A Valid Question

Blogger Andrew Sullivan raises a very poignant question, and one that I hadn’t really thought about until the murder of abortion clinic doctor George Tiller. Sullivan asks:

“What interests me is why these groups target a late-term abortion doctor. By their logic, there is nothing worse in killing an eight month-old fetus than an eight-minute old one. By my logic – see The Conservative Soul – there is an intuitive reason to worry more about babies that are much more developed than an enbryo. But I can’t see why Operation Rescue would believe that. I suppose it’s better marketing, because the images are so gruesome.”

The point Andrew makes is well taken. Namely that most Right to Life members believe that the instant a sperm fertilizes an egg, a human being is created. Destroying or aborting this person, no matter how few cells they are made of, is in essence nothing short of murder. If this is true, why is it that most anti-abortion groups only target late term doctors? If they were truly honoring their convictions wouldn’t they just as aggressively defend against destroying zygotes as they would late term fetuses?

We never hear of the biochemists who develop drugs like the so-called “morning after pill” being targeted for domestic terrorism, but doctors like George Tiller have had their clinics attacked and even their lives taken. Are these conservative groups practicing their own version of situational ethics when it comes to the unborn? Or are they simply playing the media so that they can be depicted in the best possible light with the public? I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I lean towards the latter, and if true it makes the whole lot hypocrites.


  1. I think a perhaps more meaningful debate could be had on whether or not a blog that has Mario referenced in its graphics is suitable for abortion debate and conjecture. (I kid…mostly) 🙂

    That aside, I think the point being missed (or at least not directly stated in the provided quote) by Mr. Sullivan and yourself is that individuals (or groups) that would perform (or condone; either directly or indirectly though a lack of condemnation) such actions are psychopaths by definition. They have chosen to perform (or support) actions of an extreme antisocial and criminal behavior that goes against all common sense and ethical values. Vigilante justice may be sexy in the comics and “feel good” in well told westerns, but in modern society punishment for deeds or actions must be mete out by the public in a legal (socially accepted/agreed upon) format.

    I guess it might be interesting that they (and their supporters) are also hypocrites, but the larger point is to me is that they are sociopaths to begin with. Their hypocrisy on top of that is the least of my concerns. 😉

  2. Note: I realized late that your blog graphics are apparently in a rotation. Apply this newly discovered information as you see fit to my opening line. 🙂

  3. Something worth noting: The ‘Morning After’ pill is not an abortion pill. It’s a common misconception, but the pill is just an extra strong dose of the same hormones that are in birth control pills. And the intended effect is to reduce the chance of implantation of the egg.

    But your point is well taken. I believe Sullivan is probably correct in his estimation that the marketing is better for the late term abortions.

  4. SInce you title this, “A Valid Question,” I’m compelled to respond. I’m very interested in the discussion, and your honest opinions.

    On its face, though, the question erects a straw man along the lines of the old favorite, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” To even answer the question seriously validates the hypothesis, which on its face is untrue. That hypothesis is that this murderer is representative of “these groups” or most pro-life folks. He’s not, he’s just a murderer.

    But, I’ll try to answer the question anyway, if you’ll accept that I actually reject it on its face.

    The reason that late-term abortion is an easier and important target for pro-life advocates (not murderers, who are just murderers) is precisely because of what Sullivan outlines in The Conservative Soul. It is more intuitive to many people that the killing of an infant which would be viable outside the womb is a heinous act of violence. And since abortion is legal and very accepted in this country, we can’t change the opinion on the morning after pill or stem cells very easily, it’s important to nip at public opinion on the more obviously morally questionable cases.

    So, in a way, your “best possible light” comment is sort of right. It’s going to be easier to get folks to recognize the wrongness of late term abortions than the morning after pill, and just like education starts with the small and obvious facts and proceeds to less intuitive or more abstract concepts, so must the pro-life movements attempts to continue to educate follow a similar path. If we can get everyone to agree that late term abortion is wrong, it is less of a leap to clear up the brainwashing of 4 decades of legal abortion in this country.

    But, if you’re reading, let me ask you a different but somewhat similar “related question.” Why is it that so many of the pro-choice individuals I’ve talked with say, “Well, I would never have an abortion, but I’m not going to force that choice on someone else.” I don’t understand this. If it’s a human life, then you should accord it equal human rights, equal to the mother’s. But if it’s not a human life, then why wouldn’t you have an abortion yourself? Along the same lines, why do pro-choice politicians say they want to make abortion Safe, Legal, and Rare? Why rare? Well, the obvious answer is that they’re trying to appear in the most positive light and since they know that most people intuitively feel morally squeamish about abortion, that’s the way to pander to the public. Or perhaps the politicians themselves feel morally squeamish about abortion. Either way, it makes the whole lot hypocrites.

    I’ll close by reiterating that as a truly pro-life individual, my heart is broken at Dr. Tiller’s murder. It is not for human beings to kill each other. I do not think the most horrible child sodomizing serial murderer deserves the death penalty, and I certainly don’t think that Dr. Tiller (who truly believed, I think, that what he was doing wasn’t wrong) deserved murder.

Comments are closed.