Friday, April 24, 2009


Most leftists support the right to an abortion, that is not a position that I have embrace, because while I lean in that direction I remain essentially without an opinion on the abortion question. Perhaps because it is an issue that has been decided by the courts, not one that can be addressed through normal political channels, perhaps because there are more pressing issues to focus on, but perhaps also because of much of the anti-abortion camp I have been content to stay on the sidelines of this issue. It would be wrong to include every opponent of abortion in this grouping, there are certainly many people, such as the Dalia Lama, who oppose legalized abortions out of sincere beliefs and genuine compassion, but in America where abortion has become a flashpoint in the cultural wars the anti-abortion crowd has been defined by bigotry and close mindedness. A cause is not wrong because an unsavory group found it in their interest to embrace, bigots routinely bemoan the human rights abuses of their ideological enemies and that certainly doesn't tarnish the cause of human rights, but the abortion debate in the U.S explains much about right wing politics.

Ending legalized abortions is a perennial priority of right wing politicians, an ironic one since the courts have repeatedly ruled it a Constitutional rights, but an issue that never fails to win applause and votes from the millions of religious fundamentalists who form the backbone of the Republican party. For politicians the social issues of the cultural wars might be a convenient way to shift the focus of politics away from actual policy and towards nominal non-issues, but for the mass movement they are a genuine priority. Abortion is the most important issue for many on the right; it's about saving human lives we are told.

Unfortunately the right never seems to be concerned with human life when it does not mean an opportunity for them to thump their Bibles or express their cultural identity. Even, if for the sake of argument, one is to adopt their worldview that life begins at conception their efforts have produced few positive results. For a genuine pro-life activist one would think hunger would be the highest priority, both because at 30,000 deaths every day it takes far more life than abortion and also because it could be addressed with minimal cost and effort by a mass movement in the developed world, but it is not. Hunger prevention is routinely branded by many on the right as a pet project of the bleeding heart leftists. But not abortion, that is about saving lives. Actually, that's not fair, almost everyone acknowledges hunger is an enormous problem, but only if it doesn't require any sacrifice on their part. It does not matter if babies are born into the world to die from hunger, there can be no abortion. If the pro-life movement could devote its tremendous resources to protecting born as well as unborn life then perhaps their arguments could be respected. If they could join the left in opposing the human rights abuses they have in the past cheered they could be taken seriously. If pro-life meant defense of life and not just an opportunity for an expression of political identity then their arguments could be respected. If they did not use the abortion issue to demonize everyone they disagreed with elsewhere then their arguments could be respected. But, as it stands the movement that pro-life activism is the emblazonment of destroys any hope for that position to be taken seriously.


Duncan said...

Abortion is a states-rights issue. It is not a protected and enumerated right protected by the Constitution, despite what the Supreme Court "divined" out of thin air. Roe v. Wade was bad law, and everyone knows it. I personally find Abortion abhorrent, and your arguments for it sound like you'd support euthanasia for the elderly as well. That being said, I think each state gets to decide whether abortion is legal in its borders or not, much like gay marriage. If you and those who support abortion want it legalized, in the correct way per our Constitution, then either push for it in the legislature of individual states, or push for a constitutional amendment at the federal level.

Ofcourse, the left won't do that. It takes WAAAAAAY too much work and is likely to fail. Much better to use the court system to have it imposed by judicial fiat instead.

Young Activist said...

I never made an argument for or against abortion, go back and read the post, specifically the first paragraph it was hypocrisy, not abortion. How can my "arguments" for abortion sound like I'd "support euthanasia for the elderly as well" when I never made any arguments for abortion. Perhaps it would be beneficial to slow down and actually consider the ideas prevented before attacking them. Although it might be convenient for the ideologue to believe so not everything is black and white.