Hnn | HNN Articles

Abortion: "Morally Equivalent" Doesn't Mean "Politically Equivalent"

 

From Sexual Intelligence
June 17, 2009

Marty Klein, Ph.D.The President spoke eloquently this week on the need for Americans to find common ground on the issue of abortion. He made a start by naming the ONLY common ground--the desire of almost everyone to reduce the number of abortions done each year.

And that's the end of the "common ground" conversation. People don't even agree on WHY they want fewer abortions. Some people think abortion is a bad thing. Other people think the need for abortion is a bad thing.

The anti-choice side (we're ALL pro-life, after all) says it takes a "moral" position--that abortion is wrong. The pro-choice side says it takes a "moral" position--that adults should have personal autonomy.

So OK, everyone has a moral position on abortion. These positions may conflict, but they're both based on a moral vision. Neither side can logically deny that--these positions are based on equally heartfelt, equally clear, moral visions.

What is NOT equivalent, however, is the political relevance of these moral visions.

The success of our country, our political system, and our way of life comes from a set of principles--unusual in the history of the world--that are NOT up for discussion.

The most important one of those principles is this: Everyone is allowed to believe what they want. Adults are free to do what they want, as long as they don't hurt other people. In exchange for this extraordinary freedom, adults are expected to tolerate other adults believing and doing what they want.

While the pro-choice and anti-choice positions are equally based on morality, the difference between them politically is quite simple, and quite profound.

The pro-choice position is "I'll behave according to my morality, and you behave according to yours." The anti-choice position is "I'll behave according to my morality, and you must behave according to mine, too."

And that's the end of the common ground that our president, and all these feel-good dialoging communities, yearn for.

So let's acknowledge the real world.

Let's all agree to do what we can to reduce the number of abortions. Let all the self-described "pro-life" people finally prove that they're genuinely against abortion--and not simply against sex--by supporting contraception, and the sex education that encourages people to use it.

Beyond that, the "common ground" is to be found in our uniquely American legacy.

Over two centuries ago, our founders created a system that magically made it possible for people with conflicting moralities to live and thrive together. Until then, human communities were either morally homogenous, or they lived with continuous warfare. America was the first country with neither, and so it has been a fountain of creativity and wealth--and yes, religious fervor--ever since.

The system works. People just have to live within its rules.

There's a name for people who want to undermine the political system in order to impose their moral viewpoint on their fellow citizens. In other countries, we call them terrorists.

 

© Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexEd.org).

Marty Klein, Ph.D is the author and publisher of Sexual Intelligence, a monthly electronic newsletter. This column is reprinted from (ISSUE #111, May '09). For information about republishing this column, contact the author.

blog comments powered by Disqus

American Humanist Association

We're looking for a web developer to implement design improvements to our Darwin...

12 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Who will be at Apostacon this weekend? From Friday the 19th to Sunday the 21st,...

13 hours ago

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association joined with 35 groups recently in supporting R...

16 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Fox News and The Kelly File cover the United States Air Force's decision to reve...

19 hours ago

American Humanist Association

VICTORY! In response to the demand of the AHA, with help from the Military Asso...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

What do kids say about God? Some in this group say he creates apples, is kinda l...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The battle continues for Texas atheist group, the Metroplex Atheists Rowlett. Th...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Satanic Temple decides to join in the fun when a Florida judge ruled in favo...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

The behavior of Ray Rice is not just one single occurrence that needs to be reme...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

What is your opinion on using crowd-funding to raise money for an abortion? Ge...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Is America's Army becoming God's Army? From bible distribution to requiring the...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Monica Miller, attorney for AHA's Appignani Humanist Legal Center, appeared live...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Communications Associate, Merrill Miller, reports on the variety of reactions we...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Already, many students have taken a stand by sitting out the Pledge of Allegianc...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller had harsh words for the AHA this week in covering...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Great article in the Huffington Post from Michael LaMasa discussing the ever-blu...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

What would you say to someone who is afraid to come out as an atheist in fear of...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Episode Ten of the Cartoon History of Humanism is now out on thehumanist.com!...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who is worried about the militarization of police? I am! Get TheHumanist.com by...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Earlier this week, The Daily Caller, a website run by Tucker Carlson, ran an obn...

8 days ago