Friday, July 24, 2009

Legislating Morality

Proponents of less stringent restrictions on abortion will typically say that they are personally opposed to abortion, but do not want to impose their morality on others. This position is invalid on two counts.

Firstly, legislation of any kind involves imposing the legislators view of morality on others. Try to think of any legislation that doesn't involve either encouraging actions that are perceived as good or discouraging things that are bad. Murder is perceived as wrong, and is outlawed. Entitlement programs are enacted on the moral principle that the poor need assistance, and that the more well off ought to provide for them. Even with the most amoral legislation, the act of legislating says that our elected officials have a moral right to pass legislation regulating the lives of others. People have no problems legislating their morality on others. It is our legislators' job. We elect them to do precisely what, in the case of abortion, they say that they have no right to do.

Secondly, particularly in the case of abortion, the position that a person opposes an issue personally and yet does not want to impose his morality on others makes little sense. The position begs the question, "why do you oppose abortion personally?" If the answer is that he believes that a fetus is a human being and terminating a pregnancy is thus murder, then he really has to impose his morality on others, just as he feels free to do with ordinary murder. If he does not believe that a fetus is a human being, there is literally no reason to oppose destroying one. You may as well oppose destroying cancerous tumors, or amputating legs, or any other sort of tissue killing activity.

The fact of the matter is that the abortion question revolves around one critical question, "at what point does a fetus become a human being?" The proverbial "everyone" agrees that killing human beings is wrong. Therefore, whether your answer is at conception, or at any other time than conception, you must provide legal protection for those human beings. The only reason to be personally opposed to abortion is if you feel that a fetus is a human being. So let's stop letting our gutless legislators get away with sophistry like Hillary Clinton's "safe, legal, and rare" and hold them accountable to being our enforcers of morality. Because that is precisely what they are every time they pass a law.


  1. Morality is not relative and there is no such thing as a 'relative truth'. The same moral code applies to all mankind, and there are absolute truth's that exist for all mankind as well. The debate over whether abortion is right or not, or gay marriage, or the myriad of other 'heated' political and moral issues will never end with the current system of government and the social and media-influenced society that dominates most of the civilized world. It is unfortunate, but the only thing we can do is hope that enough people can eventually stand up for what is right and change the world.

  2. Safe, legal and Rare drives me crazy.

    Simply put....Why rare?

    that's it. Why rare? If there's no moral question then why rare? The cost? It's less expensive than raising a child. The discomfort? It's less uncomfortable than childbirth.

    So why rare?

    It's all arrogance. They don't mean rare, but they latch that on to safe and legal as an out for their own horrible choices.

  3. This is a little bit of an aside, but I've been wondering lately about what our society would be if there were not laws - are there enough at least sort of sane people out there that we would impose social restrictions on things that hurt others - or would someone have figured out a way to make money imposing those restrictions on those things, lets say traffic? would we be more likely to follow social regulation than legislative regulation? if it was our idea rather than someone else's?