We all know that pro-choicers only have the best interests of the pro-life movement at heart, so when they offer up advice as Will Saletan has done at Slate, we need to listen attentively. Saletan offers five helpful tips to the pro-life movment.
1. Reduce the abortion rate through voluntary means: Ah yes, a favorite of the pro-choice brigade. We silly pro-lifers have to stop focusing our attention on trying to stop the legal holocaust of the unborn, and instead focus on vague measures that change hearts and minds. This is very helpful advice because as well know pro-lifers regularly turn a blind eye to the causes of abortion like, oh, sexual immorality. I’m glad that deep thinkers like Saletan and David Gushee are here to remind pro-lifers to focus on the non-legal aspect of the abortion debate. It’s also heartening to hear from an adherents of an ideology that is okay with things like banning happy meals, circumcision, transfats, guns, and school prayer that opposition to the legalized murder of unborn children is something that is “unproductive.”
2. Subsidize maternity. Saletan writes:
After the conference, several pro-life attendees, writing at Consistent Life, noted the hypocrisy of politicians who oppose abortion while gutting welfare programs that make maternity thinkable for women in financial distress.
Yes, this another familiar trope. If only we mean old pro-lifers encouraged more welfare spending, then that would just about wipe out the need for abortion. Let’s ignore all those studies that demonstrate only a casual link between abortion and poverty and just plow ahead with more welfare grants, because as we all know once we become Sweden then abortion will be completely eradicated, just as it has been there. Oh. Wait.
3. Embrace contraception. This is a fun one. Not only does it completely contradict point number one, it makes several dubious assumptions that demonstrate the complete intellectual incoherence of pro-choicers.
First of all, unfortunately, most Christian denominations outside of Roman Catholicism have embraced contraception. Even more unfortunately, most Catholics have also embraced contraception. The number of people who adhere to the traditional teachings of the Church, Catholic or not, is a clear minority. This is a fact acknowledged in the article, and yet Saletan just plows on. Somehow I don’t think a cultural aversion to contraception is really driving up the abortion rate.
Second, as I alluded to above, this contradicts point one. Pro-lifers, contrary to caricature, are involved in cultural and non-legal efforts to discourage abortion. That’s precisely why Catholic pro-lifers discourage the contraceptive mentality that has actually driven up the abortion rate because it more easily separates the sexual act from its primary purpose.
Finally, this is something that perpetually amuses me. Most pro-lifers also discourage extra-marital sex, yet people continue to engage in the behavior that leads to the overwhelming number of abortions. Supposedly, though, these same people who have ignored the Church every moment of the way leading up to the big moment suddenly take the Church’s message to heart regarding contraception. Amazing. Evidently the taking off of one’s underwear magically turns people from sinners to saints.
4. Early abortions are better than late ones. This one is the kicker, and ample demonstration that Saletan is completely unserious.
The best question I heard at Princeton came from Cristina Page, author of How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America. “Studies show that restrictions on abortions push women later into pregnancy,” she told Alvare and Kaveny. “What if we were to find that in fact it [was] pro-choice policies that would reduce the gestational age? And do you think that reducing gestational age of abortion is a common-ground goal?” Kaveny welcomed the suggestion and said she’d like to see the studies. Alvare was loath to accept the legality of killing, but she conceded that later abortions were worse than earlier ones. From a pro-life standpoint, trading late abortions for early ones is hardly ideal. But it’s better than nothing, and if you pursue it, nobody will stand in your way.
This is simply incomprehensible on every level. Does Saletan, or any other pro-choicer for that matter, really think that pro-lifers are going to be happy with a compromise that entails killing the unborn child at an earlier age? I don’t even understand where they’re getting the data to support the theory about later abortions, anyway. But even if that is empirically true, so what? I’m not going to be any happier about an unborn child being killed in its third month of gestation than its sixth. This is a truly horrifying idea and I can’t believe that Saletan could possibly contemplate this as a serious alternative.
5. Choose your friends by your mission, not your mission by your friends. This is just bit of moral preening by Saletan, and hardly worth bothering with.
So there you have it. So basically all we pro-lifers have to do is abandon most of our principles, and we’ll be able to reach a happy consensus. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?