Inspired by this Jeffrey Feldman post, I’m putting together a post about abortion, evolution, and the dislike by some scientists of framing. Feldman argues that reframing abortion is necessary to deal with anti-abortionists like Rev. Joel C. Hunter:
Abortion continues to be one of the most hurtful and divisive facts of our nation. I come from the part of the faith community that is very strongly pro-life. I know you’re pro-choice, but you have indicated that you would like to reduce the number of abortions. Could you see yourself, with millions of voters in a pro-life camp, creating a common ground, with the goal ultimately in mind of reducing the decisions for abortion to zero?
(an aside: Stop referring to religion as ‘faith.’ It’s disingenuous. I’m done playing nice with this issue. Now back to our regular programming.)
I’ve never understood Cutler’s position: as long as women can get pregnant, some will think the most ethical decision based on their own individual circumstances is to get ‘unpregnant.’ Given this reality (after all, countries where abortion is illegal still have “decisions for abortion”), we will never reduce abortions to “zero.” So, then, the issue is what number of abortions is acceptable, or more accurately, which abortions are acceptable.
Now we’re in the ambiguous judgement zone. For example, some anti-abortionists think there should be an exception for fetuses resulting from rape. I suppose that’s because the ‘rape-exceptionists’ think rape is ickier than abortion, even though the fetus of a rapist would appear to be as ‘innocent’ as any other fetus. Others will take it farther: abortion is alright, as long as the woman isn’t ‘irresponsible’, which typically means having more sexual partners than the person passing judgement. And when you read this case given by ScienceBlogling Dr. Signout, assigning ‘icky’ and ‘slutty’ judgments to that particular scenario just seems downright impossible.
It’s not clear what Cutler actually wants, since he already has the right and freedom to convince women not to have abortions. Does he want increased contraception education? How about federal subsidies for birth control as part of Medicaid (and maybe legislation requiring private insurers to reimburse contraception)? Or does he simply want to badger people into agreeing with him theologically?
Because that’s worked so well….
Update: Go read Amanda.