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The Killer at Seven Months

Jan
23
2006

Look, no one’s for lynching,” the speaker said to the citizens gathered around him in the town square. “Both sides can acknowledge that killing a black man is a bad thing. But can’t we work together to work to eliminate the root causes of lynching, while still acknowledging that it is sometimes a necessity, and ought not to face a legal penalty?”

Having dutifully followed Chris’ link to Sarah’s essay on abortion, I have but one request: can we please have an honest pro-abortion defense, just once? I do not mean to imply that the likes of Sarah are on all levels dishonest — she doubtless does believe in her imaginary ranks of impoverished women who must kill their children on grounds of physical want, and she doubtless was quite ready to sacrifice the many in her own womb so that the few and the strong could survive. That much is frank and true, and brava to her for stating it forthrightly. Know ye hence that the virtuous poor are extinct: we now hold that poverty extinguishes the need for virtue.

What is dishonest is the repetition of the sickening trope that choice is the surpassing good where a mother is concerned. In an era within living memory — that might be distant antiquity for the likes of Sarah — certain things were taken as intrinsic goods and surpassing values of their own: wartime patriotism; many children; a mother’s enduring defense and love for her own. The cultural left has abandoned all these things in favor of an ethos best summarized as do what thou wilt, or do what ye will. That these are word for word the putative first principles of the modern apings of paganism and worse is hardly coincidental. A mother’s first claim now is not to the fulfillment of her motherhood but to the ability to annihilate it. It is an immense power — the reversal of time’s arrow, the un-becoming, the satiation of the demands of circumstance and convenience — purchased only at the price of a life.

Such it is: a life, and whether human or not, whether a person or not, Sarah does not dare to say. She takes refuge behind the gauzy language of respect and abdication of responsibility that passes for relational dogma in sensitivity training and elementary schools: “[W]e must respect the fact that [mothers who choose abortion] understand their own situations and personal limitations better than we do….we must respect them as capable, decision-making adults.” It befits us to be generous here and declare this utter nonsense. It is nonsense because it makes no logical sense: we do not have to respect the decision to abort at all, nor assume that a particular person is ipso facto the single most sound judge of his or her circumstance. (The last, coming from the left, is deliciously hypocritical.) And it is nonsense because it makes no moral sense: here, we are a long way from asking, “Which now of these….was neighbour unto him?” The left, so ready to assert communalism in economic matters and in the upbringing of the children that survive the caprices of their parents, descends into mute abdication here, discovering at last, in the sacred right to kill the unborn, the notions of individual responsibility and personal accountability.

Thus we return to the need for an honest defense of the pro-abortion position. No further pretense that choice is the supreme value, when it appears to matter nowhere else. No more deference to the hypothetical wisdom of the hypothetical impoverished whose hypothetical circumstance in life argues strongly against the hypothetical existence of that wisdom. No further abdication of the basic purpose of law, conscience, and morality. If these things can say nothing about the existence, personhood, or the humanity of the unborn thing that is crushed and killed in an abortion, then what else may they say at all? What may they say of murder? What may they say of property? “But those cases are different,” responds the pro-abortion chorus, and indeed they are: but that is not the point. The point is simple enough — if we can declare one area free of the powers of law, conscience, and morality, on what grounds are others subject? (Surely the inevitable riposte will be made that law, conscience, and morality are here merely wholly determined by the sovereign individual: but the inevitable infinite extensibility of this makes a mockery of, and renders meaningless, those very concepts beyond that very sovereign.)

Tell us, Sarah, without evasion: Is an abortion the killing of a child? Is it the killing of a person? Is it the killing of a human? When does a child, person or human lose the inherent right to live for its own sake? Who determines that point? As you puzzle this out, I give you the salutary example of a more honest defender of “choice.” She is the wave of the future, and the logical end-state of the self-volitional regime: the mother who sloughs off her motherhood — that hideous burden! — holds forth her bloody hands to an approving crowd, and shrieks how very glad she is.

Share  Posted by Josh Trevino at 3:57 PM | Permalink

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