Humor me for a second and imagine what the world would look like if a group of people in the U.S. stood behind and actively engaged in abuse, dismemberment, and murder. Suppose that they had managed to swing enough popular opinion to make their cruel practices legal. Suppose we formulated the best arguments we possibly could against the common slaughtering of people, yet the perpetrators just didn’t care about our arguments and refused to actually engage with them for whatever reason. In the face of such a scenario, we would find ourselves hopelessly screaming into a void of indifference concerning the evil of what was happening. This situation may sound far fetched, but a recent article by the Huffington Post indicates that those who see abortion as murder may very well be finding themselves in exactly this kind of terrifyingly futile position arguing against a moral opponent who couldn’t seem to care less about actually paying due attention to the ethical debate surrounding abortion.
The Huffington Post recently published an article called “A New Federal Court Judge Compared Abortion to Slavery. He’s Not Alone.” which was written by Chloe Angyal The article itself is a half-baked mess which makes simultaneous attempts to portray the Christian pro-lifers as hicks from the South who equate a woman’s right to “control her own body” with an antiquated economic crutch based on racial superiority, to assert through assumptive language that a woman having a right to her body really does justify abortion, to justify the existence of family planning despite charges of racial targeting, and to argue that “anti-choice” Christians really don’t care about being pro-life since they oppose so many entitlement programs.
We will address each of these issues, but this article will culminate in the realization that Angyal never really addresses the seriousness of the charge that abortion-supporters deny human beings equal rights in the same way as slaver-holders and racial supremacists. Not only does Angyal’s article in the Huffington post miss the point of the pro-life argument which it so clearly seeks to discredit, it shows a complete disregard of the point, and this should terrify those of us who would like to change abortion laws through rational discourse in the public square since rational discourse is impossible with those who refuse rationality.
Let’s start off with the article’s concern about racial targeting through abortion. Angyal’s article aptly notes that there is increased concern within the pro-life community about the way in which abortion targets communities largely composed of minorities. It is true that some quotations have been falsely attributed to Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke favorably of Sanger, but the reality is that this really does not have much to do with the general concern that minorities have had abortion promoted to them within their communities since they compose a disproportionately large amount of the impoverished urban community.
Angyal tries to spin the issue to say that white oppressors desire to limit the choices of minority women (for God knows what reason?) by exploiting trendy “Black Lives Matter” types of rhetoric, but if the claim that abortion is the murder of a human being is true, then this murderous practice does indeed target minorities. Whether or not this is due to a racial prejudice or coincidence is a topic for further debate elsewhere, but it is an undeniable statement that if abortion is murder and the denial of a person’s human rights then minorities suffer abundantly more than any other group.
But this brings us to the real question which the Huffington Post article never addressed which is whether abortion denies a person their basic human rights in the same way as slavery did in antebellum America. Angyal seemed to gloss over this question which is interesting given that it is the crux of the debate. If abortion is murder, then the “anti-choice” rhetoric in the Angyal’s article is of not true consequence since denying someone the choice to commit murder is really no true hindrance one their basic human dignity.
The Huff Po answer seemed to be that a woman has a right to her body, but the pro-life position is that the unborn child is not a part of the mother’s body and therefore not subject to the mother’s bodily autonomy. Being an entirely separate human organism developing for its own sake within the mother but not as a part of the mother’s own anatomical system maintaining her basic life functions, the baby is very much not a part of the mother’s body.
Therefore, it is irrelevant that the mother has a right to her own body. If the rights of the developing human organism are its own rather than the mother’s, then indeed it seems quite unjust to deny that human its own right to life because we fail to recognize its humanity in the same way racial supremacists and slaveholders refused to recognize minorities as fully human.
The Huffington Post article addressed none of this. It only made a feeble attempt at a counterargument to the pro-life position which is that pro-lifers really don’t care about the unborn since they don’t support entitlement programs to take care of newborns and people in impoverished situations.
This argument makes no logical sense. One’s political theory concerning entitlement programs and the proper role of civil government has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of taking the life of a defenseless human. Suggesting that the proper role of government is not to provide entitlements does not mean pro-lifers are not actively engaged in private charity to help provide for the poor. Even if pro-life advocates were the most socially heartless people on the face of the planet, that would have nothing to do with whether they are right or wrong about the humanity and human rights of unborn children.
Yet, Angyal’s argument doesn’t seem to be about logic or what makes sense. On the one hand this is great news since it means we can argue circles around her and abortion advocates who reason like her. But on the other hand, Angyal’s apathy to the logic of the pro-life position means that it doesn’t matter whether we intellectually steam-roll her and her camp or not. There is no earnest attempt displayed by Angyal to grapple with the seriousness of the pro-life claim that abortion is tantamount to slavery in the denial of humans their basic human rights.
The Huffington Post article displays a dogmatic denial of human rights to humans with no serious regard for arguments contradicting Angyal’s position. This basically means that she pays about as much attention to arguments contradicting her ethical position as a mindless flesh eating zombie.
This is a nightmare for those in the pro-life camp. The Huffington post has indicated that pro-abortion literature can criticize the position of pro-life advocates without even considering the merit of the pro-life position. Whether this is due to an inability to understand the argumentative force of the pro-life position, a refusal to do so, or both, is irrelevant. Insofar as Chloe Angyal represents the position and attitude of the Left, we may safely say that the Left is indifferent to reason. I fear that Angyal’s article represents the sentiments and level of logical interest on the abortion-supporting Left all too well.
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