Saturday, March 8, 2014

A matter of trust

I don’t have any links on this because I’m going off of memory (little bits of which seem to be falling out with my hair). However, I’m almost certain you’ll have seen it, too: the latest manipulative trope from the pro-abortion camp, which essentially says, “If you can’t trust a woman to make good decisions concerning her body, how can you trust her with a child?”

The first time I heard it, I was reminded of a child psychologist I once listened to, who said that teenagers equate trust with love. When adolescents say, “You don’t trust me!”, they’re really saying, “You don’t love me!”, and they need to be taught that love and trust are not coterminous. Here, I think the same adolescent thought-process is the same: “If you don’t trust me with this decision, that means you don’t think of me as an equal” … again fallaciously presuming that only men are against abortion.

It’s not as formidable a challenge as pro-aborts may think. In fact, the short and simple answer is, “It’s something of the same way you can trust someone with a home loan but not with bank robbery.”

A loan is an action of trust, one that a person can either deliberately fail or fail for reasons beyond her control. In fact, the banking industry runs on trust; the lengths to which it must be regulated now simply speaks to the fact that, as our society grow larger, the social functions that insure trustworthiness are breaking down. In any event, I could just as well have said “savings account” with “home loan” and the principle would still be the same.

What is that principle? Just that there are actions or powers with which no one should be trusted. Ever.

To answer the question in the graphic: in practice there are things we “tolerate” because 1) enforcing laws against them have proven to be too impractical or intrusive; 2) the damage they do is relatively limited; and/or 3) they’re just not “bad enough” or “evil enough” to warrant police intervention. But to say we “tolerate” them is not to concede the relativist position that “all moral codes are created equal”; in fact, I have yet to meet the person who is consistent in applying a thoroughgoing relativism. Tolerance, in its original sense, doesn’t mean we celebrate X; it means we put up with X — and not always very gracefully. We don’t have to be morally indifferent to be tolerant; we just have to decide whether a particular act is worth the effort of proscribing.

If you don't get this, you're not an NCIS fan.
As the top graphic illustrates, the “mind your own business” argument assumes what has yet to be proven — that thinking something morally wrong is merely a matter of taste or personal preference. For instance, I can dislike broccoli without thinking it a tool of Satan (don’t push me on it); I could theoretically dislike sex without thinking it evil or dirty. (I wish I did dislike it; continence would be so much easier!) On the other hand, although every day I find myself adding someone else to the list of people I’d love to “Gibbs-slap”, I must concede — reluctantly — that violence isn’t an appropriate solution to mere stupidity.

Just for the sake of the argument, though, let’s not speak in terms of right and wrong, and confine ourselves to “good idea/bad idea”. Some things are just really bad ideas no matter who is doing or proposing them; and if you come away from them unscathed, you’re not justified for having done them … you’re damned lucky. They’re such bad ideas that we need to take them off the table as legitimate options, and apply various sanctions against those who do them to discourage recourse. For example, driving 50 miles an hour in a school zone when children are arriving or leaving: bad idea, even if Mario Andretti is behind the wheel. Again, some things no one should be trusted with.

It’s been known for decades that women who undergo “safe” direct abortions suffer higher risks of several health problems, such as synechia, hepatitis and perforation of the uterine wall (leading to both internal bleeding and peritonitis), not to mention death. Since the Kermit Gosnell story broke, more cases of unethical practices and unsanitary clinic conditions have come to light. But pro-abortion pressure to defeat laws requiring stricter health measures for abortion clinics demonstrate unequivocally that “women’s health” is a minor concern for them when compared to access; NARAL, Planned Parenthood and their supporters have been living in a state of denial the last forty-one years.

And then there’s the psychological trauma. Literally thousands of women have joined support groups and stepped forward to acknowledge the grief and guilt which has plagued their lives; others have committed suicide, while potentially thousands of others are walking around with undiagnosed cases of post-abortion syndrome.

(I can’t forget the woman I read of a couple years back: she’d written a beautiful piece admitting that she’d wept uncontrollably for several days after she terminated her first two pregnancies, and had some regrets after having two children after that. Less than two weeks later, she tweeted that she was glad her fifth pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage because she was contemplating suicide rather than the third abortion she was on her way to get. And she remains an abortion advocate! Just goes to show how powerful a mechanism denial is.)

Without even considering, then, the moral evil of terminating a child for the unwritten crime of being conceived inconveniently, a crime for which the child himself can’t be reasonably held responsible, it still remains that abortion is a bad idea. Calling it a “prudential decision” merely avoids the fact that choosing to have an abortion is almost always imprudent.[*]

Factor in the moral evil, and the conclusion is inescapable: abortion is bad enough an idea that it should be taken off the table of legitimate options. Women can’t be trusted with this option because no one should be trusted with the power of life or death over the defenseless.

A person who shows poor judgment in one area of life doesn’t necessarily show equally poor judgment in all areas of life. As well, the demands of parenthood often mature men and women, unearthing fertile ground for richer, more humane values to grow within them. Nevertheless, even allowing children to be raised by mothers with poor judgment skills is preferable to allowing children to be killed by women with poor judgment skills.

If there’s any one thing that shows men and women are equal, it shows in their ability to rationalize bad calls. Sometimes the community, the nation and/or the state has to step in and say, “No, this is never a good idea.” Even the decision to place certain decisions beyond the scrutiny of the community should be with the consent of the community; that’s why constitutional governments have amendment processes.

If it bothers you to think of it as imposing morality — and what is the law but an imposition of morality? — then think of it as imposing some common sense.

[*] There is debate about how necessary “medically necessary” direct abortions are. While those on the “pro” side argue relative risks of abortion versus carrying to term in various medical instances, those on the “anti” side contend that doctors recommend abortions because the demands of modern practice makes abortion the “path of least resistance”, an easy out. It’s still obvious to me that the priority of the right to life should make medical abortion the last resort, when no other options are available and death is an immediate threat.