In many respects, the “culture wars” primarily consist of struggles over language, in competitions between buzzwords. Consider the following commercial (and forgive me if you’ve already seen it on other blogs):
“Product of conception.” “Uterine contents.” “Clump of cells.” “Blob of tissue.” Simply calling the unborn baby a “fetus” is no longer sufficient because the word’s been unpacked: we all know now that “fetus” is a stage of development and not a different species. (Of course, this doesn’t stop certain pro-aborts for inserting words like “zygote”, “blastula” or “embryo” to achieve the same verbal illusion.) Euphemism, as The Bearded Sage of Patheos reminds us, is the first refuge of the person who refuses to look evil squarely in the eye.
In the same way, the defenders of abortion have shifted names to find new moral high ground to capture. At the time of Roe v. Wade, it was Privacy; eventually, it morphed into Reproductive Choice. Then it became Women’s Health, a buzzword of truly Orwellian provenance. Now, Kristi Burton Brown tells us, the new hill they want to be kings — er, rather, queens of has been dubbed Reproductive Justice.
Thank God for the Internet, for it allows us to tear apart pro-abort doublespeak as fast as they can coin it. In fact, I’m almost ashamed to write about it, as it’s such low-hanging fruit. Even better, “Reproductive Justice” affords us the opportunity to drill into a major inconsistency in the radical feminism which has long fueled the core of the pro-abort movement.
So what is the fundamental injustice that abortion is supposed to address and correct? How is pregnancy unjust?
As we discussed on January 22, the “choice” argument in most cases falls apart because 1) it tries to blur the difference between merely refusing to save, a defensible position in common law, and actively killing; and 2) it ignores the parents’ fundamental role in creating the pregnancy, a role which by its nature creates claims of protection and nurture. Whether the pregnancy is planned or desired or not, that fact by itself doesn’t alleviate the prior claim or the parents’ moral responsibility.
As far as “justice” goes, the argument fares no better. For the child’s existence is not of his own free will, even where forced sex is the consideration; a right to abort is a right to execute capital punishment without due process on a person whose existence breaks no laws (which also defeats the “self-defense” argument) and which is the result of the parents’ own actions. The travesty is worse when forced sex obtains, as the child is not the perpetrator and is in a sense as much a victim as his mother. In neither case can abortion be said to rectify a real injustice.
But is this the “real injustice” that pro-aborts claim abortion rectifies? Try talking to a hard-core pro-abort woman and counting all the times the word “misogynist” crops up with reference to the pro-life movement. To hear them talk (or see their writings), the pro-life movement consists mostly of men looking to keep women “at home, barefoot and pregnant” while they wander around society looking to score with women who aren’t pregnant; the few token women we have in our ranks are useful idiots suffering from false consciousness.
This is just one of many places where second-wave feminist ideology parts company with reality. If the feminist meta-narrative of sexual politics bore any resemblance to fact, you should expect men to outnumber women in the pro-life ranks by at least 3:2. But if you can find one scientific survey or poll where more women than men call themselves “pro-choice”, you’ve found the last dodo: historically, more men than women have supported abortion over the last forty years.
Why? Because abortion facilitates a certain kind of man’s use of women as masturbation tools. The man doesn’t have to suffer the physical and emotional consequences of abortion; to “emerging adult” men — “men in their twenties and thirties stuck in an Animal House mindset, not really caring about careers, content to spend long hours at the PlayStation with their buddies, drinking beer and downloading internet porn” — abortion is the perfect exit strategy for relieving themselves of a moral and fiscal responsibility. Impregnation only counts so far as it establishes virility; beyond sperm donation, though, actual participation in child-rearing is as scary and enchaining a thing as is “that M word” — marriage.
Yes, yes … men are pigs.
The injustice abortion is supposed to correct is the fact that men can physically walk away from a pregnancy while women can’t. On the physical level, to call this an injustice is like saying it’s unfair that Earth has only one moon and Mars two, or that pelicans can fly while penguins can’t — justice doesn’t obtain, since one can’t “deserve” to be either male or female, and the capacity to bear children isn’t a punishment but a biological necessity.
On the moral level, men don’t have a right to walk away. This is why some fathers do everything they can to push women into abortion, from emotional blackmail to holding women at gunpoint.[*] The physical ability has never successfully translated into a moral liberty; there are plenty of laws on state books detailing mothers' and children's rights against "deadbeat dads" and "absentee fathers". Even now, men are still expected to be fathers in more than just DNA.
Ironically, the institution second-wave feminists railed against as an instrument of slavery, marriage, was created and ordered in part to give women and children rights over the fathers, to make men accountable for their sexual behavior. By contrast, abortion and contraception have enabled a mindset in which, as Kim Vandapool argues, men have been able to use women for pleasure and then argue that they support women’s autonomy and sexual liberation. “Meanwhile the pro-life man is characterized as wanting to repress women. It is one of the more sickening ironies; the man who doesn’t objectify women and then support the killing of their offspring is the one holding women down.”
So if the pro-aborts want to make this about Reproductive Justice, they can bring it on. There’s simply no sane or reasonable concept of “justice” under which a right to abort can be rationalized. It’s just one more word-game in the seemingly endless string of buzzwords and euphemisms by which they try to hide the Great Western Atrocity.
[*] In a 2005 study, homicide was ranked as the second-leading cause of death among pregnant and post-partum women. (Chang, J., Berg, C. J., Saltzman, L. E., & Herndon, J. (2005, March). Homicide: A Leading Cause of Injury Deaths Among Pregnant and Postpartum Women in the United States, 1991-1999. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from American Journal of Public Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449204/)