Legalizing Abortion was Never About the Good of the Woman

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fetus 10weeks

fetus 10weeks (Photo credit: drsuparna)

The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell has raised issues concerning the safety and “proper operation” of abortion clinics. Yet the press, with a few exceptions, is strangely silent. The press is often eager to do undercover investigations in health care facilities suspected of mistreating patients, but the same press is quick to condemn similar undercover operations by pro-life advocates in abortion clinics. These two instances of hypocrisy reveal the abortion lobby for the evil that it is. Many of them never cared about the health of the woman as they claimed.

During the 1960s debate that paved the way for the tragic Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, abortion advocates constantly harped about “back alley abortions” and claimed to be concerned about the health of women getting unsafe abortions. They claimed that legal clinics would allow “safe abortions” to take place. After abortion was legalized and became so rampant, the abortion lobby behaved as a set of religious believers, with abortion advocacy becoming canon law in the Democratic Party and abortion itself becoming a liberal sacrament, “the body and the blood.” When there are well-documented claims of safety violations or excessive patient deaths (other than the children murdered) at abortion clinics, the left either ignores or downplays them and tends not to openly advocate aggressive prosecution of offending “doctors.” Even though women die in unsafe clinics, abortion advocates would rather stifle anything that could be used to criticize their evil sacrament than to protect the health of the women about whom they claim to care.

Abortion rights were always about selfishness. The rabid individualism of American society, once it became unfettered from religion, was bound to allow the evil of abortion to be legalized. Couples could then have sex freely, and if birth control failed, abortion was seen as an alternative to allow promiscuity to continue. It is no surprise that a high percentage of abortion supporters are young men aged 18-35. They want to have sex with women without any consequences, and if the woman goes through an abortion, they don’t care. If feminists really cared about male exploitation of women, they would care about the way abortion supports men sexually using women. But most feminists (outside “Feminists for Life“) rabidly support abortion.

Abortion is also about power–power over the most vulnerable members of society. If these individuals “get in our way,” we can get rid of them. That is the real agenda behind many, and I would say most, abortion supporters–power over people who interfere with one’s selfish, extreme individualistic, aims. Even Europe, with its collapsing tomb of Christian belief, has fewer abortions per capita than the United States, and even many secular Europeans (outside the UK) are shocked at the high abortion rate in the United States.

Let’s label abortion for what it is–the murder of innocent human life for our “convenience.” Abortion advocates should stop pretending to care about the health and well-being of the woman who gets an abortion. They are hiding their real agenda in a cloak of lies.

The United States and “Evil Enemy States”

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Deutsch: Philip George Zimbardo in Warschau, P...

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There has always been a strand of Puritanism in American thought that survives in part as a Manichean division between good and evil. Rather than seeing the United States as a mixture of good and evil, many Americans see it as “the good guy” in the world with no major faults. Individuals who disagree are labeled as “unpatriotic,” told to “go to Russia,” or are called “America-haters.” Although I do not deny that there are individuals and groups of people who hate their country, not every critic of American practices hates the United States. Nor is someone who points out that there is much good in countries considered to be enemies of the United States, such as Iran. Many Americans want an overpowering, evil enemy state because many Americans are more Manichean, believing in sharp lines between good and evil, than they are Christian. Christianity recognizes that no being created by God is totally evil–traditionally, since evil is a lack of good, and thus a lack of being, a totally evil being could not exist. If Americans of all stripes are honest with themselves, they will see that they are capable of great evil. Philip Zimbardo, the Stanford psychologist who ran the Stanford Prison Experiment, showed how “good” people can turn evil when they have great power (as prison guards) over others (in this case, students who played the “prisoner” role). He notes the power of situational factors that can lead to a good person torturing and even killing innocent human beings.

Reinhold Niebuhr recognized that groups are capable of great evil just as individuals are, and Zimbardo’s work showed this to be the case. Nation-states are groups of people, and in any group unethical practices can arise that lead to people doing things that are evil under group pressure. No nation is immune to this. Was the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” as President Reagan affirmed? I would say “Yes,” with the qualification that there was good even in the old Soviet Union, and evil in the United States of America. In the War between the States, Generals Sherman and Sheridan engaged in the first modern war (with Lincoln’s endorsement)–both these generals and President Lincoln believed that war should be engaged against the civilian population. The brutality with which federal troops put down the anti-draft riots in New York as well as Sherman’s March to the Sea are evidence of the results. The United States Army was brutal in the Philippines war in the early part of the twentieth century, mowing down men, women, and children. The United States Army Air Corps engaged in the saturation bombing of Tokyo in March 1945, and of course Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs. President Roosevelt placed thousands of Japanese-American citizens in internment camps. In the Vietnam War, the United States dropped more tonnage of bombs than it did in the whole of World War II. The atrocities and torture in Iraq and Afghanistan (and in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba) are well known–torture has not been totally eschewed as the official policy of the United States, and the U.S. still sends prisoners to other countries to be tortured. Civil liberties, from the genocide of the American Indians to the mistreatment of the Irish, the Chinese, and of African-Americans, have not been uniformly honored in the United States. Does this mean the United States is an evil country? I do not think it is as evil as a totalitarian society such as the old Soviet Union or China under Chairman Mao, but it does mean that the notion of the United States as the paragon of virtue and (during the Cold War) the Soviet Union as the epitome of evil is a Manichean view that does not reflect the good and evil mixture found in all nation-states.

President George W. Bush held a simplistic, Manichean view of the world that many Americans eagerly followed. Saddam’s Iraq was an evil state, and the good United States was obligated to attack the evil state (at first for the alleged but missing “weapons of mass destruction” and then to “save the Iraqi people from Saddam”). Americans’ hubris was expanded by its view that it was the hero country liberating the Iraqi people from a Satanic dictator. Now Iran is the enemy, and the Neoconservative war cries are loud–and Americans are buying into the new lie as well. Yes, Iran’s president holds an evil position in his denial of the Holocaust. Nothing can justify his views, nor his support of the radical religious groups that have held the country hostage since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. However, Iran also has a working democracy, unlike many other states in the region, including states the United States supports. Israel has a vital interest in what Iraq does, and if Israel wants to defend its vital interests militarily, that is Israel’s task, not that of the United States. However, the Neoconservatives are appealing to American Manicheanism and demonizing Iran as the new “evil empire.” Hopefully Americans will see that all people are “fallen,” as well as all nation-states, and any positing of “We good, they bad” is misleading and leads to unnecessary wars and bad foreign policy decisions.

Majoring in Minors; Minoring in Majors

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Warning: Politician Ahead!!!

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A few years ago I heard a Democratic congressman from a district adjoining mine speak. He told a story of two men having a conversation. One man admitted he liked to drive ten miles an hour above the speed limit. This man was well-respected in the community and a churchgoer. The other man then said, “I just lost all respect for you. How can I have any respect for a man who is a hypocrite?”

What is ironic about the congressman’s story is that he is a strong supporter of abortion. In his political campaigns he makes a great deal of his attending church and his religiosity. Yet he supports the de facto (if not de jure) unlimited right of women to murder their unborn children.

The irony is that the congressman would call someone who drives ten miles an hour above the speed limit a “hypocrite,” yet he does not recognize his own hypocrisy in supporting abortion. Now if he did not claim to be a Christian; for example, if he were an atheist, I could respect him. But since he claims Christian identity and supports what is, in effect, murder, I cannot have such respect. He majors in minors (the venial sin of breaking the speed limit) and minors in majors (the mortal sin of abortion). Yes, there are liberal Protestants and liberal Roman Catholics who support abortion–but I have infinitely more respect for an atheist or agnostic than I do for a theologically liberal Roman Catholic or Protestant. The atheist or agnostic, at least, is honest in what he claims to be.

The situation in secularized Western Europe is better in a way, since the Christians there (other than some of the state-supported clergy) take their religion seriously. But in the United States, which is technically the most Christian country in the industrialized world, it is popular in some areas of the country to use religion as a means to power. Very few Southern politicians, outside of liberal urban districts, would be elected if they were openly irreligious. So they flaunt their religious identity and condemn hypocrisy–and they themselves exemplify hypocrisy in their anti-Christian political stances. They ought to be ashamed.