This little essay was composed before the wonderful news from Roman Catholic Ireland: a thunderous yes to legitimizing abortion. Now if only other Catholic countries would share the pluck of the Irish.
Because if only the alt right were against abortion, as well as only the NRA were against gun control, such a piece as follows were not needed. But unfortunately abortion is opposed even by less extremist persons, so here goes. Because only a woman’s body, a woman’s safety, is involved in abortion, it is she and not a man who should have the last word about it. But when is something actually so merely because ideally it would be?
It seems to me that when a woman wants an abortion it is because she sees herself unable or unwilling to cope with parenting. Surely a lot of persons make for bad parents, often because they themselves have had bad ones, or simply because of the difficulty of the task.. It is just barely possible that a would-have-been aborter falls in love with her baby, but that would seem to be too good to count on. How good a driver would a person suffering from carsickness make? How good a couturier would a nudist make? Many people think that where there is already a heartbeat, it is too late in the game for abortion. Maybe so, but it is hard to determine what is absolute life or absolute death. What about a corpse still growing hair and fingernails? Does that make it alive? Even leaving a an unwanted newborn on the doorstep of a hospital or police station is poor guarantee for its prospects.
Assuming that an unwilling mother is pregnant in a country where abortion is illegal, what else can the woman do? If she has enough money, she can travel to another country where abortion is legal. If not, all sorts of horrors await. There is abortion by some quack or other, which can have serious consequences, or, worse yet, there is the notorious attempt by a woman at self-administered abortion, most often with knitting needles, from which no good can come.
Suppose, however, that an illegitimate birth succeeds, and the infant grows up into manhood or womanhood, is there not often enough whispered hostility in many a community against so-called bastards? This also because of the problems in an unenlightened society of fighting off the onus of being different in any way. There the effort can cause much misery for the guiltless bastard. Granted the existence of the popular euphemism “love child,” and some people’s belief that such children grow up more passionate, there is the opposite belief that they will remain forever outsiders. Famously, Edmund, the villain in “King Lear,” invokes the gods to stand up for bastards, but, at least as far as that great play goes, they don’t.
Te most obvious example of the argument against illegitimate motherhood is in the child murders in Klinger’s and Goethe’s dramas, even if the deed is viewed with deep compassion. It is always the story of an innocent maiden being beguiled by a ruthless male, and then being severely punished for something she cannot help. But for such infanticide to be taken as a serious consequence of illegitimacy by the broad audience is like hoping that, because bees sting, we should give up on apiculpture altogether and miss out on honey.
It is interesting to note the comment of the famous lawyer, Florynce Kennedy that “if men would get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” Well, abortion will never be a sacrament, but neither should it be a crime. It is, rather like euthanasia, also considered criminal by many, even if in the case of intense, incurable suffering it is rather a blessing. And what about a teenager becoming pregnant? From such a one successful parenting is, I repeat , unlikely, and could have been avoided with a little bit of prophylaxis. How much space in your wallet or pocket does a condom require?
Yet from people not capable of such minimal precaution, how can we expect the intelligence required for making good parents--not the easiest thing in the world.
Let us consider for a moment how in Roman times the equivalent of abortion was handled. If a newborn proved defective in any way, the baby was allegedly tossed off Mount Taigetus for riddance. This may be merely a legend, but it sounds disquietingly convincing enough.
As for my opinion on the matter, as this blog entry I hope makes clear, I am very much in favor of abortion. And I can name quite a few people whom the world would be a better off without, had they been aborted--starting with persons very high up. In such cases, one yearns for more, much more abortion. It is conceivable, however, that even with only as much abortion as there is, things are at least that much better than would have been the case without it.