What the Right Gets Right About Abortion and the Left Doesn’t Get

Valerie Tarico, PhD

Valerie Tarico of Away Point writes that pro-choicers have been out-maneuvered in the debate over abortion rights and must now reframe the issue. Excerpt:

We have powerful, even sacred, obligations to other persons, and we all know it. We humans are social animals, and in order to flourish we have to be able to live in cooperative communities with each other. This simple fact explains why virtues such as compassion, generosity and honesty—together with some form of the Golden Rule—lie at the heart of virtually every wisdom tradition, whether secular or religious. Our ability to care about each other, to treat the wellbeing of others as if it actually mattered and even to feel it at a gut level, is what has allowed us to build families, communities, cities and civilizations. (Tangentially, this is also why corporations have demanded the rights of personhood for economic entities and religious authorities have demanded the protections of personhood for ideologies– but that is another story.) If a fertilized egg is truly a person, then all else follows.

Conservatives get this deeply. It’s no accident that they always refer to a blastocyst, embryo or fetus as a baby. Some conservative churches feed guilt and trauma in women who have had abortions and then offer them recovery groups. In such groups, women may hold and speak to dolls with the size and look of infants rather than the peanut sized, lizard-like entity they most likely aborted. Fetus-as-baby indoctrination starts early. I once took my niece to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, an ostensibly secular museum of science and history. The museum had a display on fetal development that clearly had been funded or designed by someone with an anti-abortion agenda.  After a beautiful image of an egg being fertilized, the developmental sequence skipped ahead to the earliest stage at which a fetus looks both human and appealing and then proceeded from there.

Read the entire article here.


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