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Abortion and Moral Good-An Illustration of Extremes

A post on the evangelical outpost alerted me to a minor tempest about abortion rights. It seems that Amanda Marcotte believes that abortion is a moral good, something to be celebrated.

Having recently encountered the notion that one trully cannot take the position I do, that abortion in the bulk of cases is to be abhorred, but that making it unlawful is not the best strategy for limiting it in our society, I find it interesting to see the same position taken by the other side. Marcotte says:

Also, saying that abortion is morally questionable, even if youÂ’re pro-choice, is a huge insult to the brave men and women who risk life and limb to perform them.

Which simply adds that to a whole list of other things I can’t possibly do, but do anyhow, such as supporting our troops, but opposing the war our political leaders have sent them to fight. As a moral choice, I think that there are a very few cases in which I could morally support the decision for someone to have an abortion, such as serious risk to the life of the mother. I don’t buy the notion that we can’t decide who lives or dies–we do that every day. We just like to pretend that we’re leaving it in God’s hands.

As an aside, this whole business of “leaving it in God’s hands” suggests to me the picture of someone in a hospital bed, with machines breathing for him, tubes feeding him, and various monitors attached to every part of his body. Then somebody says, “We can’t disconnect the tubes, we need to leave it in the hands of God.” Well if those tubes are sticking out of me, or if my life is being preserved on the off chance that I might come out of a coma some years later, pull the tubes and truly leave it in God’s hands. (And yes, the responsible parties, including my health-care surrogate are aware of my views.)

What I think is morally reprehensible is the notion that we can’t choose responsible behavior in the first place, i.e. that the decision to produce the baby in the first place is too difficult, yet it’s OK to make abortion an easy option. I don’t think it can be, or will be, an easy option no matter what you do. For various reasons, I want to keep it legal, but “legal” and “right” are not equivalent in my view.

Thus I’m angered by Marcotte’s rhetoric, but I simply see it as part of the continued insistence by people on both sides of this debate to leave the majority of the country out of the debate, or alternatively to define them into one camp or the other whether they fit there or not.

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