Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What abortion analogy works for progressives?

Greg Pocak has a challenge for "progressives" regarding abortion:

I appreciated your comments on the Mirror of Justice blog regarding whether abortion is a holocaust.  I don’t agree with you (well, I do agree that killing a 12 year old is subjectively worse—for the audience—than killing a fetus, but I would argue that as far as the fetus and 12 yo are concerned personally, it’s not a whole lot different. Especially since the fetus can experience pain and some degree of awareness much earlier than expected.  And even if they didn’t, objectively you’re still killing human life.  And yes, you do sound like a Pinker who lacks the courage to take your argument to its logical conclusion) .  But, that said,  I respect that you had the courage to write what you did “out loud.”  I respect your honest and forthright attempt to wrestle with this.

I have a somewhat tangential question, though.

Your comments are, in some way, similar to Cathleen Kaveny’s comments at dotCommonweal the other day who stated that she rejected the pro-life “analogy” that being “moderate on abortion is akin to being moderate on slavery.”  Likewise, at the America blog, a commenter essentially said that while he knows that objectively abortion is murder, he is uncomfortable with the term because it makes the women who have abortions, “ murderers”—and  thus the analogy complicates the Church’s ability to be pastoral to post abortive women.

In response, I guess I am struggling to understand what an appropriate progressive analogy for abortion would be.  What would be the progressive answer to the following analogies “Abortion is to the Dignity of Human Life as…”  and “Abortion is to slavery as…”

I think progressives will have a difficult time gaining a fair hearing from more mainstream pro-lifers unless they can come up with a more accurate analogy and compelling analogy than those of murder, holocaust, or slavery.


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