Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Abortion Part One, Prelude

This essay is a prelude of sorts. Abortion is a very difficult topic. People often view opposing arguments with same measure of credibility they’d grant me if I claimed I was Elvis Christ. So, before I address the actual issue I think it’d be appropriate to first consider the controversy. Why is this such a touchy topic?

I think there are many reasons.

The Supreme Court consists of nine individuals who are appointed and not elected. In 1973 national polls made it very clear. America was against abortion. Yet, the Supreme Court legalized it in all states under any circumstances with their Roe v. Wade ruling.

The government made a decision and we the constituents were given no choice in the matter. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Popular sovereignty was used to justify slavery in southern states prior to the Civil War. The government is obliged to protect our rights. It cannot always submit to true democracy. It cannot always subject itself to the tyrannical rule of the majority.

Seventy seven percent of pro-life leaders are men. Often times propaganda ads credit this gender gap to the male inability to relate with a frightened mother’s plight. To some degree this is true.

I can relate but as a man I must do so by finding a parallel issue. I will never get pregnant, but one day I may fall under attack. I acknowledge that allowing more liberal laws surrounding the trade of firearms increases gun related accidents. I’m also a supporter of the second amendment. The core of my opinion is upheld by a simple thought. I know that if I were in the situation of a victim to some violent crime (say Kitty Genovese)…I would want a weapon.

Still, I think the real divider is our desire for control-not as men or as women, but as human beings. The male role in society has been deeply mitigated over recent years. Roe v. Wade effectively removed men from the family equation. It gave women something they haven’t had before: a large scale and politically accepted position of power over men.

Throughout history male citizens have enjoyed exclusive rights denied to female citizens. This tradition of bias began long before American slavery, and lasted well afterwards. African Americans were given voting rights well before women. Hiram Revals became a US senator in 1870, long before women had any presence in political offices. In modern times, Obama became the first black man to beat a white woman and get away with it when he won the 2008 presidential elections.

I think that’s why so many feminists cling to abortion. It’s an empowering industry. At last! After being discriminated against and treated like children for thousands of years womankind has won a victory over men! They’ve finally attained a position of privilege and if men don’t like it, tough! I think this is also the reason why so many men are opposed to abortion. They don’t want to see their parental rights or family roles further devalued. They don’t want to be omitted and they don't want women to stand above them.

Of course not all women support abortion and not all men are pro-life. I’ve been speaking very generally so far. You cannot deduce somebody’s stance on the issue based simply on rather or not they have an X chromosome. Today there are even some pro-life feministic movements.

So, there must be something more to this issue, and in my opinion there should be.

Conservatives on the issue are staunchly defending the lives of 1,300,000 unborn children every year, and that’s in America alone! Liberals on the issue are championing women’s rights! Both pursuits are honorable! Both pursuits should be respected! Neither end of this argument is made up of monsters! Neither side is ‘pro-death.’ You simply have people living according to conflicted merits, and I think it is our zealotry on this issue that proves we’re human.

So why is it that so many people seem unable to understand each other? Love is blind and rage is blinding. These are the two main emotions born in the topic, so it’s no surprise that it induces serve myopia. Otherwise logical, open minded and intelligent individuals can be reduced to screaming fanatics and blind supporters.

Even when we research abortion we're not doing so for education. We're doing so for affirmation. We want to hear somebody agree with us. We want to buttress our arguments. We want to intellectualize our opinions, though most of us (I suspect,) know deep down our opinions are arbitrary and emotional.

Most research sources available to us on the topic only encourage this habit. They’re built to be marketable not enlightening. They’re essentially infotainment more interested in providing a product we’ll purchase than initiating understanding of the issues and arguments.

So, I intend to take a new approach. I will carry my readers through a clinical analysis of both sides, summarize the key contentions, and finally print my conclusion.


  1. Will your conclusion be on whether or not abortion is ethical?

  2. I will have multiple posts to address the multiple abortion related issues. Each of these will have a conclusion apropos to the subject matter. One of them will doubtlessly address the ethics of abortion.