Tuesday, July 09, 2019

I Don't Want Fewer Abortions; I Want None

"You're not stopping abortions, you're just making abortion less safe." Well, let's talk about that, shall we? It's not safe for the baby, first of all. Secondly, the data shows plainly otherwise. I think a lot of left-of-center Christians would like to believe these comforting fictions about abortion, because they feel culturally alienated from right-of-center Christians, they dislike them acutely in many cases. I get that, I suppose. Let's obliquely refer to the ignorant, unfit elephant in the room. Ahem. Anyway, if what I propose to do does not include making abortion illegal at some point, I do not really want fewer abortions. I have to take my medicine at some point as a "bad" person denounced by popular talk show hosts as an extremist. Fine. If  we go through a spike in "unsafe" abortions after it's made illegal, that's tragic, but unavoidable. Just because people work around a good law and hurt themselves or others doesn't mean a law is bad. Nothing immoral is "safe" or can be "regulated". We can have a prudential conversation about how much force and effort should be applied against an activity that is illegal and immoral, but that's a different conversation.

I think our political system encourages us to think of government sanctions like the 10 Commandments for governments: "Government shalt not..." and that bleeds over to our thinking about morality. Politics, however, is public morality by definition.

Most people think of themselves as remarkably self-possessed, unaffected by civil sanctions, or the lack thereof, but obviously that's not the case. Most people associate legality with moral licitness, and rightly so. Can something perfectly licit be made illegal? Of course. I still happily believe in legislating morality. No one involved in politics should pretend otherwise.