Choice Beyond Reason

The Hill reports this week that “Democrats will not withhold financial support for candidates who oppose abortion rights,” a development that has sent Internet feminists into a bit of a tizzy. Jill Filipovic, for one, remarked: “What better strategy than to betray their base and reaffirm that women’s basic rights are negotiable and disposable,” while Teen Vogue columnist Lauren Duca claimed: “This is a betrayal of every woman who has ever supported the Democratic party.”

Sure, okay. It is to the Democrats’ credit that they recognize what the feminist guard is terminally incapable of seeing: that most Americans, while their views on abortion are decidedly incoherent and nonsensical, are still generally much less dogmatic and monomaniacal about abortion than the feminists are. And what dogmatism it is! Lauren Duca, for one, is on-record as believing that climate change is “the single most pressing issue facing humanity” and that it will “destroy the planet, if we do nothing.” So you’d think she’d be a little more open to some moderate political horse trading when it comes to the one political party that actually buys into the global warming hype. Yet no: abortion must reign supreme. You can believe that “the planet” is going to be “destroyed” if we “do nothing” about global warming, but if you try and soften your stance a bit when it comes to a moderately pro-life city councilman from Gribbler’s Wabe, Wyoming, then you’re suddenly a “betrayer.” Got it!

Abortion, in the end, is not about “women’s basic rights,” as much as pro-abortoinists may insist otherwise; it has nothing to do with bodily autonomy or “a woman’s right to choose” or any of the other pretty ways the Left dresses it up. It has always been principally about dead babies, specifically the convenience that dead babies engender. Increasingly, for example, there are respected and well-paid philosophers and medical officials who argue that it should be legal to kill babies outside the womb—and these arguments, it should be noted, are couched entirely in the terms already used to justify legal abortion. And now there is growing concern that the developing technology of “artificial wombs” could threaten abortion rights more than ever before:

In the future, [Harvard bioethicist I. Glenn] Cohen said, it stands to reason that this technology could save the lives of fetuses born even earlier. Imagine then, that you had made the decision to terminate a pregnancy at 18 weeks, but that such a technology technically made it viable for the fetus to be born at that point in development, then finish developing outside the womb. Would an abortion still be legal?

“It could wind up being that you only have the right to an abortion up until you can put [a fetus] in the artificial womb,” said Cohen. “It’s terrifying…”

Developing technology…tests the rhetoric surrounding the right to choose. A woman’s right to control her own body is a common legal and ethical argument made in favor of abortion. Under that logic, though, the law could simply compel a woman to put her fetus into an external womb, giving her back control of her own body but still forcing her into parenthood

Yes, what a “terrifying” thought. Indeed, the “rhetoric surrounding the right to choose” has always carried with it an unstated qualifier: it’s not just about choice, but about a specific choice, and more importantly the consequences of that choice. The purpose of abortion isn’t to give women the “right to control their own bodies;” if pro-choicers were genuinely as considered with bodily autonomy as they say they are, they would be marching on Washington every day demanding the wholesale shuttering of the FDA, the USDA, the DEA and every other agency that regularly and openly comes between American citizens and their own body choices.

Abortion is not just about “choice;” it is also, perhaps more so, about parenthood. A new technology that might preserve the former while underlining the latter will likely be seen as a direct threat to the underlying motivation for pro-abortion politics: a pro-choice regime that allows for “abortion” while saving the life of the baby is only half-effective, and the less important half, too.

It is good that Democrats are softening on abortion. And while I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of “artificial wombs,” I would be happy to use them for the purpose of saving unborn humans from abortion. But do not expect our devout and determined pro-abortion friends to take these changes quietly; judging by what we’re seeing, we might expect them to grow even more single-minded about abortion, even as public opinion shifts and the pro-life option grows ever-more viable. This is what you expect from zealots—the people who are both ideologically fanatical and immune to reason. But when you truck in dead babies, I suppose it is best to disassociate yourself from rational discourse.

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