Last week a fellow named Paul Gesterling (I don't know the fellow personally) wrote a letter to the Illinois Times about abortion (do an in-page search of the link for DELIVERING A DOUBLE OUCH for the letter). He wrote:
Illinois Times has made a concerted effort to sadden me over the past few weeks. First, in its recent cover story, it suggests that the reason I will not vote for Barack Obama is not because, despite his nonpartisan rhetoric, he is unwaveringly pro-choice but because I am a racist [Jeannette Cooperman, "Demonizing Obama," April 3]. Ouch. If the Christian right is guilty of demonizing Obama, is Illinois Times guilty of divinizing the man?
Then, as if that were not a direct-enough indictment of my character, they suggest in a recent lead commentary that I am actually increasing abortions in my efforts to promote life and chastity [Cristina Page, "Results matter," April 10]. Ouch again. However counterintuitive, the charge still hurts.
Thus, Illinois Times has inspired me to ask a few of my many questions:
If abortion is in fact morally acceptable, why is limiting its occurrence important to a pro-choicer? Or is there some part of this medical practice that is abhorrent to him or her as well?
How are my pro-life aspirations "guided by ideology" when I support the very unideological material life of a fellow human being? A living human is not an idea but a substantial empirical fact indeed, right?
How is it that we tell students that they can be anything they want to be or that they can achieve whatever their hearts desire but then say that they are incapable of living chastely? Do we not believe they have the ability to see each other as subjects rather than as objects? When we teach gravity, we do not give them parachutes. Why, then, if we are able to teach them fully and appropriately about their sexuality, should we give them contraceptives?
Isn't it better to reason, simply and with logic, than [to rely on] irregular, convoluted, and ambiguous statistics? Do any supposed statistical results justify immoral means?
I forgot that I fired off another letter to the editor. They printed it.
If this keeps up I'm going to start thinking that I don't suck at writing!
At any rate, lest the cartoon characters here in Springfield get to see it while my fellow nerds do not, here is the letter, and unlike most of my stuff at slashdot a real live editor, presumably who has a degree in journalism, actually edited it. I think; they've edited letters I've written before, and sometimes improved them immeasurably. I didn't keep a copy of what I sent the IT editor.
At any rate, I just copied and pasted it from the online version of their letters to the editor page.
As someone who truly is pro-choice, I think I can answer Paul Gesterling's questions ["Letters," April 24]. You see, unlike the "pro-life" people, I am actually anti-abortion. I don't like the idea of it. If one of my daughters wanted one, I would discourage it as much as I could. If anyone else asked my opinion, I would discourage them as well.
However, your abortion is none of my business. The abortion should concern only three people: the fetus' father, its mother, and their doctor. I should have no say in the matter unless I'm the daddy, Mr. Gesterling should have no say in the matter unless he is the father, and my government should have no say in the matter, either.
Life doesn't begin at conception, as the Catholics and some fundamentalist Christian religions claim. It doesn't begin at all. It only started once on this planet (and perhaps nowhere else) and has just continued afterward. Your sperm are alive, a woman's eggs are alive, your skin cells and red blood cells are alive. The abortion of a blastocyst destroys less life than when you cut yourself shaving. I cannot consider a blastocyst a human.
Unlike most others who fraudulently call themselves pro-choice, I support a woman's right to inject herself with heroin, cocaine, nicotine, or fast-food grease and otherwise screw up her life in any way she chooses. Like abortion, it's none of my business and should be none of my government's business. If you support the war on drugs or the anti-smoking laws or anti-prostitution laws or anti-gambling laws, you cannot truthfully call yourself pro-choice.
Likewise, if you support the war in Iraq or the war in Afghanistan or the death penalty, you cannot truthfully call yourself pro-life.
Both sides of the abortion issue are disingenuous.