I recently posted a link to a short essay I wrote explaining why I reject leftism. It was rather broad in scope and abstract in content, but now I have a more particular and concrete example to reinforce what I originally wrote. It pertains to news of Hillary Clinton’s recently declared opposition to “sex selective abortion” – that is, abortion that specifically targets the female unborn.
The moral confusion that reigns on the secular left and even significant parts of the pro-choice religious left never ceases to amaze me, though by now, it really ought to. For decades the overwhelming majority of secular liberals have supported abortion rights in the name of women and their “liberation”, their social advancement. As it turns out, however, in countries such as China, India, and even the United States, the majority of aborted “fetuses” are female. There are both practical economic and cultural reasons for sex selective abortion, but those aren’t really relevant here.
The glaringly obvious point is that there is a terrible contradiction at the heart of modern feminism, between unconditional support for abortion rights and a desire to stop the extinction of women through female abortion and infanticide. In the irony of ironies, a “woman’s right to choose” more often than not means a choice not to bear a girl that will become a woman. The social consequences of sex selective abortions in countries such as China will be devastating as the male population vastly out-numbers the female population, reducing the pool of potential wives and increasing the number of alienated and frustrated bachelors.
But these social consequences, in my view, still pale in comparison to the moral implications of this dilemma. Another article notes that “[a]ccording to 2006 Zogby/USA Today poll, 86% [of Americans] would like to see [sex selective abortion] banned.” Yet nowhere near 86% of Americans want to see abortion in general banned. So, as it turns out, “choice” alone is not the most important thing to some abortion advocates and, it would seem, most abortion supporters, who are conspiring to, or desire to see, the banning of a choice that millions of women make each year. They have no problem whatsoever with telling a woman “what she can do with her body”, of wrapping around and squeezing female ovaries with the secular equivalent of their rosaries (in a parody of that stupid old slogan), of imposing themselves on this most “personal” decision. And they will do this all while continuing to badmouth Christianity and the Catholic Church.
What it was really all about, from the beginning, was the destruction of the family and the “liberation” of both men and women from familial and parental obligations, which were seen as an obstacle to social advancement and, more nebulously, “self-fulfillment”. But now this utter devaluation and disregard for human life in the pursuit of self-interest, this lowest and most contemptible form of moral calculus has finally caught up to the abortion rights movement in a way that displeases them. If I didn’t understand where the impetus for this movement came from in the first place, I might have hope that it would result in a pro-life renaissance, a realization that life, after all, is a sacred and precious thing towards which society and individuals have obligations to protect and nurture, that cannot be commodified and thrown out with the garbage as soon as it is inconvenient. Some in the movement may well come around to this point of view after experiencing these levels of confusion and hypocrisy.
The majority, though, if the polls are any indication, will continue to wallow in that confusion, hurling endless abuse at the pro-life movement for wanting to take away a woman’s choice while conspiring to do the same on their own terms.
It is actually painful and hurtful to see so many “pro-choice” advocates come so close to recognizing the value and sanctity of life, only to slip back into the self-centered darkness that alone prevents a person from understanding the immorality of abortion. Darkness is what they literally propose, for sex selective abortion bans can only exist through the banning of methods that allow couples to know the sex of their child during pregnancy. A couple that doesn’t know what their babies’ sex is can get an abortion without being guilty of “sex selection”.
On a practical level the technology that detects the sex of a baby is common enough now to exist even in the average third world clinic, and so I imagine a new generation of radical rebels, in spirit of the sexual revolution that the aging boomers brought about, will go “underground” to discover the sex of their child. And like the boomers and hippies and radicals of yesterday who lauded the abortion doctors of old as “heroes” for laboring under illegal conditions so that women could exercise the sacred right to “choose”, this new generation will praise as heroes those doctors who provide illegal knowledge of the sex of their unborn children so that they can decide whether or not they are trash to be disposed of (females) or commodities to be prized (males).
Then they will know something of what it is like to be the boring old fuddy-duddies that insist that, after all, individual choice is not sovereign where there are great moral and social interests at stake, that there are things in life more important than gratification and social and economic mobility and advancement, that the value of human life is not a thing to be subjectively decided by mothers but an objective quality, that there comes a time when parents must become adults so that they can raise children, instead of continuing to behave like children themselves. And maybe one or two of them will have that “ah-ha” moment and join Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Nat Hentoff, Norma McCorvey, and others in the camp of pro-life converts.
One can hope and pray.