Monday, May 14, 2007

Hypocrisy on abortion

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen, but I'd like to see a questioner at one of these so-called debates among Republican presidential hopefuls dig beyond the surface with regard to the pro-life posturing by some of the candidates.

For example, Mitt Romney, who used to be pro-choice, now says he's against abortion except in cases of rape or incest. I don't understand that.

If abortion is immoral because it's the taking of innocent life, how does the morality change in a case of rape or incest? Is the fetus in such a case somehow not innocent?

The hypocrisy on that point arises from purely political considerations. Most people shutter at the thought of a woman having to bring a fetus to full-term in a case of rape or incest. And most politicians are loathe to buck majority sentiment on the matter. So much for the sincerity of their pro-life positions.

Another question: If a fetus is a person, and abortion is the unwarranted killing of that innocent person, why don't any of the pro-life candidates favor a law under which the mother would be charged with murder?

The answer to that question, of course, is that taking such a position likely would be political suicide. Most Americans don't want women who get abortions to be prosecuted as murderers.

Nor, it seems to me, is there any consistency of logic in making an exception for an abortion to save the life of the mother. In his book "Papal Sin," author Garry Wills argues: "If the fetus and the mother have equal status as persons, the natural and not the inflicted death should be preferred," if you're going to be morally and logically consistent about it.

Then, too, the candidates should be required to square their anti-abortion positions with the belief among some folks -- orthodox Catholics, for example -- that the so-called morning-after pill is an abortifacient. Are any of these pols willing to call for a ban on morning-after pills? Are they willing to call for murder charges against women who take such pills? If not, why not?

In fact, the politicians should be required to explain in detail their opinions on just when life starts and when, if ever, it's permissible to end such life and what penalties should be imposed for violations of any limits that are enacted into law. Questions like that would prompt most Republican candidates, I'm sure, to squirm and dance and tie themselves into ideological knots.

4 comments:

Mike S. said...

Good points Rascal. I know a lot of other catholics have been asking the same things.

The Rascal said...

By the way, lest I be misunderstood, I take the pro-choice position on abortion.

Mike S. said...

Sorry, they sounded like valid questions to me.

Mike S. said...

by the way, lest you think I was referring to myself, I'm not catholic.