Conversation with the Comments

Feithy, we both completely agree.

Peter, the posters we’ve seen locally are all the one with the woman of color; as Dan’l pointed out, the website has a different poster with a white woman as well. You are absolutely right about the racial subtext, especially since the two posters aren’t being equally displayed, at least in San Francisco.

Dan’l,, thanks for being so clear about your position on abortion.

<br /> abortion<br /> feminism<br /> Roman Catholic<br /> <a href="" rel="tag nofollow">Body Impolitic</a><br />

It seems to us that you are conflating “rights,” which are the prerogative of the government to define (either through the will of the people or the whim of the ruler) and “righteous behavior.” In fact, we didn’t say that it was wrong to legislate morality; we said that it we objected to legislation of morality in this area. Even in this post-modern age when it is fashionable to believe that everything is socially constructed and nothing is, de facto true, both of us believe that certain behaviors are morally right, regardless of government and/or individual positions. It’s interesting to be having this conversation with a Roman Catholic.

The temptation to dig into your comment and discuss it piece by piece is very strong. At the same time we’re both aware that these issues–abortion in particular and the role of government in social engineering in general–are not only deeply charged, many things one can say about them have already been directed into entrenched paths. We agree in some areas and disagree in other very important ones. And we really appreciate your comment.

One thought on “Conversation with the Comments

  1. In fact, we didn’t say that it was wrong to legislate morality; we said that it we objected to legislation of morality in this area.

    Understood; which is why I was very careful to ask why this area was privileged. The exact quote: “Why this area specifically? I don’t see an inherent difference between this and (say) legislating the morality of murder; or of forcing a rich person [through taxes] to support poor people.” I suspect that what areas one finds privileged — where one’s ox, so to speak, is in danger of being gored — have more to do with what is important to one, than with any logical basis for privileging those areas.

    In retrospect murder was probably a bad example; how about cannibalism? There are laws that forbid one to will one’s body to be used as food when one is done with it.

    The case of abortion seems perhaps more problematic for legislating morality than most areas: there is a general consensus that, say, murder, rape, and robbery are Bad Things, while there is no consensus about abortion: “therefore” it should not be legislated about one way or t’other. (Which would in itself be problematic, as it would seem to forbid gummint money for it as part of healthcare programs; so I am not advocating that position!)

    But the same argument can be made (which is why I used this example originally) about governmental Robinhoodery in the form of social-welfare programs (including healthcare programs). Seventy years after the “new Deal,” that’s still a highly and hotly debated topic, and it isn’t only the rich who oppose it; it’s a big part of how the Republicans won control of Congress. They’ve convinced a lot of Americans that taxes are inherently Bad. (I tend to be one of those, but I regard them as a highly necessary evil.)

    My point is that I can’t see any argument that abortion should be immune to the gummintal power to legislate morality, that doesn’t apply equally to other things that we might perhaps not want it applied to.

    And thus the battle over right-to-choose is ultimately going to have to be fought on the level of “hearts and minds” rather than in the courts. Which is, I think, as it should be.

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