The single most troubling hypocrisy of the far right: to be against abortion (a social conservative) for religious reasons yet be against aid to families with dependent children and to unwed mothers (a fiscal consecutive). We must face the fact that, whatever our convictions, these positions translate into a contradiction.

8 thoughts on “Families

  1. I call those people the “forced birth” people. While they worry about an unwanted collection of a few cells, thousands of children die every day from easily cured diseases and the effects of poverty.

    • I agree with your point, John. If I may, the phrase “unwanted collection of a few cells” might be seen as case of “reductio ad absurdum.” I daresay there are few women of my acquaintance, even those of the most liberal bent, who do not recognize that there is a real and consequential difference between an unwanted or even unviable fetus and, say, a mole growing on your neck. It is one thing to insist on and grant a woman’s right to make a choice about her body. It is another thing altogether to make the case that the choice she makes is as inconsequential as getting a haircut.

      • I don’t mean to say it’s inconsequential. Every woman who chooses abortion must deal with the dilemma. For the moment what I wanted to express was my irritation that forced birthers care less about the born than the unborn.

      • An irritation, sir, that we share wholeheartedly. Thank you as always for your calm reason.

  2. A four-step program for social conservatives:

    1. Understand that what we all want — all of us — is *less abortions*.

    2. Understand that *all the evidence* shows that the single and only way to achieve 1. is the twin strategy of good sex education and easy access to pregnancy prevention options. All the evidence also shows that this *does not* increase teenage promiscuity, but in fact *decreases* it. “Abstinence” has never worked, ever, at all.

    3. Admit that your opposition to 2. is because you secretly believe the “sin” of pre-marital sex should be “punished” by a) pregnancy, b) STDs, and c) stoning, if we’re getting Biblical/Talmudic about it

    4. Realize that your religion teaches that “sin” is between the sinner and god, and your holy book is stuffed full of praise for those who help those who have sinned, and full of condemnation for those who walk on by, or worse, pile on.

    If followed, this program should lead to mild cognitive dissonance followed by the relief of knowing that supporting 2. whenever possible is, in fact, the only moral choice available.

    • Well said, sir, and a reminder to me that it is time to update my Four As essay (Abstinence, Avoidance, Abortion, and Adoption.)

      A few qualifiers.

      First, while you are right in saying that Abstinence-Only programs are an utter failure, I believe that there is value in including abstinence education within the context of comprehensive sex education. “The best way to avoid pregnancy or STDs is to not have sex. Here is how to approach that in a healthy way. If you’re going to engage in sex, however, you need to be aware of the following dangers and the efficacy of the available means to mitigate them, and the most effective way to employ those means.”

      Second, the Talmudic/Rabbinical approach to pre-marital sex is rather more complex than you might think. While there is a fascinating and colorful debate among Jewish legal authorities about pre-marital sex that is as old as the Talmud itself, it is actually not directly prohibited in Torah. I cannot speak for other faiths, but in Judaism we did not and do not stone monogamous but unmarried teenagers for illicit boinking. Neither do we hand out condoms at Simchat Torah. But that’s another discussion.

      Third, for Judaism, there are actually two categories of moral transgression – transgressions against G-d (for example, the violation of Kosher laws or the failure to remember the Sabbath) and transgressions against man, which are by extension also against G-d (murder, theft, etc.)

      None of which takes an iota from your point, but I wanted to put that out there.

      • I’ve always been a huge admirer of Judaism for its nuance and its continuing conversation with itself.

        This is not to say that the “conversation” hasn’t at times ended in obscure cul-de-sacs (Jewish members of certain sects demanding women seated next to them on flights be re-seated comes to mind…) but the having of the conversation is admirable and long may it continue.

      • Thank you. For the record, the most respected posek of the 20th Century, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, ruled that it is not against Jewish law to sit next to a woman who is not your wife on any public conveyance, and that as long as there is no lascivious intention, accidental contact is not a sin. That is not to belittle my fellow tribesmen who take a stricter approach, but to suggest that their behavior cannot be considered mainstream even among very observant Jews.

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