You Can’t Be Pro-Abortion And ‘Personally Opposed to Abortion’ At The Same Time

Ever since Hillary Clinton announced her selection for vice president, the world has been on fire with excitement.

Tim Kaine has brought a new energy to the Democrat Party, especially among millennials. The young folks spent all weekend on their mobile cell phones and laptop machines, excitedly gabbing with their homies on Snaptalk and MySpace.com about it. Hillary Clinton really gets people, especially young people, so it’s no surprise that she absolutely nailed her VP pick.

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But a few liberal party poopers aren’t quite down with Kaine, complaining that the Democrat senator isn’t liberal enough. Among other transgressions, they cite his history with abortion. Kaine acts and votes in every way like a radical pro-abortion die hard, so to speak, and for his slavish devotion to the abortion industry he’s earned perfect grades from Planned Parenthood and NARAL. During his time in the Senate, he hasn’t met a pro-abortion bill he didn’t like, or a pro-life bill he did. He’s opposed all restrictions on abortion since 2012, including restrictions on late term abortions. Liberals demand that their adherents be perfectly orthodox when it comes to their pro-abortion dogmas, and Tim Kaine would appear to pass that test.

Yet he’s still caused some consternation in liberal circles because he claims, as a “practicing Catholic,” that he “personally opposes abortion.” He’s said many times that he supports a woman’s “right to choose,” although he personally, in his own heart, disagrees with the procedure. This clumsy, incoherent attempt at finding a middle ground between good and absolute evil has disappointed the most enthusiastic abortion fans on the left, but it has put him in the same company as many tragically confused Americans.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton fist bumps Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., after speaking at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Thursday, July 14, 2016. Kaine has been rumored to be one of Clinton's possible vice president choices. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton fist bumps Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., after speaking at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Thursday, July 14, 2016. Kaine has been rumored to be one of Clinton’s possible vice president choices. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Anecdotally, it seems this “I think abortion is morally wrong but I wouldn’t tell a woman what to do with her body” thing is among the most popular stances on the subject. A recent survey showed that only 40 percent of Americans think abortion ought to be illegal, but a full half think it’s wrong. From the same poll, almost 60 percent of the population think it should be legal in all or most cases, but only 15 percent think it’s morally acceptable in all or most cases. Tim Kaine is far from alone, and a very cynical person might distastefully theorize that he settled on this compromise precisely because it’s an attractive position to so many people.

But, despite being attractive, it’s also incredibly ridiculous. It might well be the most ridiculous idea you’ll hear expressed outside of a Scientology temple or a climate change seminar. It makes no sense at all, and it cannot survive even the most gentle cross examination. You cannot be “personally opposed to abortion” while supporting its legalization. The two positions do not fit, they are pieces from two different puzzles.

There are some things you may personally oppose without wanting to see legally banned, like, for instance, those huge wire rim glasses that girls wear to make themselves look 97 years old. But abortion is not a fashion trend. It’s an act perpetrated by one human being (or a group of human beings) on another human being. Given the nature of the act, if you do not think it should be considered moral, than you cannot think it should be considered legal.

Let’s back up and go over the basics here. I’ve thought, read, and written a lot about abortion, and in all my reflections and all my studies, I’ve only ever found one reason to oppose it. It’s a pretty solid reason, but there’s just the one. That’s it.

On the other hand, those in favor of the practice have a whole cacophony of reasons — all of them bad, many of them self-defeating– but what they lack in quality they attempt (feebly and unsuccessfully) to make up for in quantity. That’s why engaging a pro-abort so often feels like debating a rather pretentious schizophrenic.

One second they’re insisting that the “fetus” is a mere extension of the woman’s body that can be cut out and discarded like tonsils; the next they’re saying it’s a separate entity that’s somehow intruded into the mother’s body like a parasite; the next they’re claiming it isn’t developed enough to be a person; the next they’re saying even when it is developed enough to be a person it still isn’t a person; the next they’re saying even if it is a person it still doesn’t have any right to exist; the next they’re forgoing all justifications in favor of simply calling you a woman-hating bigot, and so on.

Protesters hold placards outside of the US Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters hold placards outside of the US Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The arguments don’t work with each other, and even less do they work on their own, but there are so many of them that the pro-abort hopes you won’t notice once you’ve collapsed from emotional exhaustion. The debate becomes a war of attrition, and the pro-abort expects you’ll throw in the towel merely because you’re too irritated and flustered to continue.

And still, pro-lifers are stuck with our one single argument. Only one. That’s all we’ve got. It’s a very good argument — a fabulous argument, a terrific argument, the best argument, as Donald Trump might say — but we only have one of them.

It goes like this: abortion is the murder of a human being, and it’s always wrong to murder human beings.

Murder: to directly, purposefully, and unjustly take away the life of an innocent person. This, we attest, is grievously wrong whether the innocent person is killed as a means to an end or as an end to itself. It’s murder in both cases, and so it is always wrong in every case. That’s our argument. It’s not complicated, but it’s compelling (and it also happens to be one hundred percent right).

Every person who opposes abortion, therefore, must oppose it because he has determined, A) that an unborn person is a person, B) that an unborn person is an innocent person, and thus C) that killing this person is wrong, because it would be murder, and murder is wrong. There would be no reason to oppose abortion on any level if you disagree with any of these three conclusions.

Indeed, every pro-abort disagrees with at least one of them. Often they try to knock down point A, hoping it will relieve them of the difficulty of addressing points B and C. Sometimes they skip over A and B and just deny C. You don’t often meet one who accepts A and C but takes issue with B, suggesting that the unborn child is a child, and killing her is killing a human being, but she’s actually guilty of some great crime and consequently deserves execution. Every person who supports abortion “only in cases of rape” effectively takes that position, but they wouldn’t quite put it that way.

Whatever the case, the point is that pro-lifers must agree with all three points in order to be pro-life, whereas pro-aborts need only reject one in order to be pro-abortion. And if the pro-lifer — whether he’s just a “personal pro-lifer” or not — accepts the validity of all three points but also accepts the legality of the act itself, he is settling on a fantastically ludicrous position. He is admitting that abortion is the murder of an innocent child, yet he will not support granting any legal protections to that child. This is not tenable, and to illustrate how untenable it is, imagine if we applied it to any other crime:

“I’m not personally a fan of burglary, but who am I to call the cops just because a man in a ski mask is breaking into my neighbor’s house?”

“I’m morally opposed to armed robbery, but as far as I’m concerned the issue is between the armed robber and the store clerk.”

“I admit I feel rather squeamish about kidnapping, but that guy luring children into his van has made a very difficult decision and I don’t think the government should get involved.”

“Personally, I think rape is wrong, but I won’t tell a rapist what to do with his body — or the body of his victim.”

“If it were up to me, I never would have committed a mass genocide of almost the entire Jewish population, but the Allied Powers had no right to interfere with Adolf Hitler’s personal choices.”

And so forth.

Someone who attests to the moral acceptability or neutrality of abortion will insist that these examples are absurd (they’re not). But someone who says he personally thinks abortion is immoral must see abortion as morally comparable to kidnapping, rape, and genocide. As we’ve established, he can only morally oppose it if he thinks abortion is the murder of a baby.

Yet somehow he thinks baby murder, although it is among the most heinous of violent crimes, should also be the only violent crime not prohibited by the State. Why? How can a reasonable person believe that babies are being murdered, yet they, the most innocent and helpless humans in the country, should be the only humans in the country not granted any human rights.

I can see only four reasons why a person would arrive at such an incomprehensible conclusion:

  1. He’s actually insane. I don’t think Tim Kaine fits into this category, neither does any other “personally pro-life” pro-abort I’ve ever met.
  2. He’s an anarchist. Some people think there should be no laws and no State at all. I think these people come very close to the first category, but given how this election season has gone, I can almost see the attraction to this point of view. However, I’ve never heard anyone suggest that babies shouldn’t be legally protected because, indeed, nobody should be legally protected. Every “personally pro-life” person I’ve spoken to believes that women should be protected against rape, Jews against genocide, children against kidnapping, and store clerks against armed robbery. The babies are the only ones cast out of civilized society into the anarchic dystopia where human rights no longer apply.
  3. He’s lying. I think this probably explains a fair amount of the “personal pro-lifers.” They’re not really pro-life at all. They’re hypocrites. They claim to believe something they don’t believe. Hypocrites cannot be taken seriously so no discussion with them will ever be fruitful.
  4. He’s morally depraved. I’ve listed the other options first because I’d rather believe that all of the Tim Kaines of the world fall somewhere under the umbrellas provided in options 1 – 3. But I fear that there are many who are not crazy, not anarchist, and not even hypocritical. I fear that they really do believe in the pit of their souls that abortion is the violent murder and dismemberment of a baby, yet they feel no desire and no instinct to protect these precious souls from extermination. They stare unblinkingly into the terrifying, monstrous evil of abortion — they accept it exactly for what it is, making no attempt to internally rationalize it — and then they turn their backs, ignoring the agonizing screams of the slaughtered millions as they stroll casually away. They peer honestly and observantly into the dark, cavernous void and they say conifidently, “Yes, I’m fine with this.”

God help anyone in that fourth category, especially any, like Kaine, who pretend to be devout Christians. They, fully knowledgeable and with a clear and unconfused mind, are directly siding with evil. They are looking at God and the Devil, completely understanding who is who, and then walking right to the Devil, spitting in God’s face as they pass Him by. Anyone in categories 1 through 3 is also siding with the Devil, but at least it took some level of deception to get him there. The fourth man, however, has not been deceived in the slightest. He knows exactly what he’s doing — and that’s what makes it so unfathomably wicked.

Wicked, insane, anarchic, or dishonest. Those — or some combination of them — are the only rational explanations for the people who support the legalization of something they know to be child murder. I cannot say where any of them fall in this spectrum, but I can say that it is best we not fall anywhere on it at all.

If you’re pro-life, be pro-life. Publicly and personally. Legally and morally. That’s the smartest position. And, for the sake of your own soul, it’s certainly the safest.

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