Saturday, December 13, 2014

Freedom of Choice

Boy, when the pro-life crowd want to yank your heart-strings, they go all out, don't they? It's very tempting to pull an Ed and FJM this sort of guff, but let's keep it simple, because it really is.

Beyond all the usual choir-preaching, these folks are missing the fundamental element in the abortion argument, that of individual agency. This woman chose to maintain a pregnancy conceived in a brutal rape, chose to endure the dangerous and painful symptoms of preeclampsia throughout the pregnancy, chose to have and keep what she refers to as her "delicious gift from God". Well, good for her.

But her OB-GYN is Greg Brannon, a pro-life absolutist who finished a distant second to Thom Tillis in what turned out to be a rather overcrowded North Carolina Senate primary this blessed year. As you can see, Brannon is unequivocal and unapologetic about denying women their right to choose, or at least choose something other than appeasing a capricious deity whose favorite pastime seems to be testing and tormenting his most devout believers.

And that is what is so aggravating and perplexing about the most ardent pro-lifers, at the bottom of all their purple prose and professions of ultimate love, this insistence that their choice is the only one -- because for them, it quite literally is. Nothing can make them comprehend the idea that other women, other men, other families may look at the same situations and see different options and outcomes.

As always, the most intractable opponent is not the one we simply happen to disagree with, no matter how strongly. Absolute certitude is the real enemy, the inability to have any real empathy for someone else to draw their own conclusions about a highly contentious issue, and the urge to legislate and impose their morality on everyone else.

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