Thursday, September 27, 2007

Looking at the Abortion Debate

Nicholas Frankovich has a good piece looking at some common arguments and assumptions of the abortion debate and examines it in a historical context.

From the piece:
Most people who support abortion rights want to be morally serious partisans in the world-historical contest between good and evil, or if they object to what they regard as the theological provenance of the terms good and evil, they may prefer to say justice and injustice. The important thing is that they subscribe to the Golden Rule. If you ask them, they will tell you, because the logic of their position requires them to say this, that they affirm their parents’ right to have aborted them. They may swallow that point and pass over it hastily or try to make light of it, because it’s awkward, but it is a necessary implication of their belief, and if you press them on it they will, to their credit, duly acknowledge it. It’s like a gene that is present from the moment of conception but not fully expressed until decades later. It was introduced into the deepest recesses of their minds at the moment of their decision to be pro-choice. And it is likely to have remained hidden away there until someone engaged them in a bit of Socratic dialogue and exposed to them the suicidal aspect of their moral reasoning.

And he later touches on the importance of controlling language in the debate:
I mean the official insistence on delicate language rules. Killing became evacuation, special treatment, the radical solution, the final solution. The gassing of the mentally ill was construed as benevolence, while the gassing of Jews was felt to indicate the regime’s capacity for moral adjustment and refinement—the prevailing method in earlier years had been to round people up and shoot them in the head. Now the stress was on the putatively humane nature of the new and improved method, gassing, a modern medical advance issuing from the scientific progress that distinguished northern Europe.

Read the whole thing here.


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