I've gone a few rounds on Twitter with a pro-life Catholic man who likes to post anti-feminist, anti-contraception links to #fem2 (for those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, that's a hashtag for posts related to feminism) and #sexed. After reading one too many "Contraception isn't the answer; keeping sex inside marriage is the answer" tweets, I finally broke down and asked, "So, you have nothing to say to the 95% of people who have sex before marriage except, 'Follow my religion's rules.'?" He replied that his religion's rules were the best for everyone, and that he wasn't going to stop promoting them. I asked again, "What happens to that 95% of people? You don't want them to have contraception, so what happens?"

He never replied. I don't think he has an answer. At least if he does, I've never seen it.

I could ask the same question of so many anti-abortion politicians. So you refuse to provide public funding for contraception, because your base opposes it due to religious objections or anxiety about sex in our culture or whatever the case may be. What's next? Do you believe that people will simply stop having sex if they can't afford to get birth control on a regular basis? What's your evidence for that? What will happen if they don't? What effect will that have on the abortion rate?

So you defund Planned Parenthood. What's next? Where's the plan to ensure that women get the life-enhancing services they need — services like contraception, STD screening, and Pap smears? How do you intend to ensure that the clinics that still receive funds are able to take in all the new clients, and that clients are able to get to them? Don't get me wrong; it could probably be done with enough funding and political will, but are you doing it? What's next?

So you defund prenatal care for undocumented immigrants — over the objections of pro-life advocates, no less. What's next? What happens to babies when their mothers can't get prenatal care? Some of them die due to illness or prematurity. Others die of abortion.

We always have to ask, "What's next?" Passing a bill may feel good and earn points on an interest-group scorecard. But if what happens next is that your policies make people's actual lives harder and more painful, and you don't have any plan to do anything about it, what's righteous about that?

Comments

  1. I just heard your interview on Point Of Inquiry, and I was curious to hear your answer to something that occurred as I was listening to your explanation of your position.

    I hope it's appropriate to ask you here, it seems a little bit off topic for your post, but I was unable to find your email address.  If you feel it's inappropriate here, feel free to contact me by email.

    If I understand your position correctly, you feel that there's no definition of "personhood" that would apply to a (zygote/foetus/what have you) that would not also apply to a fully born infant.  I can see your point on that, but I wonder if that logic doesn't go the other way as well.

    Wouldn't any definition of "personhood" that applies to a (zygote/foetus/what have you) also apply to human sperm and eggs? Should we discourage masturbation?  And can a woman's menstrual cycle be considered a tragedy that occurs on a monthly basis?

    Is using the term "personhood" at all kind of missing the point?  It seems to me that this is probably more of a demarcation problem where it's a very tough question to know at exactly what point to draw the cutoff line.  But it seems to me that at one point all we have is a collection of parts, which can be ethically thrown away.  In the end we have a fully born baby which, of course, we want to protect and allow to continue living.

    But throughout the middle, it seems to me, like it's all various shades of grey.  We may not be able to come up with a very good definition of what consitutes a being that warrants our protection in order to continue to live and develop, but can we not say at least on one side we have something that we don't need to have any particular interest in protecting, while on the other end we have something completely different?