I remember being very impressed when I read this line in Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality and Dependency, authored by feminist ethicist Eva Feder Kittay:
“I claim that grasping the moral nature of the relation between unequals in a dependency relation will bring us closer to a new assessment of equality itself.”
It’s one of the only lines I both underlined and highlighted in the book (a habit of mine). It impressed me so much because I thought I had stumbled on a terrific feminist pro-life ethic. Several pages later, however, Kittay goes on to describe her support for the right to abortion!
It was a true disappointment that Kittay had, as many people do, failed to make the connection between what she described as a “dependency relationship” and possibly the only universal experience of dependency we all have–as an utterly dependent unborn baby.
Pro-lifers are an empathetic group of people. They realize that the human condition is one of interdependent relationships often in which one person needs the help of another far more than they can ever repay. And the pro-lifers I know work to make the world more supportive of unborn human life and the medically dependent.
Contrast this ethic that takes into consideration the humanity of the unborn child and the inter-dependency of human life with the way abortion proponents speak of pro-life laws that seek to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
The Guttmacher Institute, formerly the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has recently described pro-life laws as a “Troubling Trend” which is “hostile to abortion rights.” Worse, they have tried to make the commonsense, middle-of-the-road pro-life advances of the last couple years seem like an aggressive encroachment. That way, they can cast pro-lifers as radical no matter how limited the law’s extent.
And not just radical, mind you, but specifically “hostile.” You see, Guttmacher even provides a map of the United States shaded to categorized individual states as being either “Supportive” (meaning more permissive of abortion) or “Hostile” (having more pro-life laws).
Those labels have the situation entirely backwards. When they say “supportive,” they mean hostile to the lives of unborn babies; and when they say “hostile,” they mean supportive of the right of an innocent human life to live.
In a recent analysis of the pro-life legislative gains over the last couple of years, Guttmacher lists a variety of laws it defines as hostile: laws requiring parental consent for abortions performed on a minor; requiring pre-abortion counseling; waiting periods; laws requiring ultrasound; and the like.
Sound “hostile” to you? Or don’t these examples sound like they come from a place of caring, from a place of empathy one has developed for the vulnerable, a view of life that sees the child and mother as harmonious equals, not enemies.
In their misguided (and wholly misnamed) “war on women” campaign, abortion proponents have been attacking life-affirming laws and pushing hard against laws truly supportive of an unborn child and her mother, who often finds herself in the midst of a crisis pregnancy.
Consider a letter to the editor penned by the president of the National Abortion Federation titled “Telemedicine is a safe and effective way of delivering medical abortion care.” In this context “telemedicine” refers to webcam abortions where an abortionist triggers by remote control a poisonous chemical abortifacient that the mother ingests hundreds of miles away.
What kind of twisted logic could construct a sentence that describes this depersonalized and dangerous technique as “safe and effective”?
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More recently, a NARAL press release described how lack of abortion funding in the District of Columbia had produced the “severe consequence” of 28 women unable to keep their appointments with an abortionist.
Ironically, they referred to it as part of a war, the “war on women.” If they were able to look at themselves objectively, I wonder what they would call a group of people upset that human lives are being spared?