Jane Galt’s at it again: Back in the good old days, she argues, women got abortions so their lives wouldn’t be destroyed from the shame of being unwed mothers. By contrast,
we are now having abortions so that we can have a really great career, instead of a mediocre one; so that we will not get stretch marks, hemorrhoids and that baby pooch; so that we can afford to have the really nice house, car, and stereo that we’ve always pictured ourselves with; so that we can find a great guy to marry; so that we can have a youthful, carefree college experience instead of a harried, burdened one. We are having abortions, instead of giving up our babies for adoption, so that we will not face the inevitable stigma from our bosses, our friends, and our families, who will wonder what kind of a heartless woman gives up the baby she bore rather than raising it.
Galt says she’s opposed to banning abortion, but here is one reason she claims makes the
pro-life anti-sex argument more tenable: abortion is used as a convenience. Hey, if the only impact of banning abortions was to give the self-obsessed rich bitches of the world a piece of humble pie, I’d be all for it.
But think about it: if these money- and status-grubbers had their babies, they’d still be just as obnoxious — it’s just that now they’d have kids, too. They’d be the ones screaming at the McDonald’s clerk for not removing the pickles from their daughter’s cheesburger. They’d be the ones ruining the school play with their camcorder on a tripod in the front row. They’d be the ones demanding that their next door neighbor babysit their kids on a snow day because “she’s home anyway.”
The idea that pregnancy and child-rearing are an appropriate “punishment” for irresponsible sex is simply ridiculous. Why should we legislate that the most irresponsible among us are required to bear and rear children? What good does that do for the children? For the rest of us who must live with those children — and their parents?
Galt claims that abortion is justified the same way that war is justified: just as it’s sometimes legitimate to kill people in a war, sometimes it’s legitimate to terminate a pregnancy. I disagree. I think it’s always sad when a real human dies; I just can’t work up any emotion at all about the plight of a blastocyst — or a fetus, for that matter. Something that has less consciousness than the chicken I had for dinner the other night is not worthy of my sorrow.
Galt claims that the key difference between abortion and birth control is that a child is “inevitable” once the pregnancy begins. Since abortion destroys this future child, it’s a graver sin than preventing the pregnancy in the first place. I don’t buy this line of reasoning either. The reason murder is wrong is that it ends the life of a conscious being and destroys the human bonds that have been created over a lifetime. An unwanted fetus is neither conscious nor loved.
Some people might claim that they love a fetus, but what they really love is the idea of the child that the fetus could become. I had similar feelings about my kids before they were even conceived. If Greta and I had decided not to make love that night 15 years ago, no human bond would have been destroyed, even though we loved the idea of having a child. If Greta had miscarried, she and I would have been devastated, but only because we had spent so much time imagining the life we would be building together, not because a real person died. When someone chooses to have an abortion, they might be upset about it because they can imagine having a child, but it is nothing like killing a real human being.
Galt likes to use graphic descriptions of the abortion process in order to bring her point home — it’s the “gross-out” argument. Abortion is “icky,” therefore it’s wrong. But any medical procedure can be described in equally graphic terms. Is hemmorhoid surgery “wrong”? And speaking of ickiness, I wonder if Galt has changed any diapers recently. Perhaps babies are “wrong,” given all the puke, shit and other effluents they so prolifically spew into the world.
It can be funny to imagine some former beauty queen now burdened with stretch marks, desperately cleaning her unwanted baby’s spit-up off her Gucci purse. It’s not as funny to think of a 14-year-old girl dropping out of school to raise a welfare baby. It’s not as funny to realize that the prudes that don’t want to teach teenagers about responsible sex apparently want these same teenagers to raise the next generation. It’s uncomfortable to talk to your kids about sex; it’s easier to scare them with the prospect of an unwanted child. It’s easy to talk platitudes about adoption. It’s much harder to find someone to raise the child of a crack addict.
One thing is certain: if Jane Galt’s logic on abortion wins out, we’re going to need a lot more day care centers in our high schools.