Notes from underground

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Archive for the tag “pro-life”

Two evils for the price of one: abortion and pro-lifers

I think that wilful abortion is evil, and a violation of human rights. But there are times when I think pro-lifers are just as evil, especially when I come across things like this, found via a link on Facebook.

The person who posted it on Facebook introduced the link by saying “The Obama administration rules that stock holders aren’t really owners and have no real say in the operation of the business they hold shares in.”

I was curious and had a look at the site.

Obama agency rules Pepsi use of cells derived from aborted fetus ‘ordinary business’ |

In a decision delivered Feb 28th, President Obama’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that PepsiCo’s use of cells derived from aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.”

I became curious about “President Obama’s agency”, and discovered that the site that mentioned it couldn’t even get the name right. I think they were referring to this:

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (frequently abbreviated SEC) is a federal agency[2] which holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, the nation’s stock and options exchanges, and other electronic securities markets in the United States. In addition to the 1934 Act that created it, the SEC enforces the Securities Act of 1933, the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 and other statutes. The SEC was created by section 4 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (now codified as 15 U.S.C. 78d and commonly referred to as the 1934 Act).

Was Obama even alive in 1934, when this particular agency was created? Will it cease to exist when his term of office ends? This really is a prize piece of vicious and malicious misreporting, and with such standards of dishonesty and lack of integrity I would not trust anything found on that site.

Yes, I’d boycott Pepsi too, if it were available and if the report were true, but it is wrapped up with so much deliberate misreporting that I wouldn’t trust anything in that story.

Fifty years ago folk singer Jeremy Taylor did a rap piece called Joburg talking blues, in the course of which the supposedly American narrator said, “In America there’s two things we can’t stand: the one’s segregation, and the other’s niggers.”

When I read pieces like this, I feel a bit like that narrator. There are two things I can’t stand. The one’s abortion, and the other’s pro-lifers.

Pro-choice and pro-life

At first sight, the use of the terms “pro-choice” and “pro-life” to represent opposing ethical viewpoints seems a little strange. Are “choice” and “life” necessarily opposed to each other?

When they first came into general use I assumed (on no evidence) that people settled on those terms in order to avoid negative stereotyping in debate. Saying someone is “anti-” something sounds so negative, and it is generally better to say what one was for rather than what one was against.

The illogicality of the implication that “choice” and “life” were antithetical was regarded as the price one had to pay to avoid negative stereotyping.

Or at least so I assumed thirty years ago when “pro-choice” and “pro-life” first began to be bandied about in public debate.

But now I am not so sure.

It seems from recent debates that they really are antithetical. There’s this US Senator Ron Paul. I know nothing about him except that American libertarians (or at least those American libertarians whose blogs I sometimes read) seem to like him.

Now if there is one thing that seems to characterise American libertarians, it is that they are pro-choice. They seem to elevate choice to a supreme value. The essential freedom is the freedom to make choices (provided, of course, that you are rich — but that is an unspoken condition).

And in a recent TV debate, it seems that “pro-choice” and “pro-life” are indeed antithetical. GOP Tea Party Debate: Audience Cheers, Says Society Should Let Uninsured Patient Die:

“What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn’t have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? Are you saying society should just let him die?” Wolf Blitzer asked.

“Yeah!” several members of the crowd yelled out.

Paul interjected to offer an explanation for how this was, more-or-less, the root choice of a free society. He added that communities and non-government institutions can fill the void that the public sector is currently playing.

This has led to an interesting discussion in the Progressive Orthodox Christianity forum on Facebook, where I first learnt about the incident.

And in that discussion I suggested that if Christians were to adopt the “let them die” attitude, then the story that Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) would have to be modified to the effect that the rich man, in Abraham’s bosom, seeing Lazarus burning in hell, would say to him “it’s all your fault — you didn’t have health insurance.”

I’ve written about that aspect of it in more detail in other blog posts, so I won’t repeat all that here.

But what I have discovered from this recent incident is that pro-choice and pro-life are indeed antithetical, and that “pro-choice” is mainly about the inalienable right of the rich and powerful to choose when those poorer and weaker than they are should die.

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