Sunday, March 15, 2015

Stoicism and the Pro-Life View

Stop me if you've heard this claim before.

It's not enough for pro-lifers to simply be against abortion. If they're REALLY against abortion, they have to provide financial and emotional support for women who may choose abortion.

They need to remove the stigma against out of wedlock pregnancy, because women who are stigmatized will choose abortion to keep their pregnancy a secret.

They need to provide affordable low-income or even free housing to women who have children out of wedlock.

They also need to provide them with free education, financial support as they raise their children, support for funded daycare initiatives so they can work while they have children.

Because if you fail to do any of this, you're making life harder on women who get pregnant, and that just improves the chance that they'll end up choosing abortion - and thus, you're not pro-life if you fail to adhere to this outline.

What's key here is that the above isn't some line taken by pro-abortionists. It's taken by, in my experience, numerous pro-lifers - people who are absolutely adamant that any criticism of women who get pregnant out of wedlock be absolutely verboten among pro-lifers. There's even the attitude that women who have had abortions don't need condemnation - they need love and support and respect, because abortion is a difficult thing, and if they're stigmatized because of having made one mistake they may get pregnant and choose abortion AGAIN, and now we're compounding the error.

I now reject this line of thinking. All of it.

It's not that I'm against providing support to single mothers. It's not that I think people should be hounded lifelong for a sin. But I support those things, insofar as I support them, because I think they are right - and I oppose the ones I oppose because I think they are wrong. I will not be made to support or denounce these things because pregnant women are being treated as terrorists who can, at any moment, acquire a hostage to force others to the negotiating table with.

If a woman freely decides to have an abortion because she worries about her image, if she wants the freedom to have a better job... that blood is on her hands. It's not on the world for failing to put an enticing enough offer on the table for her.

None of this denies that a woman can be in rotten circumstances, that there can be mitigating factors involved with her making the decision to kill her child. I'll accept all of that, I'll extend my sympathies and understanding when I think the case warrants it. But I no longer have an interest in getting caught up in some oversimplified, bizarre consequentialist game where the goal is to look at a balance sheet and determine how to absolutely minimize the number of abortions, such that I'm morally obligated to take every move that arguably will reduce that number.

Women and men who procure or perform abortions, are murderers. Public frowning upon out of wedlock pregnancies is often deserved. If hearing any of those leads a woman to kill her child out of fear of shame, or spite, that's unfortunate - but it's the sin of those procuring and performing the abortion. They cannot make it mine.

56 comments:

Vand83 said...

I've been thinking about this a lot as of late. Probably due to the fact I make a point to visit Mark Shea's blog. He seems to have bathed in the waters of lake SJW. Slams pro-lifers (rightly so sometimes), while generally avoiding the tougher elements of the issue. In one instance I remember him citing Benedict XVI and implying that Catholics could vote for a pro-abortion politician if they felt a greater injustice would result by voting for the opposition. I then asked if this particular non-negotiable was in fact negotiable. Never received a response.

Crude said...

I have a pretty low opinion of Shea. The man is just one long string of theatrics.

msgrx said...

Shea strikes me as one of those people who found an angle (in his case, criticising greed and shallow materialism) and emphasised it so much that he ended up becoming a self-parody. It's rather sad, because on non-political topics he's generally quite good.

Vand83 said...

This is true. I read his book on prayer and it was an insightful piece of work. I rarely see that guy on his blog though.

B. Prokop said...

"If a woman freely decides to have an abortion because she worries about her image, if she wants the freedom to have a better job"

I wonder quite seriously if stories about women having abortions for reasons such as the above are largely urban legends. In my almost 63 years, I've only known personally 2 and 1/2 women who've had the procedure (the half is a case I know of only on hearsay, so I can't say it's true), and they were both people half out of their minds with desperation and were pressured into getting an abortion. So from "facts on the ground" experience, I regard women who've had an abortion to be as much victims as the babies. I cannot find it in myself to condemn them.

Crude said...

So from "facts on the ground" experience, I regard women who've had an abortion to be as much victims as the babies.

So you'll accept that, if my or other experience's differ - say, we know several women from wealthy families who had abortions because they just plain found it inconvenient to be mothers - that we have 'facts on the ground' justification to regard most women who've gotten abortions as morally culpable?

Crude said...

Of course, we also have these sorts of stories.

The child would have had a deformed left hand. That could lead to discrimination, so - in order to fight against discrimination - they chose to have the child aborted. At 28 weeks.

No, these are not victims. Not all of them. Not even most.

B. Prokop said...

I don't know. I can only speak to what I've personally experienced. I realize my "sample size" is quite small.

Crude said...

That's fine, Bob. Mine differs. And really, when I look at the stats? It's not quite so clear.

If every abortion was procured by a woman in a half-mad state of quivering fear and panic, this country wouldn't get any work done with how many take place per year.

The Deuce said...

Holy crap! Did you just copy and paste the first five paragraphs from Mark Shea?

The Deuce said...

...and a perusal of the comments shows I wasn't the only one to have the same thought.

The Deuce said...

So from "facts on the ground" experience, I regard women who've had an abortion to be as much victims as the babies.

Last I checked, there's no possibility of getting the death penalty for procuring an abortion, though I'd certainly be open to the idea myself.

The Deuce said...

It's rather sad, because on non-political topics he's generally quite good.

Maybe before he jumped on bandwagons "hell is real but not really" and "the divorced and remarried can't receive communion but not really."

Syllabus said...

I'm actually pretty sympathetic to the view that, if you're placed in the situation where you know a woman who's considering getting an abortion, you should do everything to assist her in a way that will prevent her from getting one. If that includes helping her out financially, with letting her stay in your home, then you do it. I feel pretty confident in saying that that's the Christian thing to do in that situation. But that's categorically different from subsidizing someone somewhere whom you've never met who might someday think about maybe getting an abortion because she's too poor. (Also, real poverty is really fucking scarce here in the US, so I don't take the "grinding poverty" argument very seriously at all.)

Also, re: Bob's comment regarding victimhood - if the primary argument I heard coming from the progs on this was that we should try and make life easier for the poor victimized mothers or whatever, then that might work. But that hasn't been the argument coming from that quarter. It's been "Stop trying to tell us that we can't kill our unborn children whenever we damn well please, you patriarchical misogynists". So I'm completely unsympathetic to people who advocate for abortion on those grounds. If you think a mother who kills a child because she thinks he has no future is not a victim but a murderer, and you believe (as I assume Bob, being a Catholic, believes) that there's not a qualitative difference between a born and an unborn child, then it seems to me that you have no consistent logical grounds upon which to support abortion for that reason.

B. Prokop said...

No one's talking about supporting abortion here (at least, I hope not), but there's a gigantic difference between no-questions-asked condemning the mother and finding out exactly what was happening.

In one of the cases I personally know of (both of which I learned about only years years after the fact), the mother was tragically ordered to get an abortion by her own parents (she was a young teenager living at home at the time). What makes this doubly tragic is her parents were/are both to all outward appearances devout Catholics. (The whole "incident" is a deep family secret.) The other instance was of another teenager who got no absolutely support from anyone anywhere, and was under heavy family pressure to terminate the pregnancy. Her family was "nominally" Catholic. Sad, sad, sad.

I just can't bring myself to condemn either of them. If abortion were illegal and I was on a jury trying their case, I'd vote "innocent".

Crude said...

I just can't bring myself to condemn either of them.

Splendid. Let me give you some other examples then.

A girl is having sex with her boyfriend, they're both 18+, and she gets pregnant. She decides to get an abortion because, even though her parents are wealthy, she doesn't want to upset them and besides, she doesn't want to be tied down by a baby.

Child killed.

How do you vote?

The baby is developed 22 weeks. The parents discover its left hand is malformed. They decide to terminate, because the child would be handicapped.

Child killed.

How do you vote?

A woman and her husband are upper class. Both work. She gets pregnant. While they could take care of a child, she'd rather focus on her career.

Child killed.

How do you vote?

B. Prokop said...

Are these verifiably actual occurrences, or are they again just urban legends? Do you personally know anyone who had an abortion under such circumstances and with such motivations? (I'm not saying it doesn't happen - I just don't have any experience of such.) I strongly suspect that most of these "horror stories" are made up.

I've fallen for a few of them myself, until I found out they had been invented out of whole cloth. For instance: Back in the early 80's, there was an evangelical televangelist (I wish I could remember his name) who went on and on about a woman who supposedly had an abortion because a pregnancy would interfere with her planned ski vacation. I was horrified by the story. It eventually turned out, after he was pressured to supply verification of the story, that he had made the whole thing up, but justified himself saying "Such things go on all the time!")

But please don't get me wrong here! I am no fan of abortion - far from it. I just think that we should not make the pregnant woman into any sort of enemy or guilty party. I'm fairly convinced that the overwhelming majority (close to 100%) of women who get abortions are no less victims than their babies, and need our love, support, and forgiveness.

Watch the (very uncomfortable) abortion scene in the movie Entertaining Angels, about the life of Servant of God Dorothy Day. In our lifetimes, she will almost certainly be declared a saint, yet she also was a victim of abortion.

Crude said...

But please don't get me wrong here!

I won't, so long as you answer the questions. I mean, you're fairly convinced that close to 100% of all women who get abortion are hugging their knees, sobbing uncontrollably. A bit of blood dripping from their chin, courtesy of the black and blue, bruised face from the fists of their (exclusively white, upper class) husbands.

So, Bob. Surely you can answer my questions? Treat them as pure hypotheticals.

How do you vote?

B. Prokop said...

You ask very good (and very disconcerting) questions. Let us (both) hope that such cases are truly just hypotheticals. To think otherwise would be simply awful.

But in any case, I would be against any law in this country that criminalized the woman - in all circumstances, even in the "horror stories". Not because of any question of actual guilt or innocence, but because to do so would be counterproductive - it would not work! Such laws would do nothing other than drive abortion into the fabled "back alleys". Is that the end we wish for? I didn't think so. (To see what could happen in the Real World, one need look no further than the Hell on Earth resultant from Communist Romania's draconian anti-abortion laws. A textbook case of Good Intentions ending up in the worst of all possible outcomes. An evil to rank with Auschwitz.)

I have no sympathy for ideological purists who cannot bring themselves to embrace imperfect solutions to real world problems. They'd rather lose and be right, rather than support a plan of action that falls short of perfection but actually improves the situation on the ground.

Crude said...

You ask very good (and very disconcerting) questions.

Great. Will you be answering them then?

Here, I'm going to make it even easier for you. Are they morally wrong? Did they do something immoral? Sinful?

How do you vote?

I'll put your other comments to the side for now.

B. Prokop said...

"Here, I'm going to make it even easier for you. Are they morally wrong? Did they do something immoral? Sinful?"

Yes, yes, and yes. Unquestionably. No argument there.

But morality and the justice system are two very different things, else we'd be locking up everyone who smokes, or who gambles at a casino, or who gets plastered on a Saturday night at the corner bar (as I myself did only two nights ago) - all three clearly sinful acts.

Crude said...

Alright, Bob. I would have bet my pinky you'd say no. You proved me wrong, without even knowing you did. I will cop to that freely.

Let's move on.

But morality and the justice system are two very different things, else we'd be locking up everyone who smokes, or who gambles at a casino, or who gets plastered on a Saturday night at the corner bar (as I myself did only two nights ago) - all three clearly sinful acts.

Casinos are illegal in numerous states, smoking isn't even immoral, and public drunkenness is illegal.

Not because of any question of actual guilt or innocence, but because to do so would be counterproductive - it would not work!

You are seriously saying that illegality, incarceration, fines... these things have no effect on criminal behavior? Really?

msgrx said...

But in any case, I would be against any law in this country that criminalized the woman - in all circumstances, even in the "horror stories". Not because of any question of actual guilt or innocence, but because to do so would be counterproductive - it would not work! Such laws would do nothing other than drive abortion into the fabled "back alleys". Is that the end we wish for? I didn't think so.

Only if we assume that the difference between a legal, safe (for one party at least) abortion and a grubby, dangerous, illegal back-alley abortion would make absolutely no difference to whether or not people would choose to have an abortion, which frankly doesn't seem all that plausible to me. And even if some (or even many) women do feel driven to have a back-alley abortion, well, there's no right to murder your children in safety.

msgrx said...

But morality and the justice system are two very different things, else we'd be locking up everyone who smokes, or who gambles at a casino, or who gets plastered on a Saturday night at the corner bar (as I myself did only two nights ago) - all three clearly sinful acts.

Law and morality might not be coterminous, but they're clearly closely linked. In fact I'd go so far as to say that most of modern political debate is evidence that unmooring the law from what is moral inevitably results in some variety of ghastly and arbitrary will-to-power -type government.

Also, whilst not everything immoral is illegal, murder is banned in every country, and uncontroversially so. If an unborn child is in fact human, then I take that as prima facie evidence that abortion is a variety of murder, and a fortiori ought to be banned.

malcolmthecynic said...

I think killing black people should be legal. At least then it'll be safer - no more back alley murders, where the victim might fight back and the murderer may get hurt as well as the victim - and who wants that?

Not to mention it'll just make black murderers upset because they'll think we don't understand them. And how is that going to prevent black murders?

No, make murdering black people legal, but just do your best to oppose it practically. That's the best way to do it.

Crude said...

I will admit, I think Bob's position is silly. (Does he really think that 100% of abortions are Lifetime Stories shit? That no woman ever decides to get an abortion because 'it's inconvenient'? Effing -polls- say this in effect.)

I can sympathize completely with the idea that this is not wholly a legislative issue. On the flipside, abortion seems like an entirely sensible area to pass laws in. And, as another said - if a woman seeks out a back alley abortion, that's her risk, and her crime.

B. Prokop said...

Silly or not, I cannot think otherwise. A lack of compassion for the woman is no different from those people who declared that AIDS was a punishment from God for homosexuality.

I also am more interested in results than in being ideologically pure (too much concern for ideological purity is itself a grave sin). Condemning the woman is flat out counterproductive to the aim of reducing or eliminating abortion. I you truly wish that as your goal, and are not just concerned about congratulating yourself on your uncompromising principles, then you will have no desire to condemn them. I'll leave it at that, as I am starting to repeat myself. (I hate it when I do that.)

Syllabus said...

But morality and the justice system are two very different things

Splendid to see that you admit this. Allow me to ask a follow-up question: do you think that the state to force you to care for your neighbour by means of, oh, welfare subsidies, the individual mandate, and stuff like that? If so, how is this substantially different from forcing people to not drink or gamble away their family's bread-money?

Syllabus said...

And there's a very obvious disanalogy between abortion and your drunkenness example - no one's getting their bodies torn to pieces and sucked through vacuum tubes when the state doesn't penalize you for getting drunk. That is, the chief object of your getting drunk is not the murder of a being external to yourself, and as such, while the former may not lie within the ambit of the state, the latter plainly does.

Crude said...

A lack of compassion for the woman is no different from those people who declared that AIDS was a punishment from God for homosexuality.

More silliness. 'A lack of compassion for wealthy people who create business is no different from hating blacks just because of the color of their skin.'

I've nowhere said not to have compassion for a woman in some situations. But your move is to try and make all women, everywhere, who ever get an abortion, a victim deserving of nothing but support.

Condemning the woman is flat out counterproductive to the aim of reducing or eliminating abortion.

Not necessarily, since condemnation and public shaming is actually quite good at influencing behavior.

But still - did you ever read my post? 'Eliminating abortion at any cost!' isn't my concern. If you tell me that if abortion is outlawed, even if it reduces abortion, there will still be women who get back alley abortions and who will stop at nothing to get an abortion, then that's fine. It's out of my hands, and it's not my sin, but her own. It doesn't become my sin because you insist that if I only responded to her hostage demands she would have potentially done the right thing.

I you truly wish that as your goal, and are not just concerned about congratulating yourself on your uncompromising principles, then you will have no desire to condemn them.

The worst part is, you've given me zero evidence other than 'I heard of two and a half women who had an abortion' and 'I feel strongly about this' that "never, ever, EVER condemning murder" will have that effect. For all you know, and for all your evidence states, condemnation and outlawing will reduce abortion. In fact, the best evidence indicates exactly that.

So: If you truly wish that as your goal, and are not just concerned about congratulating yourself on your uncompromising principles, then you will have desire to condemn them.

Crude said...

I'm going to repeat a point, Bob, because it suddenly occurs to me - you're actually demonstrating the very thing I wrote about in the post. Amazingly, it's as if you didn't even read it.

You're playing the hostage game with me: 'Do as I say, or the kid gets it!' You can't say that abortion is a sin, you can't say a woman procuring an abortion is doing something morally wrong. Because if you do, she'll get an abortion. Indeed, unless you give her everything she asks, she's going to get an abortion! And you want to stop abortion at all costs, so you have to give her everything she asks!

But I don't. Intellectually, morally, ethically, spiritually... I don't. I see the game you're playing - and I reject it.

I will support providing assistance for women who are in dire situations. I will prioritize the women who are in actual dire situations, I will judge each case on its merits, and I will clearly say that abortion is wrong. I will do this not 'to stop abortion' alone, but because I think it's correct for a number of reasons. Refusing to condemn abortion, treating it as a non-sin, pretending that women who have had an abortion are morally pure? That's wrong. Morally, intellectually, ethically, spiritually wrong.

If a middle class woman decides to kill her kid to conceal an affair? That's blood on her hands, and the hands of who she's screwing.

If a woman is fucking her boyfriend, gets knocked up, but doesn't think it's time to settle down (indeed, she thinks he's an asshole but attractive) and she gets an abortion? That's blood on their hands.

The hostage threat doesn't work with me anymore.

B. Prokop said...

"do you think that the state to force you to..."

Oh, please. Not the ol' "government forcing me" trope again. The government forces us to do all sorts of things - that's part of why we have one. It "forces" us to drive on the right side of the road. It forces us to not dump trash in the woods. It forces us to comply with building and safety codes. It forces us to do our share in providing for the common defense. There is nothing inherently wrong in forcing citizens to do/not do various things. (Now some specifics can well be inherently wrong (e.g., Jim Crow laws), but the principle itself is not.)

What will never end is the eternal debate over just what those things ought to be. And that's a Good Thing. It's our job as citizens to keep an eye on those we have elected to make the laws.

The alternative is anarchy. If you prefer that to being occasionally "forced" to do something you personally don't care for (like filing your income taxes every April), then you're free to live in Somalia or some other anarchist paradise. 'Cause accept it or not, that's the only real alternative to government.

Syllabus said...

The alternative is anarchy.

That is, if you'll forgive my saying so, quite too idiotic a statement for someone as reasonably intelligent as yourself. The alternative is lesser coercion, not no coercion whatsoever.

I further notice that you've evaded the question. I'll try another tack.

Consider the following syllogism.

1). Abortion is murder.
2). Murder should be illegal under all circumstances.
_______________
∴ Abortion should be illegal under all circumstances.

The conclusion very clearly follows from the premisses. So, assuming you wish to escape the conclusion - as you plainly seem to want to do - which of the premisses do you deny? Does the motive of the murder make it any less murder, and should it therefore make it less illegal? Or consider the following weaker syllogism:

1). Abortion is murder.
2). Murder contradicts the natural law.
3). What contradicts the natural law is immoral under all circumstances.
_______________
∴ Abortion is immoral under all circumstances.

Presuming you wish to deny the conclusion, as you plainly seem to, with which of the premisses do you disagree? Remember that you're operating as a Roman Catholic here.

The Deuce said...

Are these verifiably actual occurrences, or are they again just urban legends?

When people evade a question like that, it's a pretty good indication they can't answer it in a way that wouldn't be damning.

Graham Esposito said...

The legislative question is complicated to me as long as "the women" are the one and only concern. It's ALMOST similar to the issue of narcotics. On the face of it, I can at least entertain the idea of decriminalizing drug USE. As in, I think a case can be made for not throwing a heroin user in prison. I don't necessarily consider myself convinced one way or the other. On the other hand, if you manufacture and\or distribute heroin you should absolutely go to prison. You cannot profit, in a just society, by playing such a direct roll in tearing lives to shreds.

Similarly, I MIGHT be convinced that women who get abortions should not go to jail as a matter of pure pragmatism, if some "better" result could be demonstrated by that ruling. But an abortion "doctor" (I prefer homicide clinician) is beyond the legal pale. They are guns for hire and whatbl they do should come with a 25 year sentende. If the worry is that illegal abortions are dangerous for the mothers, blame the back-alley abortionist for not using sterile equipment. "Illegal" doesn't nessecitate incompetence.

malcolmthecynic said...

Bob,

A lack of compassion for the woman is no different from those people who declared that AIDS was a punishment from God for homosexuality.

Yes, because this is exactly what I said.

Graham,

You cannot profit, in a just society, by playing such a direct roll in tearing lives to shreds.

But that's exactly the difference: Women who abort ARE tearing lives to shreds. Except literally. That is the entire point. They are literally killing people, the equivalent of hiring hitmen to murder their kids.

It isn't analogous to heroin use because unlike heroin use other people are being affected by definition.

B. Prokop said...

"assuming you wish to escape the conclusion"

You assume too much. I (and you, and the Catholic Church) regards abortion as murder. But like it or not, even murderers are sometimes victims of their own actions. Take the case of spousal abuse (a very real legal defense), whereby a spouse (almost always a woman) is declared innocent of premeditated murder if he/she has been sufficiently abused. Also, like it or not, we live in a democracy, and not all citizens regard abortion as murder. Don't know the latest polls, but perhaps even only a minority so think. Don't they have a say in how the law should be written? I personally would like to see all casinos outlawed. But that's just me. I voted against their legalization in my own state (Maryland), but the "pro" side of the vote crushed the "antis" by double digits. So how we have the abominations. But that's democracy!

But all of that is totally irrelevant in the face of the requirement we have from God Himself to show compassion and mercy to the extent that we can. (St. Paul gave us that caveat when he wrote, "insofar as it depends upon you" in Romans.) This isn't a matter of my choosing to think one way or another on this issue - I simply cannot find it within my heart to condemn the woman in these matters, when I see her as one of the victims.

Graham Esposito said...

Like I said, it's only *almost* analagous, and only from a splitting-hairs legal perspective, and when we are talking about legal homicide, that's all we are left with apparently. My point is, if anyone is squeamish about outlawing abortion because of the perspective of women in a bad situation, the same cannot in any way be said about the abortion practitioner. So the argument from compassion is a moot point because what the doctors do has no such "defense."

malcolmthecynic said...

This isn't a matter of my choosing to think one way or another on this issue - I simply cannot find it within my heart to condemn the woman in these matters, when I see her as one of the victims.

In other words, women are not moral agents and are not responsible for the decisions they make.

B. Prokop said...

malcolmthecynic,

Do you find it impossible to have compassion for a person responsible for the decisions they make? Hmm.. I think I once read something somewhere about Christ having compassion on us "while we were yet sinners".

Syllabus said...

- I simply cannot find it within my heart to condemn the woman in these matters, when I see her as one of the victims.

You can't find it in your heart to condemn infanticide? And her victimhood removes her moral agency as such? Interesting.

Let's switch it up. Let's say a single mother has a young child of 2 who is autistic - not non-verbal, but autistic enough that caring for him is going to place a great deal of strain on her and her family. So she decides to smother him. Can you find it in your heart to condemn her? If so, why? Purely out of an emotional reaction towards infanticide? How will extensionally substituting an unborn child for the born one change your reaction, given that you've granted that abortion is murder?

Syllabus said...

Do you find it impossible to have compassion for a person responsible for the decisions they make?

You are moving the goalposts. You shifted from "can't find it in my heart to condemn them" to "have compassion on them". The two are not remotely the same.

Athena Carson said...

So, basing my thoughts on my experience "in the trenches":

- The hostage game with regard to abortion doesn't exist. A person who chooses abortion because the world didn't hand them enough convenience on a silver platter is a lost cause anyway. You could spend infinite energy chasing them and never catch them and never save their children.
- There are women who feel like they have no real options, yes - but those are the women who would easily choose life with relatively minimal support or simply direction toward the support and social services already available.
- There are women who are bullied and abused into having abortions. I don't know how to help them because any of the services available to abuse victims require a person to be self-aware enough to ask for help. Abuse warps a person's frame of reference such that it's not as obvious to them as one would think it would be when looking from the outside.
- Stigmatizing unwed pregnancy and single motherhood is bullshit. First of all, you can't do that without also stigmatizing pregnant rape victims. You might like to, but the reality is that people have no patience for nuance and justice when you have given them permission to look down on a whole class of people.
Second, there is already plenty of stigma and condescension from pro-choice people against unwed moms. The difference is - pro-lifers will shame them by saying, "You should have kept your legs closed and not been a slut." Great - thanks. So helpful you are. Pro-choicers, on the other hand, will say, "What's wrong with you - why weren't you using birth control? You were? Oh, well then you must not have been educated on its proper use. No matter - you have options you know." For better or for worse, it is pro-choicers that offer a "solution" to getting rid of the stigma. But a woman who keeps her baby gets to keep hearing shit from pro-lifers about how single parents are causing the downfall of civilization.
Ideally, women who freely choose to have sex will have the backbone to tell the condescending people from both sides to fuck off when they become pregnant. (Notice the "when" and not "if" - fertility times sex divided by the failure rate of birth control = baby.) Unfortunately, not all women are up to the task.
- Laws against abortion would be great, but they need to be written and enforced such that we don't have women getting charged for having a miscarriage or for having a baby delivered early for life-threatening reasons. (Note: I said "delivered early" instead of "abortion" because there is a significant ethical difference between ending a pregnancy early while hoping for the best and the usual hack-n-slash abortion. Not that it makes a difference in the media who will call both events an "abortion.")
- Laws against abortion providers are great but the need to be written and enforced such that we don't charge a doctor for removing the corpse of a baby who died in utero of natural causes, or for treating a woman who suffered a rough miscarriage, or for helping to deliver a baby early due to a life-threatening condition in the mother.

Crude said...

Stigmatizing unwed pregnancy and single motherhood is bullshit. First of all, you can't do that without also stigmatizing pregnant rape victims. You might like to, but the reality is that people have no patience for nuance and justice when you have given them permission to look down on a whole class of people.

I disagree. And the problem is, even if you were right - which I strongly disagree with - you have placed an unfortunate dilemma on the table: do we blanket-support and accept single motherhood and a pretty shitty culture, or do we blanket-condemn what is by and large a rotten culture and bad situation, and get innocents caught in what amounts to a rhetorical crossfire? Because the lack of nuance that supposedly gets pregnant rape victims condemned is going to be the lack of nuance that tells women that being a single mom is totally okay and if anyone disagrees they're just mean and wrong.

Otherwise, largely in agreement.

Athena Carson said...

Crude -

I strongly disagree with the idea that single parenthood is inherently shitty. It's not optimal, sure, but it's far from the worst situation a person can be in. Hell, single parenthood is practically heaven compared to some marriages, but I'm not about to suggest we stigmatize staying married simply because every situation is so different.

I would prefer a culture that focuses on being welcoming of all life rather than one that focuses on family structure first. Because here's what happens - anyone who deviates from the norm, for whatever reason (and there are plenty of good reasons out there), gets hit with a stigma they can't live down until the kid is grown and out of the house.

Crude said...

I strongly disagree with the idea that single parenthood is inherently shitty. It's not optimal, sure, but it's far from the worst situation a person can be in.

It's pretty high up there in terms of rotten situations, usually with rotten causes (even with rape out of the picture), and a sizable amount of cultural decay. We need far less of them.

Wealthy 40-something bachelor(ette) decides to adopt a child? That's one thing. I'm not sure how many Daddy Warbucks cases are out there, but I'll grant they exist, and they may be better than the alternative. The realm of 18 year old single moms? No, that's a bad idea from a variety of directions.

I would prefer a culture that focuses on being welcoming of all life rather than one that focuses on family structure first. Because here's what happens - anyone who deviates from the norm, for whatever reason (and there are plenty of good reasons out there), gets hit with a stigma they can't live down until the kid is grown and out of the house.

Or they avoid the situation altogether, which is ideal. And I don't mean 'get an abortion' but 'don't get into that situation in the first place'. No, I don't think there are plenty of good reasons out there - if that cashes out to mean that a traditional family is an outdated concept that needs to be downplayed or replaced, then no, I oppose that as well.

If single parenthood were fantastic, or even close to ideal, it wouldn't need to be buttressed with widespread cultural appeals for charity, voluntary and forced. Which is precisely why you have that sizable number of pro-lifers who equate 'opposition to extremely generous welfare and structural support for single-mothers' with 'promoting abortion'.

I am not going to get behind what amounts to encouraging widespread cultural decay on numerous fronts, on the threat that the alternative means some will be unjustly stigmatized. Because the alternative, withdrawing all stigma and turning 'family' into some perpetually morphing concept, is by all indications one hell of a lot worse.

malcolmthecynic said...

Bob,

I'm not going to dignify your increasingly insane ramblings with a response. You owe me an apology.

B. Prokop said...

malcolmthecynic,

Huh? I'll gladly apologize, if that's what you'd like. But in all honesty, I have no idea what I'm apologizing for. How have I offended you?

Crude said...

I'll gladly apologize, if that's what you'd like. But in all honesty, I have no idea what I'm apologizing for.

White liberal spotted.

B. Prokop said...

Now you've lost me too. How have I offended anyone?

malcolmthecynic said...

Perhaps you should consider that accusing people of not wanting to be compassionate to women will make them a tad angry.

B. Prokop said...

malcolmthecynic,

I accused you of no such thing.

I wrote: "I simply cannot find it within my heart to condemn..." (which is as true a statement as they come)

You challenged me: "In other words, women are not moral agents and are not responsible..."(implying either A) that I was wrong to not condemn, or B) one is only supposed to not condemn persons who are not responsible for their actions)

I responded: "Do you find it impossible to have compassion for a person responsible for the decisions they make?" (meaning I was questioning your implied premise, whichever of the above it was)

So allow me to ask you more directly. Is it wrong to not condemn (i.e., show compassion - the two expressions mean exactly the same thing) a person directly responsible for their actions, which were made fully aware of the moral implications and with malice aforethought?

No accusations here whatsoever - such a straightforward, unambiguous question.

B. Prokop said...

Damn typos (or whatever using the wrong word is called)! I meant to write "just a straightforward..." - not "such". No idea where that came from.

malcolmthecynic said...

Is it wrong to not condemn (i.e., show compassion - the two expressions mean exactly the same thing)

I'm going to stop you right here. They absolutely do not. To condemn somebody I can say, "You need to face consequences for your actions, such as they were." But I can also show compassion by taking circumstance into account and adjusting thew condemnation accordingly.

That you conflate the two actually explains a lot of the issue. They are not the same thing, by any stretch.

Ed said...

Athena, I am sincerely curious - can you describe your experience "in the trenches"?

Is this in a ministry capacity, people you happen to know?

Athena Carson said...

Ed -

My experience "in the trenches" is a combination of my experience volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, other people I happened to know, and myself.