Aborting for less violence is like bombing for peace…

… and we all know what that’s like.

Sergio Cabral has been reading too much Freakonomics:

The governor of Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday said that making abortion legal could be a way to help contain violence in the crime and drugs-plagued city, one of the most dangerous places in Brazil. […]

Contain it within women’s bodies, you mean.

“If we take the number of children per mother in the well-off areas such as Copacabana or Lagoa, we see a birth rate similar to that in Sweden,” he said.

“But the slums, like in Rocinha, have a birth rate similar to Zambia or Gabon. These are the makings of misfits,” said Cabral, a 44-year-old Catholic.

(I don’t know how they do things in Brazil, but here I would regard that as a not-so-subtle attempt to whip up people’s fears about black people reproducing. Points for guessing the racial makeup of the slums Cabral’s talking about.)

Brazil has some of the worst income inequality in the world. Almost a third of its people live in poverty. Drug trafficking — very little of it done by newborn babies, it turns out — is rampant.

But none of that is the problem. That’s just how the world works. Fertile women and their children — that’s the real cause of violence. Or at least, maybe you can get enough people to believe that. Label those kids “misfits” and kill them. In a generation, your society will still be sick and millions of children will be dead, but by then it’ll be someone else’s problem. They’ll probably find some other powerless people to blame anyway.

One thought on “Aborting for less violence is like bombing for peace…

  1. “Drug trafficking — very little of it done by newborn babies, it turns out — is rampant. But none of that is the problem. That’s just how the world works. Fertile women and their children — that’s the real cause of violence. Or at least, maybe you can get enough people to believe that. Label those kids “misfits” and kill them.”

    I think we should be careful not to base our Consistent Life Ethics on outcomes. Do I believe the “freakonomics” argument that abortion lowers crime? I don’t want it to be true, but it could be! Even if certain types of killing do make the people we are talking to safer we still want them to stand against it. We want people to be committed to non-violence because it is right, even when it isn’t safe.

    Even if the Hiroshima bomb saved lives, even if capital punishment prevents crime, even if euthanizing the severely disabled does ease burdens on society, even if racial profiling gets drugs off the streets, even if torture prevents terrorist bombings, even if aborting poor babies prevents crimes –these things are inherently wrong; wrong even if society as a whole benefits from them. Violence is an excellent way of enforcing peace and stability. Violence works.

    Our job (a difficult one) is to show people a better way. Forgiveness and love are better than violence, but people have to seek peace because it is good not because it is effective. (We Americans have a bad habit of mistaking efficiency for goodness.) We often point out that if everyone practiced non-violence the world would be very safe. While this is true in theory, there has never been a fully non-violent society this side of heaven, and in this world non-violent people often end up nailed to crosses.

    Non-violence wins the hearts and minds of people not by proving better outcomes, but by living out a truth that makes them want to follow this truth despite any danger.

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