Introduction To “Thoughts On What An Ethical Solution To The Abortion Ethics Conflict Might Look Like, Part 2: A Solution” [Updated]

Uncle_Toms_Cabin_by_Harriet_Beecher_Stowe

I’ll post the 25 stipulations from Part I at the bottom of Part II for easy reference; I’ll be quoting the number in some cases. But not right now…I realized that an introduction is necessary.

It’s important to clarify an essential point up front: as long as the two sides in the abortion controversy refuse to acknowledge the validity of the other side’s interest and concern, no solution to the problem is possible, and until that point, it is almost a waste of time discussing it. In this respect, it is like another ongoing ethics conflict, the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. (That one I believe is hopeless, and the only solution is an unethical one: a war that leaves one side or the other standing. That may happen; I don’t see it as a likely resolution of the abortion question.

Related to this condition precedent to any resolution is the fact that the pro- and anti- abortion sides (Let’s send “pro-life and “pro-choice” to ethics hell where they belong) must stop demonizing the other. That practice makes compromise and literally impossible, and a problem like abortion cannot be addressed ethically without the recognition that balancing of interests must occur at some level.

In this area, abortion separates itself from the ethics and human rights dispute it most resembles. The analogy is useful in some respects (as we shall see), but not in the area of compromise. The period preceding the Civil War was a fiasco of attempted compromise regarding slavery, and every attempt made the situation worse, more unethical, more unjust, and more contentious. Slavery really is an absolutist problem: it is absolutely wrong, and there are not ethical principles on both sides, unlike abortion. The pro-slavery case was economic, making slavery an ethics dilemma (non-ethical considerations vs ethical ones), unlike abortion. Because abortion is an ethics conflict, each side must accept a solution that is partially unethical, or there will never be a solution.

An aspect of the problem that is analogous to slavery, however, is the need for some cultural thunderclap to shock the apathetic and open-minded into reality. In the case of slavery, it was the 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Suddenly hundreds of thousands of Americans who had never considered the issue realized that blacks were human beings, not property, not distantly-related primates, but people, and the clarity triggered a cascade of ethical conclusions. The Golden Rule applied. Empathy kicked in. What was once seen as mere commerce was recognized as cruelty and brutality. Defenders of slavery who were once successful using the argument that slaves weren’t human lives at all (sound familiar?) had to retreat to rationalizations, like calling slavery a “peculiar institution” and tradition ( The “Everybody Does It” adaptation “It’s always been this way”) and “They deserve it,” a version of ruthless Rationalization #2A, “They had it coming.“ At that point, the battle was lost; we just had to fight a war to make the change in public perception clear.

I don’t know how, when or if such a catalyst will arise in the abortion issue. The Left so dominates literature, art and entertainment that it will take a luck and inspiration for abortion’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” to get written, much less published.

In 2005, much-derided action director Michael Bay [“Transformers,” “Armageddon,” etc.] produced and directed a gutsy anti-abortion allegory, “The Island.” In that film, wealthy people had clones of themselves warehoused on an island until the the originals needed an organ or three. The clones had no rights, and the abortion metaphor could have hardly been more obvious: the deceived and exploited clones were nourished in a giant amniotic sac. But critics trashed the film, and did so without even referencing abortion, just to make sure nobody paid attention. Nobody did.

In contrast, the pro-abortion forces got their “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in the dystopian film of “The Handmaiden’s Tale.” It was and is a dishonest and hysterical bit of fear-mongering, and one that, of course, pretends that unborn children aren’t human enough to warrant consideration.

Absent something that causes a tipping point in public opinion on the same level of influence as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the approach to abortion I offer in Part 2 is, and will ever be, impossible.

[This is the end of the post. The white space below apparently can’t be eliminated, and I have no idea why. Some readers have expressed concern that text is missing. No, just a user-friendly platform. Part 2, for which this is an introduction, will be in a separate post-JM]

[Update: The white space vanished as soon as I posted the above. But I don’t know it it will return if I delete it, so it’s going to stay.]

20 thoughts on “Introduction To “Thoughts On What An Ethical Solution To The Abortion Ethics Conflict Might Look Like, Part 2: A Solution” [Updated]

  1. The pro-abortion folks have it right where they want it right now, and they don’t want it to change. Neither do most single women, whose numero-uno priority is free, cheap sex without consequences, or feminists, to whom the unfettered right to kill a gestating child right up to the moment of birth is an article of faith. Most of these women have pussywhipped their men into submission. So, that’s a strong case things will never change, until artificial wombs are possible.

    • I know it’s not true of all men, but… it doesn’t take pussywhipping to get plenty of men to agree that single women having free, cheap sex without consequences is a priority.

      In “Hills Like White Elephants,” it wasn’t the woman talking herself into it.

    • “… most single women, whose numero-uno priority is free, cheap sex without consequences … .”
      Wow! Wonder what study that came from. It sure is quite a bit different from what I’ve read. Unless, maybe you just mis-typed ‘men’.

    • “Neither do most single women, whose numero-uno priority is free, cheap sex without consequences.” I would be furious if this weren’t so ridiculous. Steve-O, you have such a negative opinion of women. I’m not sure how this happened, but this is not okay.

  2. The date is incorrect on Uncle Tom’s Cabin

    “Related to this condition precedent to any resolution is the fact that the pro- and anti- abortion sides (Let’s send “pro-life and “pro-choice” to ethics hell where they belong) must stop demonizing the other.”

    When *increasingly* larger portions of the pro-abortion side stop openly celebrating abortion and fetishizing it to a cult-like level, I’ll stop demonizing them.

    It isn’t the value of “autonomy” versus “life”. No one is stopping anyone’s autonomy when they expect them to live with naturally expected consequences of decisions they make that impose upon them higher ethical values… in this case life.

    The so called “value” of the pro-abortion side is “comfort”, “convenience” and yes personal “economics”. So it very much is like the ethics *conflict* of slavery. No conflict here except in the minds of those who want to pretend that when their autonomy leads to the rights of others being squished, well, indeed that is where their rights end. It is indeed a dilemma because it compares comfort and convenience to innocent life.

    This is easy.

    It’s only hard because almost half the nation believes that way. But popular beliefs aren’t automatically true.

    No, much like slavery, there is only one way. Complete victory for one side.

    • Then there will be no victory for either side, and millions of lives will be forfeit. That’s letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and therefore unethical. What one can do to improve a situation is more ethical than holding out for what one can’t do.

      • Amusingly enough, despite the rhetoric in the main essay, one side actually has been amenable to necessary compromises.

        I’ve seen leftists float ideas of compromise on the idea that the anti-abortion crowd would balk and walk away from the table…because leftists have no idea what the opposition wants and only have this notion that the anti-abortion crowd are literally Taliban caricatures.

        Only when the conservatives agree, the leftists end up walking away. Because for them there is NO compromise. At all.

        There is a solid amount of conservatives, for whom total victory is merely getting tax dollars out of the baby-killing industry. That’s a bridge to far for leftists.

        I’ve seen leftists (operating under the notion that conservatives just want to punish promiscuous women) demand “OK, if you want the mother to carry the child to term, then the father should be made to support the child!!!”

        Conservatives say “YES!” Leftists walk away from the table.

        Leftists have demanded that somehow the mother should be able to insure an unborn child. My response? Ok…you can find any insurer willing to insure things after they’ve run the financials and risk analysis. How’s that an objection? Leftists walk away. Because they want abortion for the most part to the 3rd Trimester and some beyond that.

        Leftist “compromises” are:

        1) bad faith attempts to make conservatives balk at the negotiation table, such as above.
        2) bad faith attempts to get conservatives to compromise on principles for a tiny fraction of unwanted pregnancy cases, and when compromised, demand the principle apply across the board – like rape and incest.
        3) bad faith attempts to get conservatives to defend those principles and pretend like it’s proof that the entirety of the anti-abortion stance is unreasonable.
        4) bad faith attempts to shoe-horn in other leftist goals in society – such as subsidized lifestyles and state-run welfare systems

        No, the left doesn’t care about compromise. And what most conservatives would consider a “victory” actually would consist of basic compromises with an eye to properly weighted ethical values. And if that “victory” looks like something unconditional and will draw this battle out indefinitely…. ok…. the blood isn’t on the hands of those fighting *for* baby’s lives.

  3. Jack wrote, “Absent something that causes a tipping point in public opinion…”

    Wouldn’t a ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States medically defining when a human being becomes a human being and therefore at that point in its development the unborn human being has inalienable human rights solve the problem.

      • Nah. The pro-abortion crowd thrives on the “eliminate people before they can suffer” line of reasoning. Shoot, didn’t Spartan get a COTD on just that point? No, one preemie with a medical degree would be one drop in the bucket compared to the “joy” of liquidating millions of minorities or children likely born into poverty.

        They don’t care about a possibility that can never be disproven.

      • Jack Marshall wrote, “I think it would take a preemie well before the “viability date” to live, thrive, and get a medical degree. Or something like that…”

        I’ve got no problem with your thoughts on this, but, since you did say “absent something that causes a tipping point in public opinion…” and the something that could cause a tipping point in public opinion that I was theorizing about was wouldn’t a ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States medically defining when a human being becomes a human being and therefore at that point in its development the unborn human being has inalienable human rights” be something that would actually cause that tipping point in public opinion you referred to?

        It’s possible to shift public opinion using the SCOTUS, isn’t that what happened with Roe v. Wade?

        • Let’s suppose that the Supreme Court saw a good opportunity to define what is meant by human being (I believe a definition of ‘person’ would be more apt since that term is used throughout the Constitution). What then? The 14th Amendment specifies that no state shall deprive a person (and not just citizens, but any person, from a strict reading of the text) of their rights, the right to life being most pertinent here, without due process. But, Roe v. Wade asserted the right of States to establish that due process. So, how would a definition change things?
          Taking the life of persons after they are born is something that is done routinely, such as in capital punishment or warfare, and it is something that many who oppose abortions do not oppose. Due process and reasonable cause are considered to be essential.
          It might be helpful to the argument if pro-abortionists could more readily acknowledge that it is a human life that is being ended and if anti-abortionists could more readily acknowledge that it is not only the government that can determine reasonableness.

          • Here’s Johnny wrote, “Let’s suppose that the Supreme Court saw a good opportunity to define what is meant by human being”

            That’s not exactly what I’m talking about. We actually already have an accepted definition of human being…

            Human Being: noun a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.

            I’m talking about medically and legally defining the specific point in time that a human being becomes a human being (as in being physically alive) and therefore has inalienable human rights. It’s already been medically and legally defined when a human being physically dies, their heart stops beating. The other end of life cycle needs to be formally defined both medically and legally before we as a culture/society can properly move on to a reasonable consensus on the legalities of abortion. Pro-Abortionists do not want this to be done unless they are 100% positive that it will be at the same point it is now or moved to the later point of birth so abortions can continue as is.

            A human being that legally dies (as in their heart stops beating) is still considered a human being after they are no longer “alive”. Now apply all that to the opposite end of the life cycle.

            • I think the extreme wing of pro-abortionists would be quite comfortable with the definition of a human being that you cited. Those open to infanticide, too.
              I still would prefer a definition of person; ‘human’ is not in the Constitution; person is, many times. But it seems that kind of determination has been punted to the states; they are prohibited by the 14th Amendment from denying persons their rights, so, about a half a dozen states say, in effect, that a fetus is not a person until birth.

  4. I know Ethics Alarms holds Project Veritas in the lowest of esteem but their videos may just rise to the level of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in their abject ghoulishness, watching Planned Parenthood agents talk about selling baby body parts, stem cells, etc. The tactics might be objectionable but nobody has refuted the content. Ergo . . .

    jvb

  5. In 2005, much-derided action director Michael Bay [“Transformers,” “Armageddon,” etc.] produced and directed a gutsy anti-abortion allegory, “The Island.” In that film, wealthy people had clones of themselves warehoused on an island until the the originals needed an organ or three.

    Not to be that guy, but they were not warehoused on an island, they were in an underwound facility in the dessert. The island was where the “lucky” ones would go when they won a lottery, although in reality it meant they were going to be harvested.

    It is actually a pretty good movie.

  6. Films like “Unplanned,” “40,'” and “Gosnell” are pretty powerful anti-abortion films, but were not strongly promoted except among that “Christian Conservative” demographic you have mentioned. I agree with all the points Michael West made concerning compromise with the Left.
    In many ways, our current pro-abortion policies are part of an upside-down equation where potential scientists, engineers, surgeons and world leaders are allowed to be killed on demand before birth, but murderers, rapists, robbers and other serial predators are allowed to continue to draw breath long after their negative societal worth has been established by our legal system. “Retroactive abortion” for those people has much more logical appeal to me than killing the unborn.
    We will have to agree to disagree that “we just had to fight a war to make the change in public perception clear” concerning slavery. Mr. Lincoln chose to fight a war for reasons of his own, none of which involved ending slavery.

  7. Something else I have noticed a couple of months back (and for perspective I have always been, and continue to be on the pro abortion / pro choice side of this dilemma) was that while watching an unrelated youtube video to the subject at hand, the commentator made an interesting statement. I have to paraphrase as I do not remember exactly but he said something like “and people who want to curtail a woman’s right will insist that life begins at conception”, which I found to be a rather odd statement, as it is obviously true, yet he was acting as if this was some weird conservative anti science propaganda (and again, this is coming from someone who is basically on the same side of the debate as this guy).

    Frankly, if they cannot deal honestly with simple biological facts I am not sure where you end up going from there. I see this all over the left anymore… there is a pathological conformity to dogma regardless of what facts are. Now, don’t get me wrong, I see it on the right as well, but this is supposed to be anathema to what a “liberal” stands for. It is one thing to see dogma coming from someone ensconced in religion, but for one that is allegedly about rationalism free thought and evidence to indulge in this boarders on heresy (and I am aware of the irony of that word’s usage in this context).

  8. Rusty Rebar,
    What you’re talking about are classic liberals as opposed to modern day Liberals (see below).

    Totalitarian minded so-called “progressives” have consumed the political left, they’ve eaten all the classic liberal ideals for breakfast and then they spit them out before lunch leaving nothing behind but vague memories of a quaint anecdote of history and a fully consumed totalitarian hive mind.

    liberal: adjective 1. willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas. 2. relating to or denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.

    Liberal: noun supporter of political policies that are socially progressive and promote social welfare.

    Classic liberals have been socially canceled.

    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

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