Friday, January 30, 2009
Loras College politics prof David Cochran writes:
On the question of progressive analogies to abortion, as Catholic pacifist the one I often think about is war. I believe that the killing of human beings in war, both combatants and non-combatants, is never morally permitted (while this view is not required by Catholic social teaching it is consistent with it). But while this killing of human beings in war is always wrong, I don’t always think of it in the same way as a murder for money or genocide. Different kinds of morally impermissible killing have different moral circumstances—not ones that ultimately justify them, but ones that mean they don’t always line up as equivalents. So one of the things about both war and abortion is that there are often very understandable, even “good” reasons, for turning to them. I don’t believe these reasons are ever good enough, but those who do can point to motives or ends that are fundamentally better than the ones underlying murder for money or genocide. The other parallel, of course, is trying to speak to the wrongness of war and abortion in a culture where most people see each as legitimate, at least under certain circumstances, and in which popular culture portrays each as a common and morally appropriate occurrence.