Monday, March 10, 2008

Our Pro-Life Hypocrisy

I recently responded on another blog to a Denver professor of philosophy who attached the pro-death label to Obama for his pro-choice stance. Further in that thread, he made the (incorrect) statement that abortion laws in the United States are more liberal than in Europe. This was my response...

Dr. Groothuis:

In some European countries abortion is allowed also for fetal impairment (abnormalities), which none of the most restrictive state laws in the United States allow. And nowhere in Europe did a legislature ever try to pass a law that did not include exclusions for rape and incest (like South Dakota did a few months back).

Also, I object to your continued characterization that first and second trimester abortions can be performed for no reason. Once again, you may be technically right, but do you really think people seek abortions for no reason? The wrong reasons is more like it. And, unfortunately, some of those wrong reasons take on a legitimate air, for example when pregnant women resort to abortions because they cannot leave work or afford the costs of the pregnancy.

Think about it: The United States, the best country in the world (or so I hear), has no federal law that mandates paid leave for pregnant women. (See this article in USA Today.) How shameful is that, in a country where a woman cannot enter an abortion clinic without being greeted by throngs of protesters with photos of fetuses on picket signs? Wouldn't their time be better spent lobbying their members of Congress for a paid maternity leave law?

This is a country that, for all its rhetoric about the sanctity of life, treats life as a commodity, where giving birth is a privilege for those who can afford it and have broad enough shoulders to weather all sorts of economic assaults. In what other country in the world does your insurance pay only 80% of the cost of delivering a baby, leaving the family to pay thousands of dollars to take their newborn home? Are you kidding me? America is not pro-life. It likes to call itself pro-life, because it sounds nice, and it is godlike, but it is a rather empty moniker, don't you think? When the majority of the people are more concerned with the preservation of the free market than with human rights, you don't live in a country that fosters the culture of life. You live in corporate Disneyland!

Check these data:
  • Sweden, a socialist (boo-hoo) country: 16 months, 80% paid leave -- per child.
  • Estonia: 140 days, 100% paid leave.
  • Bulgaria: 120-180 days, 100% paid leave.
  • France: 16 weeks, 100% paid leave
  • Canada: up to 50 weeks of paid maternity leave (55% of pay up to $413 weekly.).
  • U.K.: one year maternity leave (39 weeks paid).
  • Italy: 22 weeks at 80% pay.
  • Chile (the land of Milton Friedman's economic coup): 18 weeks, 100% paid leave
  • United Nations (headquartered on U.S. soil): 16 weeks, 100% paid leave.
These countries are just examples, and many include--hear, hear!--paternity leave as well. Most countries around the world have some sort of paid maternity leave.

The Mighty USA? 0 (zero, zilch, nada) days of paid maternity leave, just like those other beacons to the world: Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland. Some company!

Could that perhaps have to do with the rates of abortion in this country? No: It is much easier to hold up a sign in front of an abortion clinic or call the other side "pro-death".

Too many of those who oppose abortion are not pro-life, they are pro-diatribe. We pro-lifers are more to blame for the current situation than pro-choicers, because the stakes are higher for us, and our goal is, I believe, more important. And yet we are too caught up in the righteousness of the cause to see the harm we do to it by failing to give adequate consideration to all the root causes and contributing factors. If we do not stop thinking ideologically and start thinking practically, we deserve to be called hypocrites.

We talk so much about the culture of life that we have started to believe the sound of our own voices. But when it comes to pitching in for the cost of other people's babies, that’s where we draw the line: God forbid we should interfere with the idol of free-market economy. God forbid we should abandon the American myth of individualism. Go ahead, have your wonderful little baby. If you can afford it.


Anonymous said...

Your letter is excellent, but I would make a few changes.

Denver professor should be seminary "professor" and Dr. should be "Dr."

"Dr." Groothuis falls into a long line of obnoxious evangelists with no serious academic training and zero academic publications (church bulletins don't count). As a result, NONE of his students have been able to get into good PhD programs, and those who've gone to semi-decent ones all disavow him. One little known fact: a Denver seminary student visited our program and as a gauge he was asked what he thought about "Dr." Groothuis, and because he didn't critique him, he was rejected on that basis alone. Bible-thumpers are unwelcome.

"Dr." Groothuis has no academic credibility; even fundamentalist schools equate him to a street-preacher. Low IQ + Low GRE's + no publications + mail-order degree = "Dr." Groothuis. You can't expect anything other than sophistry.

Furthermore, he's an arrogant jerk.

Sirfab said...

In my letter to Dr. Groothuis I mentioned that it is incorrect to say that the United States has more liberal rules on abortion than Europe. For those who are interested, the BBC has a very good visual map, and more detail, of Europe's abortion rules.

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