Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Abortion Double-Speak

I’ve gone through a writing dry spell that has lasted about a year now. I have just not been motivated to write anything. I need a spark...some event that triggers the need to put my ideas down in print. Usually I see something in my own life, perhaps a conversation or a family situation, that I find compelling or instructive and it gets the creative juices flowing. I guess I just haven’t had any of those moments...or perhaps I’ve just not been paying attention. (Or maybe I’ve been a little lazy, too.)

Internet debates are a good source for blog material, and I’ve recently engaged in a few discussions that might make a post or two. Until I get the time and energy to write something more substantial, I thought I would share a post from a friend of mine. He recently engaged in a heated online debate concerning abortion. His primary objective was to challenge the often repeated slogan:

"Just because you support a woman's right to choose doesn't mean you are pro-abortion."

Think about that. You support the right to abortion...yet you oppose abortion?

As my friend pointed out, no other crime against humanity is afforded such deference. No other evil perpetrated by mankind is protected with such double-speak. Do morally sound people support a man's "right to choose rape," or someone's "right to drive while intoxicated"? No, because if you support a person's right to choose these things, then you implicitly condone the consequences of that choice. By supporting a woman's right to choose abortion, you are giving support to abortion itself.
It would be illogical for me to claim on the one hand that I support everyone's right to drink a case of beer and then get behind the wheel of a car, while at the same time claim that I am opposed to drunk driving...the one logically leads to the other. So too with abortion. One cannot be both pro-choice and anti-abortion. Perhaps a parallel can be drawn using the current national debate over gun control. Imagine a paraphrase of our slogan above:

"Just because you support the Second Amendment doesn't mean you want people to own guns."

Logically, that makes no sense. The Second Amendment ensures the right to keep and bear arms. By supporting that right, you must accept the fact that people will indeed act on that right. You cannot be in favor of the right to own guns and at the same time be opposed to actual ownership. And that's the core fallacy of the abortion slogan we read above: supporting a person's choice to do something implies your support of them actually acting on that choice.

Now there is a subtle distinction that needs to be made here. Some pro-abortonists would modify the above slogan and say the following:

“I support a woman’s right to choose, but I would never make that choice myself.”

This, I think is a plausible statement. Though I vehemently disagree with it’s sentiment, it is at least a logical position to take. This would be akin to saying, “I support the Second Amendment, but I could never own a gun myself.”

But let’s be clear. The original slogan we are addressing here does not leave such wiggle room. There are pro-choice advocates who try to play both sides of the political fence by “publicly supporting” but “privately opposing” abortion. Sadly many Catholic politicians are among those who do this. They claim to support the right to choose, while at the same time claiming that they personally see abortion as murder. They claim to agree with the Church’s teaching that abortion is intrinsically evil, while also vocally (and with the force of law) supporting a woman’s “right” to commit this evil. This confused morality is a product of relativism. It is a symptom of the “dictatorship of relativism” about which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI warned us.

The reason Catholics (and other supposedly pro-life persons) use this verbal trickery (being “opposed to” and “in favor of” abortion at the same time), is to appear tolerant and understanding toward those who disagree. But the cold, hard reality is that when this principle is put into practice the most hedonistic, amoral code wins the day. By accepting the right to choose evil, we accept the evil that results. Your “tolerance” is a passive acceptance of abortion. Substitute the word “rape” for “abortion” and the picture becomes clear.

“Just because you support a man's right to choose rape doesn't mean you are pro-rape."

Uuuh...well, yes it does! It most emphatically does! And this is where my friend got into a heated debate. He pulled back the curtain and exposed the lie for what it is. Kudos to him. It sparked a lively debate and it gave him a great blog post. You check out the post here.

I need a little spark like that. I need to go stir up some trouble...or maybe just open my eyes and stop being lazy. Maybe we all should.


  1. Good Morning Thomas,
    Here is a thought. What are the distinctions between what is immoral vs. what is illegal? I don’t like the gun analogy much because owning a gun is not immoral per Catholic teaching. Many are surprised to learn that fornication and artificial contraception ARE gravely immoral per Catholic teaching, but should they also be illegal? Could one logically say "Just because you support legal contraception doesn't mean you want people to contracept" or "Just because you support legal fornication doesn't mean you want people to formicate"?

    I believe the distinction is that abortion violates the most fundamental human right. Without the right to be alive, no other rights exist. We cannot make ALL mortal sin illegal, but we must stand for the legal protection of all human life.

  2. I get what you're saying. That's a good point.

    I think you are correct in saying that abortion is distinct from fornication in that abortion violates a fundamental right to life. Fornication between two consenting adults is certainly a mortal sin (as you point out), but fornication does not take away the right of another person (as abortion does the right to life). Perhaps we could view "gun ownership" as part of a fundamental right to self protection or self preservation. The Church does say that we have a right to self defense and the protection of our loved ones. In that context, a "right to self protection" deserves to be upheld by law just as the "right to life" does. Does that make sense?

    I agree that not all mortal sins can be outlawed, but certainly mortal sins that involve the violation of others' rights should be legally reigned in. Perhaps in this case, the right to bear arms is more closely related to the right to life for that reason. The two concepts of "life" and "protection of life" are fair issues to debate legally. But fornication is not really a matter for legal debate as it pertains to personal/private choice.

  3. (I do think the rape analogy works well though, without the complications that you point out. Rape and abortion are both abhorrent mortal sins and are rightly outlawed.)