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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A short note on abortion nomenclature 


Longstanding readers know that I support lawful abortions, although short of the extent of Roe v. Wade. That said, the jargon and, frankly, the thinking of the "pro-choice" left irritates the hell out of me. Here is a good example, from a piece by The New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen about the Stupak Amendment (which would restrict the use of federal money to underwrite abortions in the House's version of the health care "reform" legislation):

Of course, if the exchange succeeds in providing affordable coverage, as Democrats hope it will, more women may switch from their current self-insured plans to exchange plans. The more health care reform succeeds, in other words, the more reproductive access will suffer. And efforts to control costs will suffer too, since childbirth is far more expensive than abortion. (Bold emphasis added, in case it is not freaking obvious.)

Really? Abortion is now "reproductive access"? It is hard to imagine a more Orwellian euphamism. One can want to hide from the reality of abortion -- doesn't everybody with a brain and a heart? -- without turning the English language in to an Orwellian stew.

The second bit is just scary. It is almost embarrassing to point out why it is just such thinking (which seem almost reflexive among "progressives") that causes conservatives to object so passionately to an even larger government role in health care. By Rosen's logic, the best way to cut costs is to have less people -- child birth is so damned expensive! -- and if you have to have people, better they die quickly than after a lifetime of expensive health care. After all, fewer people equals less health care spending! Seems we could avoid all health care spending by extinguishing the species.

And never mind the point that babies, even babies that might have been aborted, often grow up to create wealth that can pay for the health care of others. Of course, being a lefty Rosen probably does not realize that wealth has to be created, by living human beings, before it can be redistributed.

It is not easy to support lawful abortion when so many of its proponents are such fools.

13 Comments:

By Blogger john, at Tue Dec 01, 07:49:00 PM:

fha programs are effective against short note abortion  

By Blogger randian, at Wed Dec 02, 06:02:00 AM:

This is an inevitable result of bureaucratic thinking. People are not benefits but costs, because bureaucrats naturally practice short-term thinking.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 02, 06:36:00 AM:

Many people who support abortion are just average people who think that a woman should have the right to determine whether or not she is willing and able to give birth - and who can't believe this is a government issue. Yes, we must be fools.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 02, 10:30:00 AM:

Wow, it didn't take long for that particular species of straw man to emerge!  

By Anonymous tyree, at Wed Dec 02, 01:26:00 PM:

Thanks for that, Tigerhawk.
My Body, My Choice, Your Money! has been the unspoken marching chant of the left for a very long time. If they just left off the last part they would have much less opposition and much more support. They would attribute this to greed, as they always do, but in truth conservatives don't want to be forced to pay for something that they object to.

It's too bad about Rosen. He probably finished that piece and thought, "Wow, I've done a great job with this essay!".  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 02, 04:18:00 PM:

Insurance pays for a lot of things - and all taxpayers pay for a lot of things that we don't necessarily support. Taxpayers pay for wars, bailouts, etc. To single out one issue that some conservatives don't particularly want to pay for is intrusive. And also puts those privately insured at risk since providers may also back off providing abortion service due to government regulations.  

By Blogger Elise, at Wed Dec 02, 05:08:00 PM:

all taxpayers pay for a lot of things that we don't necessarily support

True. But in a democracy we at least try not to have the government pay for things that the majority opposes. A CNN poll from Nov 13-15 shows that 61% of those survyed do not think Federal funds should be used for abortion. That’s more than just “some conservatives”.

As to TigerHawk’s larger point, listening to fervent pro-choice supporters explain their positions has done a great deal to gradually convert me from very pro-choice to somewhat pro-choice to reluctantly pro-limited choice. I have much more respect for Camille Paglia’s frank statement that she supports abortion but does not lie to herself about the fact “that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful” than I do for positions like Rosen’s which Paglia describes thus:

Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Dec 03, 06:51:00 AM:

By "some" conservatives I meant that not all conservatives are against pro-choice, not that there aren't plenty on the left or elsewhere who are for or against. I have seen the polls, I just believe it is too intrusive into private matters and individual ethical choice. And to change your opinion based upon your annoyance with "fools" seems to overlook the underlying heart of the matter.  

By Blogger Elise, at Thu Dec 03, 12:35:00 PM:

Abortion is a private matter. Paying for it with taxpayer money is a public matter.

I didn't change my opinion because I was annoyed by fools. I changed my opinion because I found the pro-choice arguments - especially those for late-term abortion - less and less morally defensible. I don't know if those doing the arguing changed (a la Rosen's comments about how much cheaper abortion is than childbirth) or if my viewpoint changed but the more pro-choice justification I heard the less convinced I was.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Dec 03, 01:32:00 PM:

Got it. I am not fond of the public option idea myself, would rather see this happen "privately". That said, if there is a public option, I don't want to see it eat away at pro-choice options overall which I fear it might.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sat Dec 05, 12:17:00 AM:

I understand Elise's comment. Annoyance with fools is not sufficient reason to change one's opinion - else no one would have an opinion about anything. But arguments that don't hang together well, or resort to pettiness and insult, or seem to hide key features are usually an invitation to most of us to look more closely at the larger questions. We sometimes then find that the foolish arguer does indeed have weak arguments.

Anonymous, did you really mean to write "overlook the underlying heart of the matter?" That irony alone should provoke you to serious thought.  

By Blogger Elise, at Sat Dec 05, 08:27:00 PM:

Thank you, AVI - I wish I’d been able to explain myself that clearly. (Should I worry that someone called “Assistant Village Idiot” is more articulate than I am?)

Anonymous, there are a couple of recent interesting - and somewhat opposed - posts on the impact of government health insurance on the availability of abortion, one from Astarte’s Circus and one from Megan McArdle.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Dec 05, 09:50:00 PM:

Yes, I did mean to write "the underlying heart of the matter". It is a tough and heartwrenching issue and I agree with TH's commentary on the problem with euphemisms.

Thanks, I will look at the posts.  

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