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.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Unhinged Abortion Rhetoric" and the State

Michael P. links to Eduardo's "Democracy and Abortion" post at dotCommonweal.  Setting aside the question of whether using certain rhetoric, analogies, or comparisons is prudent or not in a given setting, Eduardo continues to attempt to dodge the central reality of the unborn's humanity by suggesting that if the pro-life movement really believed that abortion in America was the state sanctioned taking of an innocent human life, a bloody civil war would be justified against an illegitimate regime.  Since most pro-lifers don't advocate a bloody civil war, Eduardo concludes that talk of abortion as murder - or as "a form of mass-murder" - is "mostly just that - talk."

What I hear in this post and others from Eduardo and pro-abortion rights advocates is "hey, pro-lifers, put up or shut up. If you really believe abortion is murder or the intentional killing of an innocent human being, then you must take action. And, if you really believe your own rhetoric, then you must work to ban all abortion.  If the state won't bend, then you must attempt to overthrow the regime, by violence if necessary.  If you are unwilling to do this, then shut up because you don't truly believe your own rhetoric.  We the pro-choicers can dismiss you because you're just just talk."

This is an interesting rhetorical strategy for pro-abortion rights advocates to take.  Instead of trying to persuade the persuadable that the pro-choice position is more reasonable than the pro-life position, the strategy is to avoid the question of the justness of abortion by telling the uncommitted person "don't go with the pro-lifers because they don't really believe their own talk; if they did they'd be taking up arms." 

I don't think pro-lifers need to defend not taking up arms against the U.S. any more than non-violent abolitionists needed to defend not taking up arms against the U.S. in the period before the Civil War, or anymore than Karol Wojtyla needed to defend not taking up arms against the communist government in Poland, or anymore than Chinese Christians (and others) need to defend not taking up arms against their Communist government, or anymore than the the Jews needed to defend not taking up arms against the Roman occupation.  

There are many ways of working to eradicate evil in our midst.  That we don't advocate the most violent (and probably the most futile and wreckless) doesn't make us any less true believers in the cause to protect the unborn.  Although Eduardo might find the rhetoric immoderate, abortion is the taking of innocent human life. Instead of criticising the rhetoric, analogies, and comparisons of pro-lifers, I'd hope Eduardo and others in his camp would tell us why the state is justified in authorizing private parties to take innocent human life.


Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

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