In which I piggyback on the brilliance of others.
Amba writes about the humanity of the unborn, the humanity of women, the precariousness of women’s lives, and her own abortion in powerful, passionate language. She’s pro-choice, but reluctantly so, and believes that the culture must change to acknowledge what’s at stake in every abortion — the death of an individual human being. I’ve seen the ideas she discusses here before, but I have rarely seen them expressed with such grace. Some passages will be uncomfortable for pro-lifers, others for pro-choicers, and that’s good. Whatever conclusion you ultimately reach, I think that if you haven’t grappled with the issues Amba raises, you haven’t thought your position through as fully as you could.
Just a bit more recently, Fred at Slacktivist compared U.S. society’s acceptance of prison rape with the despicable practice of “extraordinary rendition”.
One thing that both posts have in common is the idea that we should avoid violent acts not only because they harm their victims, but also because they degrade those who engage in or tolerate them.
In a way I think we do more harm to ourselves, and to the fabric of reality, than we do to the individual who will never be. How desensitized do we have to be to destroy this astounding, tiny thing, a complete human being rapidly spinning itself out of next to nothing? If you’re not ready to keel over in awe of that, for Godsake get yourself a shot of Depo-Provera.
Accepting abortion as no big deal requires regressing rather than advancing in our higher qualities, awareness and gratitude. It is definitely a part of the Darwinist culture that takes pride in our being nothing more than fancy animals driven by brute self-interest.
Fred, meanwhile, quotes Hilzoy:
But sympathy is not our only reason for not torturing and raping people. There’s also self-respect: the thought that whatever someone else might choose to be like, and even if that person has chosen to be Jeffrey Dahmer, there are certain things that I will not choose to do, because I do not want to be the sort of person who does them.
So, great posts. Go read ’em.