- 11:46 am - Thu, Apr 11, 2013
- 7 notes
Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williams intoned, “A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh,” as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn’t make the cut.
You don’t have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” It’s about basic human rights.
- Kirsten Powers, on the media blackout of the Kermit Gosnell trial.
Bonus point: Gosnell is no longer an “isolated incident.”
FWIW, I support abortion rights. What I don’t support is the intolerable double standard in the media that treats killing children with guns as front-page news for months on end, but killing children with scissors as unworthy of notice.
- 1:54 pm - Sat, Nov 3, 2012
- 2 notes
Why Abortion Makes (Almost) Everyone Incoherent
I’ll take Ari Kohen’s word about the incoherence of this diavlog. But then, nearly everyone except pro-life absolutists (such as Richard Mourdock) is muddled on the subject. Perhaps this is because perfect consistency leads to some odious places, such as insisting that women who are sexually assaulted should be forced to carry resulting children to term.
I assume Kohenari does not want to suggest some human life does NOT have intrinsic moral worth. (Maybe I shouldn’t assume that!) Because if you start by saying some human life has moral worth and some doesn’t, then you have to ask which humans do and don’t have intrinsic worth, and at what point those who don’t have it might attain it, and whether they can lose it. That can lead down some dark avenues rather quickly.
Another muddle: Those who are pro-choice tend to be fairly liberal politically, and to accept the validity of compulsory social-welfare spending. But this seems incoherent, too. If Mary has no moral obligation to support a life she helped bring into the world, then why does she have a moral obligation to support a life she had nothing to do with creating? (See Judith Jarvis Thompson’s “A Defense of Abortion” for more along this line.)
For that matter, why does Mary have an obligation to support a child that she chooses to carry to term? If she can choose to abort its existence before birth, then why does she need to sustain its life after it is born?
Well, pro-choice advocates might say, she chose to bring the child into being, and that choice imposes a duty on her. But this is precisely the same argument that pro-lifers make about men and women who have sex: They made a choice that entailed duty-conferring consequences. Pro-lifers simply put the point at which the duty takes effect earlier in the reproductive cycle. I’m not sure I agree with them, but I’m also not sure that makes them heinous idiots.
Abortion-rights absolutists can avoid these questions to some extent by insisting unborn children are not fully human, and therefore are not rights-bearing — they are “products of conception” that have no more intrinsic value than a tumor. But few people would go so far as to say this is entirely the case up to the moment of birth and entirely not the case five seconds afterward. So, again, we’re arguing over where to draw lines, not whether to.
What’s more, the rhetoric of reproductive choice often belies this view, when choice advocates insist (as they frequently do) that abortion is a very difficult and personal decision. But abortion should not be a difficult decision at all, unless there is something about the fetus that makes it somehow more intrinsically precious than other bits of flesh. People do not agonize over whether to have their tonsils out.
I’m not offering any answers. I support legal abortion — but I can see why many people don’t.
- 3:29 pm - Fri, Sep 14, 2012
- 7 notes
Remember when conservatives opposed punishing small businesses with pointless rules? (Remember when liberals didn’t think that ever actually happened?)
- 9:21 am - Tue, Jun 19, 2012
- 1 note
Whatever Happened to “Keep Your Laws Off My Body”?
First New York, now Cambridge:
Following in the footsteps of New York City, Cambridge is considering limiting the size of sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages in city restaurants.
Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis proposed the idea at the council’s meeting Monday night, saying she brought the idea forward because of the health risks caused by consuming too much soda.
City Councilor Minka vanBeuzekom said she supports the idea of limiting the size of sodas because of the health concerns.
“It’s a very good thing to try and pursue, and in my opinion to ban, but it won’t be easy,” she said.
Five bucks says Cambridge’s officials are uniformly pro-choice when it comes to abortion. And good for them if they are.
So what makes them think they have any business controlling what other people do with their bodies?
- 7:32 am - Fri, Mar 30, 2012
What Do Ultrasounds, Contraception, and the ACA Have in Common?
Answer in today’s column, “Survey Says: Nobody Likes a Bully.”
- 10:46 am - Thu, Mar 1, 2012
A group of British ethicists says infanticide should not be morally troubling because even after birth babies are not really people.
Consider this the flip side of the debate over personhood bills here in the U.S.