Thursday, October 14, 2010

40 Days, and no compromise

Every election cycle, we hear a cry from politicians exhorting voters to compromise on the abortion issue. Father Frank Pavone says, "No way:"
It is dismaying to hear some pro-life politicians calling for a "truce" on social issues like abortion - possible White House contenders Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour among them. Their suggestion is that it's more important to do whatever is necessary to get elected than to worry about issues that appear to be intractable.

This tactic is akin to the pro-life and pro-abortion movements agreeing to disagree, an option often considered a reasonable one. It does not require that either side change its views, but simply agrees to allow the different views, and the practices that flow from them.

Sorry, but this is a proposal we in the pro-life movement can't accept. There can be no truce.

First of all, to ask us to "agree to disagree" about abortion is to ask us to change our position on it. Why do we disagree in the first place? When we oppose abortion, we disagree with the notion that it is even negotiable. We do not only claim that we cannot practice abortion, but that nobody can practice it, precisely because it violates the most fundamental human right, the right to life. To "agree to disagree" means that we no longer see abortion for what it is - a violation of a right so fundamental that disagreement cannot be allowed to tamper with it.

To "agree to disagree" is to foster the notion that the baby is a baby only if the mother thinks it is, that the child has value only if the mother says it does and that we have responsibility only for those we choose to have responsibility for.

Read the rest here.

There can't be a truce on the abortion issue, because there are no grounds for compromise. Just as a woman can't be "a little bit pregnant," so too a baby can't be "a little bit dead." Compromising on the abortion issue always translates to "Hey, pro-life Americans, shut up about all of those 3,700 dead American babies per day, 25,900 dead American babies per week, approximately 1.3 million dead American babies per year killed by abortion. They don't really count or matter. What matters is winning elections!"

Well, no. Not if the cost is 1.3 million dead unborn children every year.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

That sounds so principled Erin, but take your position to its ultimate conclusion. If you saw a man about to plunge an ax into a thirteen year old child, would you feel justified in shooting him, fatally? I certainly would.

So, are you prepared to endorse the choices made by Eric Rudolph and Scott Roeder? If you REALLY MEAN what you say about NO COMPROMISE, that is inevitably where it will lead. If you are not willing to kill me for being prepared to accept an individual woman's individual choice, then you are wimping out on the position of "no compromise."

Those running for political office who call for a POLITICAL truce are recognizing that this issue has no POLITICAL SOLUTION. The blunt instrument of the law is not going to provide a definitive, lasting, resolution, any time in the forseeable future.

You don't, of course, have to compromise on reaching out to women to say, "This is wrong, it is always wrong, you would be killing your baby, that is a baby, don't do it."

This is roughly the same tension that is inherent in the political principle of religious freedom. If you really believe that the Roman Catholic Church was established by Christ himself to bring all of humanity to God, naturally you want it to be the Established Church. Or, as Hillaire Belloc and many other Catholics have said, the state should be closely associated with the church and support it -- but, in a country as diverse as the United States, on balance, nonestablishment is a good thing, because the Roman Catholic Church wouldn't be the Established Church anyway.

Nonestablishment was created by men (they were all men, but their women sure put their two cents worth in) who wanted to secure political unity to win a war of independence, and recognized that they were NOT of one accord spiritually. The First Amendment was written as much because they were jealous of each other's claims to supremacy as out of any good feeling or mutual recognition of inerrancy.

But that's a political resolution, and a good one. The alternative is to reignite the Thirty Years War, or to live as complete hypocrites.

Until you have won many hearts and minds, you can forget about a political solution. But your best results have come precisely from winning hearts and minds.

Tony said...

I plan to take the suggestion of Rabbi Daniel Lapin and evaluate the candidates, chose the most evil, and vote against him or her.

If there are two pro abortion candidates, I'm going to choose the one who is most pro-abortion and vote against him or her.

If there are two pro-life candidates, I'm going to decide who's the least pro-life and vote against him or her.

What I am not going to do is "stick to my principles" and not vote for anyone unless they're completely pro-life.

Patrick said...

@ Tony:

I've got a hypothetical. Candidate A says "I promise to exterminate all Jews." Candidate B says, "I promise to exterminate 90% of all Jews." Otherwise, their platforms are the same. Will you and your rabbi friend be voting for Candidate B?

(Pardon the grisly nature of the hypothetical: I just want to get a sense of whether there's a limit of evil that justifies voting third party or staying home.)

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I sometimes enjoy taking hypotheticals to their logical conclusion. I would be interested in how candidate B intends to sort out which 90% of Jews are worthy of extermination, which 10% are worthy of preservation, and why? I suspect that there is no basis, even in the current muddled, raucous politics we have been enduring, to appeal to voters on such a basis. In which case, the hypothetical is no guide to real action in the real world.

Suppose you had a choice between a candidate who said, any woman or doctor involved in abortion should be summarily executed, and a candidate who said, abortion should be permitted in case of rape, incest, or imminent threat to the life of the pregnant woman, but otherwise punishable by a substantial prison sentence? Which would be the more "pro-life" position?

c matt said...

Well, according to our enlightened liberal friends, of course the second candidate because he is obviously against the death penalty.

c matt said...

this issue has no POLITICAL SOLUTION.

That is simply not provable. There have been many attempts at political solutions, shot down by pro-abort fanatics on the SCOTUS. The current problem had a political origin - RvW, so I see no reason it cannot have a political solution. Make abortion illegal again.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

c matt, I didn't pose the question to our enlightened liberal friends. I posed it to our enlightened pro-life fellow citizens.

Your sort of "political solution" has not only been shot down by the conscientious conservators of the Constitution of the United States of America, it has also been shot down by 55% of the voters of that well-known blue state, South Dakota.

Making abortion illegal again is your rather juvenile fantasy. Try winning over every woman to choose life, and dream "What if they built an abortion clinic, and nobody came?" Doesn't seem like you could achieve 100 percent? Why does that entitle you to invoke the blunt instrument of the law?