I am not, contrary to how it may seem at times, a leftist. I used to consider myself one some time ago, and I suppose on certain issues, such as foreign policy and immigration, I still am.
But the left’s moral logic, especially with regard to sexual issues, never appealed to me, much for the same reason most forms of libertarian economics don’t – it looks, smells, and often is extremely self-centered, and I wish I could say that without offending good-hearted libertarians who aren’t actually selfish at all.
There is a certain obessesion at times with double-standards and hypocrisy. In the debates over contraception and abortion, for example, these are the arguments I would hear over and over:
“Rich people can get abortions with no questions asked. But poor people get arrested. Abortion should be legal so that the poor have the same rights as the rich.”
“If men could get pregnant, abortion would be legal forever. Men get to plant their seeds and run off, but women have no choice but to raise the child. Abortion should be legal so that women can be as free as men.”
In both cases, the common denominator is – “why can’t I do it if they get to do it?” Rarely is it asked if what “they” are doing is inherently wrong. Instead the evil is that someone is doing something that someone else can’t do. Ask any pro-lifer and they will agree, rich people should not be allowed to have abortions. Many might also say, as I certainly do, that men should be bound by law to care for the children they help create.
Christianity and common sense make the rational appeal to us all not to whine because others are getting away with immorality, but to hold them to higher standards. If rich people are getting abortions and men are sexually promiscuous man-whores, rather than arguing that poor people and women should be able to do the same without censure or penalty, we should redouble our efforts to enforce legal and social restraints against the offending groups.
Had the feminists and other radicals insisted on holding men accountable for their actions instead of seeking to relieve women of all accountability, they would have found many more allies on the conservative side of the spectrum. But that isn’t what many of them were interested in to begin with. The double-standard approach to morality is a way of making a lot of noise and smoke without ever taking a serious position on the issue itself.
Few want the notoriety of intellectuals such as Peter Singer, who argues infanticide is acceptable as an extension of abortion rights and fits it neatly into his Godless utilitarian schema. Deplore him we may, and probably must, but I do respect his logical consistency and honesty. It’s more than we typically get from abortion advocates.
We must continue to press the sensitive areas that make the pro-abortionists squirm – to show the bloody images of aborted children, to act as the real “pro-choice” movement by informing women of ALL their options, and also to neutralize this infantile double-standard logic by actually becoming more vocal in holding those who often do get away with evading responsibilities to account.
The message I think we need to drive home a little harder is this: outlwaing abortion is not about “controlling women’s bodies”, but holding both parents to the strictest account for the welfare of their children. It is not a women’s issue, it is a parental issue. In refusing women “the right to choose”, we must also refuse all men “the right to run” from their obligations. That way we really do bring about a measure of equality and consistency, but in the right direction.