Current Affairs Journalism Politics

Rachel Maddow On The Politics Of Abortion

Apologies to the offended but I find myself in broad agreement with this insightful, and bluntly honest, assessment of the politics of abortion offered by the US journalist Rachel Maddow on her show for MSNBC. If one believes that the medical procedure of abortion should be illegal, then those who conduct or avail of it would be breaking the law, and crime carries punishment. If the state has the legal right and obligation to exercise control over the reproductive choices of its citizens, then it must perforce police that right. If a child is raped, and that child becomes pregnant, then the government is duty bound to ensure that the victim of the sexual assault must carry the pregnancy to full term. Any interference in that gestation, any attempt to prematurely induce or miscarry, would be criminal in nature and the child, or her guardians, would be liable to prosecution. Otherwise no deterrent would exist. That is the legislative logic of the anti-abortion stance.

Related to the above, one might query why are some “pro-life” advocates, such as the recently chastened Donald Trump, excluding certain categories of pregnancy from their anti-abortion views? Invariably these categories centre on issues such as rape, incest, foetal abnormality and possible endangerment to the life of the mother. Of course, all of these are considered to be highly emotive matters, and the ones most likely to damage the pro-life case. However the question remains. Why are babies conceived through voluntary intercourse held to be inviolate, while those conceived involuntarily are held to be disposable? If you oppose abortion on the grounds that all life is sacred, regardless of the stages of development, then abortion in any circumstances is wrong. How can some pregnancies be “good” while others are “bad”? If there is a “mass foeticide” taking place in the abortion clinics of the United States and elsewhere around the world, as the pro-life extreme argue, is there an acceptable gradation of victims or number of killings? There is a basic cognitive dissonance in the anti-abortion camp when it comes to some of their arguments.

I suppose one might note that if one is also a supporter of the death penalty for certain categories of criminals, there may be the implication that certain “unborn babies” are guilty because of the method of their conception, the disabilities they may have or the health risks they may pose. These classes of unborn are thus rendered “ungodly” by their origins or imperfections. However if one rejects all such qualifications, and instead earnestly believes that abortion is a crime, an abomination, then those who aid and abet in its conduct are murderers; and murderers are subject to punishment by the law and the courts. Which brings us back to the underlying logic of the anti-choice cause, which was let slip by Trump in his infamous interview with Chris Matthews last week.

Well, those are my random thoughts on the matter. Rachel Maddow puts it better than me, so please watch the video in full.

%d bloggers like this: