penalty?
2) If a woman’s husband knows she is aborting, should he be charged as an accessory to murder?
3) How about her friends who know?
4) Should abortion doctors receive life sentences in prison and/or the death penalty?
12) If an electric company has a power failure which cuts power to a fertility clinic, thawing embryos and rendering them unusable, should they be liable for mass murder?
17) Should a person with 15 frozen embryos in storage be required to carry each embryo as soon as possible?
18) If I had 15 embryos in storage, should I be able to claim them as dependents on my tax paperwork?
20) Should one in three American women be imprisoned or sentenced to death?
In the responses to this and another post, she received evidence of something she had long suspected to be true: criminalization of abortion is advocated not for the sake of the life of the fetus, but for the sake of forcing women to “take responsibility” for having sex by not allowing her to avoid the negative consequences that might result from sex.
If it was really about life, forced organ donation would be mandatory for living people who had organ matches with other living people. If it was really about life, every single anti-abortion person would have said that 1/3 of American women (that’s the number who’ve had abortions, folks -- and it’s worth noting that in the early 20th century this proportion was higher, not lower) are murderers who should be given the penalty for premeditated murder.
But what I did see, over and over, were people saying that there should be “responsibility.” That when you have sex, you know there is a finite chance it will result in pregnancy. That was the difference most people complained about in the forced organ donation questions -- that in one case, you are responsible for a life.
Guess what that means? It means it’s NOT ABOUT LIFE. If abortions should be illegal but there should not be forced marrow donations from living donors, the distinction isn’t one of life, it’s one of responsibility.
Of course, the whole “take responsibility” argument is also nonsense because people never, or almost never, use it in other circumstances. We all know that you’re safer if you wear a seat belt while in a car, but we don’t deny medical treatment to someone who is injured after not wearing a seat belt, do we? We don’t say “you knew that you could be injured if you didn’t wear your seat belt, so just take responsibility for your choices and bleed.”
Why don’t we use this line of argument generally? Because “taking responsibility” has never been an objection to trying to avoid foreseeable consequences to our actions. Everything we do carries risks of consequences which we’d rather not deal with. Most are small; some are large. In all cases, we take basic precautions to avoid them. If the negative consequence happen anyway, we take steps to deal with them. Does this mean that we aren’t taking responsibility? Of course not — that’s absurd.
But that's just what anti-choice activists appear to be arguing in the context of abortion.
Christian Right & Christian Nationalism:
Christian Right & Abortion: