No middle ground

by Roger Resler

Following Anna from Las Vegas’s not-so-complimentary review I noticed that James from Canada, had a different reaction to the book:

My reaction to this book was in stark contrast to the previous reviewer. She is absolutely right that those that have made up their minds on the abortion issue will find this book most helpful. However, pro-choice advocates react to “screeds” such as this with the same vitriol, unsubstantiated by fact. Compelling interest is an excellent tool to expose one’s true point-of-view on the subject of abortion. Contrary to the opinion of the previous reviewer, there is no middle ground on this issue. Pro-life advocates are accused of closed-mindedness. Ey tu Brute?

James is correct: There is no middle ground on this issue in spite of the fact that many people long for middle ground. People wanted middle ground in the mid-1800’s with regard to the problem of slavery; but “middle ground” included such things as looking the other way when human beings were bought and sold, separated from families, and then beaten and lynched for attempting to escape the tyranny. Being “neutral” meant that you were expected to report and return runaway slaves. How can middle ground exist in the face of such injustice?

The problem with abortion is the same problem that made slavery morally impermissible: it violates basic human rights. People disagreed over whether black humans should be protected by the Constitution and those who believed they should not attempted to justify their belief by suggesting that black humans were inferior to white humans. They were not “part of the people.” Abolitionists disagreed. The question of the moral permissibility of slavery was highly controversial, just as the question of abortion is today. Yet slaveholders wanted the law to sanction their desire to own slaves, which can only be morally permissible if their racist philosophy is correct. If the abolitionists were correct, then slavery was immoral.

It is exactly the same situation today with regard to abortion. Those who desire legal abortion want the law to continue to sanction their desire to kill fetuses, which can only be morally permissible if their pro-choice philosophy is correct. If the pro-lifers are correct, then abortion is immoral. Both sides cannot be right.

Pro-choice philosophy can’t establish itself as correct (and most pro-choice advocates don’t even attempt to). It can only assert its alleged correctness in the face of both hard evidence and basic intuitions that run counter to the assertion much like slaveholders asserted their racism was the correct way to think about skin shades when basic intuitions said there is something wrong with that. After Dred Scott we had slavery based on skin shade discrimination. After Roe v. Wade we have legalized abortion based on age discrimination. Both forms of discrimination are equally irrational and equally appalling in their violation of human rights.

Neither of these forms of discrimination offer room for middle ground. And in both cases, it was not possible for both of the opposing sides to be correct. It could not be morally permissible for southerners to own slaves but not northerners. It was either morally permissible for all or for none. Today, contrary to popular opinion, it is not morally permissible for pro-choice people to choose abortion (in the absence of life-threatening pregnancies) but not for pro-life people. If pro-lifers are correct when they assert that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, then abortion (in the absence of life-threatening pregnancies) is immoral for all, not just for those who recognize the immorality.

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