April 9, 2016

A Call For Soul-Searching

She's an iconic feminist, an atheist, and unreservedly pro-abortion. But Camille Paglia has a message for the pro-choice movement in her latest column at Salon. I am excerpting briefly below, but please go read the whole thing. It's one of the most thoughtful pieces I've read on this divisive topic in recent memory.

... U.S. politics have been entangled and strangled for far too long by the rote histrionics of the abortion wars, which have raged since Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that defined abortion as a woman's constitutional right under the 14th Amendment. While I am firmly pro-choice and support unrestricted access to abortion, I have been disturbed and repelled for decades by the way reproductive rights have become an ideological tool ruthlessly exploited by my own party, the Democrats, to inflame passions, raise money, and drive voting.

[...]

Despite my pro-abortion stance (I call the term pro-choice "a cowardly euphemism"), I profoundly respect the pro-life viewpoint, which I think has the moral high ground. I wrote in "No Law in the Arena": "We career women are arguing from expedience: it is personally and professionally inconvenient or onerous to bear an unwanted child. The pro-life movement, in contrast, is arguing that every conception is sacred and that society has a responsibility to protect the defenseless." The silence from second-wave feminists about the ethical ambiguities in their pro-choice belief system has been deafening.

[...]

Although I am an atheist who worships only great nature, I recognize the superior moral beauty of religious doctrine that defends the sanctity of life. The quality of idea and language in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example, exceeds anything in grimly utilitarian feminism.

[...]

There are abundant contradictions in a liberal feminism that supports abortion yet opposes capital punishment. The violence intrinsic to abortion cannot be wished away by magical thinking.

[...]

Progressives need to do some soul-searching about their reflex rhetoric in demeaning the pro-life cause.

Posted by dan at April 9, 2016 12:55 PM