Abortion: A Real Solution
Saving us from our ungodly selves.
Or, A Not So Modest Proposal To Make As Many People As Miserable As Possible, All In The Name of Being Absolutely Moral
For the sake of argument, let's say that abortion is immoral. I don't care what ethical system or religious belief one uses here, I'll simply grant at the outset: Abortion is immoral. Wrong. Not to be done. Ever.
Does this mean, then, we can rightfully create legislation to ban it under all circumstances? Well, why not? I'll go ahead and give that one to you as well: Abortion, let's say, is a subspecies of murder; we make murders illegal, therefore abortions must be covered by similar laws and precedents, with similar punishments following.
So, here's our principle: If it's immoral, it ought to be illegal.
Fine and good. Abortion is now both immoral and illegal, defined as a sort of murder. Let hurrahs spread throughout the land, let the pulpits resound with great rejoicing at our great ethical strides. Let Right-To-Life groupies roll around on sidewalks outside the homes of women who've had abortions and call for the police to perform their duly appointed tasks.
So, now what?
By the end of the day, we have a great number of women and teenaged girls who are pregnant and who don't want to be. They don't want the children that will be born. Some of the pregnancies will be, as they often are, the mangled fruit of rapes and incestuous attacks by relatives, molestations by neighbors, even by the very clergy who pressed to make abortions (and birth control) illegal.
But most of the pregnancies will be accidental: the pill failed; the condom broke; the people involved sort of slept together in the heat of the moment without thinking through the possibilities. The couple discovered the rhythm method is about as effective as any other form of voodoo. We've all heard the stories if, in fact, we haven't been in the starring roles.
In my future world, the women and girls doubtless get sent off for "counseling." I'm sure tax money will be involved, since this is a matter of law and we are preventing murders. Much of it will be funneled to "faith-based" organizations, which are always more than eager to get a public hand-out to spread their private interpretations of the Good News. The counselors' jobs will be to talk the women into keeping their children - as they will go to jail (or worse) if they find an abortionist or try a "home remedy." Many, some stricken with fear and guilt and heads swimming with tales of an afterlife filled with Eternal Death, Hell, and The Man With the Pointy Stick, will decide to keep and raise the babies.
But will they do a good job?
If it's immoral to murder, and abortion is murder, so we make it illegal to abort, then it should be illegal to leave children in the hands of biological parents who don't want them. Because if it's immoral to mistreat children, and not caring for, loving, wanting, and voluntarily devoting oneself to one's child is a form of mistreatment, then we should make it illegal to leave children in the hands of people very likely to mistreat them.
Now, some women who become pregnant accidentally do decide they genuinely want their children. And some extended families also really want the children, so aunts and uncles and grandparents step in and become surrogate parents when the mother cannot perform this role.
But many times, especially if abortion is absolutely illegal, a great number of women will be left who have no extended family (or any they trust) and who have no desire (and maybe no ability - mentally, spiritually, or financially) to raise children. For that matter, they may be 12 or 13 year-old girls who can't decide whether or not to wear cherry-flavored lip gloss to the 8th grade dance, much less how best to go about raising a child.
What do we do?
Assuming we're talking about males of legal age, we could legally require the biological fathers to step up to the plate and pay or take custody - but proving paternity may well be an issue, and it will cost money for conclusive DNA tests... and I assume, again, we will be using tax money, as this is a matter of law. And we could be talking long, drawn out court battles - and, in the meantime, the children will be born, and we will have to do something with them, even if the courts haven't arrived at their Solomon-esque answers yet.
We could fund orphanages. But let me ask: Is it better for young Oliver Twist to wind up in an orphanage run by the state (with yet more tax money) or by a religious institution (probably run, in part, with tax money) that doesn't care for him as an individual member of a family - or is it better for Oliver to be raised in a supportive family where he will be cared for by people who obviously love children? Which is likely less inherently abusive?
I think we'd say the latter. In fact, the former just sounds like Oliver is going to be warehoused to keep him out of our collective hair. And that could be a form of immoral mistreatment and, by definition, if we're going to make everything that is immoral also illegal, it should be against the law to place a child in an orphanage.
Here's what we must do, then:
If abortion is immoral, and it is illegal because it is immoral (since we have decided all immoral things should also be illegal), we must place all unwanted children with families that want children, respect life, and who have gone on record as being in favor of banning abortion. These people are obviously moral - they tell us so at every opportunity. These people obviously love children, even to the point of wanting to force women and girls to bring unwanted children into the world. The right place for these children to be, ethically, is with the people who love and want unwanted children. So, it would be immoral to put the unwanted children anywhere else.
In short: By law, if abortion is made illegal, people and families who supported making it illegal should be forced, by law, to adopt all unwanted children for as long as there are unwanted children.
A nice, simple solution. Legally force women to have children they don't want on moral grounds. Then legally force those who supported making abortion illegal to adopt all the unwanted children... on moral grounds.
This would be easy. Legally require that the membership rolls of all Right-To-Life organizations be made available to the government. These people go first. Children will be randomly assigned to them as they come available. Next, anyone who is a registered member of a political party that has an anti-abortion plank in its platform will be assigned some children. After that, anyone who belongs to a party that refuses to take a stand on the issue will be blessed with some unwanted children. Then, anyone who lives in a state with elected officials who are actively anti-abortion will be granted the boon of a few babies. We could do this proportionally - if the candidate won by 62% in a district, for example, we can randomly assign the children to 62% of the households if the pro-life voters are too bashful to stand up and admit their votes voluntarily.
Voilá. No more unwanted children. And if, paradoxically, the pro-lifers, their homes now packed to overflow capacity with life, complain they can't take care of the children, we can tell them to practice celibacy and give up on having biological children of their own; we can tell them to work harder, maybe get a few more jobs, spend their retirement money; and we can tell them that if they dare neglect the children, we'll put them into jail for poor parenting and then reassign their allotted batch to their neighbors.
There. Everyone's happy and everyone got what they wanted. All we had to do was be consistent and say that, if it's immoral, it should be illegal, no matter what. All abortion is illegal, child abuse is illegal, and not taking care of all the children you demanded be brought into the world is illegal.
Some might, frustrated with the writer by this point, argue that I am using a premise that makes no sense, namely: If it's immoral it ought to be illegal. Perhaps some would be inclined to say that not everything that's immoral can be made illegal without tyrannical or absurd consequences, or they'd say that even if some aspects of morality can be legislated, it doesn't follow all aspects should be.
Some might even say that, even if abortion is immoral, it makes no practical sense to claim all abortions should be made illegal - a decent, free society is simply ill-equipped to be run on the basis of moral absolutism. Otherwise we face the specter of hordes of unwanted children placed in inherently abusive situations and the possibility of citizens being forced to do the moral thing - take care of unwanted children whether they like it or not.
We have to put up with some measure of imperfection and incompletion and accept that much of morality revolves around social pressure and voluntary compliance, not the force of law and government, to function adequately. Maybe morality is a struggle and is always incomplete, even unclear, a difficulty and an ongoing argument. Many people might say something just like this.
My answer is that this all sounds very human. If you're satisfied with human-like answers, with what Socrates once called "a human sort of wisdom," then reject my proposal, by all means. Flee from it and oppose anything that sounds vaguely like it. But if you want to live in angelic perfection and in a moral utopia, contact your elected representatives right away and let them know that nothing short of Heaven will satisfy you while you have to live on Earth, and ask them to legislate accordingly.
Thank you for your time.
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