We are all familiar with the phrase “Keep your religion off my body!” It is often the rallying cry of the passionate pro-choicer against those who believe that unborn babies ought not to be killed. As pro-choice feminist icon, Camille Paglia, wrote yesterday—such a sentiment is simply disingenuous. Let’s examine a number of false assumptions contained in that abhorrent phrase:
First, there is an assumption that pro-lifers are more interested in undermining women’s “reproductive freedom” rather than preserving the lives of our most vulnerable. Yet that is clearly not the case. Except for Donald Trump, most pro-lifers are not talking about imprisoning women. They believe that babies are people too, and thus are horrified by the willful destruction of them by those who alone can protect them.
Second, there is an assumption that it takes a specifically religious sense to find such a practice inhumane. The same assumption is not made when people express horror at genocide. We don’t tell them that their reaction is merely a projection of their religious beliefs. Rather, all are expected to be horrified at such a spectacle. It is why William Wilberforce pitied slave traders. In order to dehumanize others, you must first become dehumanized. It is specifically human to find abortion to be barbaric.
Third, there is an assumption that people can somehow check their religion at the door. This Kantian dualism, which divides “science” from “values,” is a pure fiction. There is not a one of us who can be a detached observer when it comes to politics and other issues of import. Our basic beliefs guide our policy views. The whole American founding was one giant experiment in the political outworking of fundamental moral premises regarding life and liberty. We oppose murder, for example, because it is wrong, not because it doesn’t work according to the latest scientific studies.
Fourth, there is an assumption that pro-choicers are not acting according to their own religious beliefs. Yet, in order to abort a baby, one must first claim that the baby is not a baby, but a fetus. This designation is a moral claim—one that then provides a moral justification for destruction of said fetus. Woman can now watch ultrasound videos in which unborn babies flee medical tongs, only to be trapped and dismembered, piece-by-piece. It takes an incredible act of faith to harden one’s heart toward such barbarism.
Fifth, there is an assumption that “science” is on the side of pro-choicers. Such an argumentum ad populum (argument by consensus—in this case, scientific), relies on the assumption that science is objectively neutral. It is not. Science is a means for ascertaining truth, not the ground of truth. The claim of when life begins is essentially a moral and philosophical claim. The social Darwinist will claim that life begins when, say, it is viable. He will then use science to determine when the baby can breathe on its own, etc. The humanist (for lack of a better term) will say that life begins at conception, and will then use science to acknowledge that babies have their own unique genetic code at conception.
The problem is not that pro-lifers are using religion to suppress women, but that a large segment of our society is using a religion of human autonomy to suppress truth. Many societies have developed cruel philosophies that ate away at the margins of humanity until there was little humanity left. There is a dual tragedy to this American genocide: Not only have tens of millions of babies been dehumanized and wiped out in the name of women’s liberation, but millions of women have subsequently been dehumanized in the name of women’s liberation as well. We have freed the gentle guardians of civilization to unleash mayhem upon their own progeny.