So yet another clinic is attacked, yet more people murdered, and yet again cries are heard that the real murderers are Planned Parenthood or whichever organization or whoever clinician is performing the abortions.
Jamelle Bouie had a decent point: if you really do believe that abortion is worse than slavery, that every abortion clinic is the site of mass murder, then wouldn’t you think, even a little, that Robert Dear (or Scott Roeder or Eric Rudolph or. . . ) is a little bit John Brown, a little bit righteous?
It’s a serious question, and as someone who would hopefully act politically against any attempt to reimpose slavery in this country, I don’t know that I would rule against violence to prevent a massive, bleeding, injustice.
Which is to say, I might understand those who are committed to non-violent actions to end abortion who nonetheless think, Yeah, but. . . .
None of which is to say—surprise!—that I think abortion is a massive, bleeding, injustice. And I’ve long been irritated by those who compare Roe v. Wade to Dred Scott and thus, abortion to slavery.
I did used to struggle with this (oh, hey, maybe those prolifers are making a point about the fetus) until I decided just to dismiss the entire analogy: abortion ≠ slavery.
But now I’ll come up on that analogy from the other side: abortion isn’t slavery, the fetus isn’t a slave, but the legalization of abortion was, in fact, an emancipation for women, and any attempt to make abortion illegal takes away the freedom of the woman.
Now, I may have, in that second novel that I still haven’t managed to inquire about with an agent, had one of my characters argue with another that she wanted to “enslave women”, but speaking for myself, I don’t really like that language: as a great a loss to the dignity and liberty to women it would be to lose the right to end a pregnancy, it’s not the same as—not as horrifying as—chattel slavery.
It’s bad enough, though, as the loss of dignity and liberty is no small thing.
And thus to my final point: those who decry Planned Parenthood (et. al.) as mass murderers neglect (surprise!) the women who themselves get the abortion. Abortion clinics aren’t pulling women off the street and strapping them down so that the ‘abortionist’ can kill her third-trimester baby and sell its parts; no, women are choosing, one by one by one by one, to go to a clinic to end her own pregnancy.
Some women have one abortion, some have two abortions, some have more than two abortions; each time, it the woman herself who enters the clinic, who climbs on to the table herself, who asks that her pregnancy be ended. The abortion provider isn’t doing anything to her that she hasn’t asked to be done.
I understand that many intelligent and decent people do think that abortion is horrifying and that 50,000,000+ babies have been killed in the U.S. since Roe, and are sincerely grieved by what they seen as the ‘abortion industry’ killing those babies en masse. They see abortion as a system that must be overturned as surely as the abolitionists saw slavery as a system to be overturned.
But what I see are the women, one by one by one by one, deciding, each for herself, what she can take, and what she can give, and what will be the course of her own life.
And that’s a liberty ardently to be defended.