Thursday, 2 August 2007

Our Culture's Glorious Inconsistency

While reading the Telegraph at work this morning, I stumbled upon this.

The story is disturbing by any measure, but what I find most distressing about it is the madness of the charges. I have no idea what the legal intricacies are, but note- Ms Freeman "has been charged with first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter", yet "None of them were full-term", according to the police spokesman. Have I missed something here, or is Ms Freeman guilty of what under other circumstances would be classified as a late-term abortion?

Our culture's sentimentality is boundless, and nowhere is it so clear as in a case like this. There is no biological difference between an eight-month old baby and a four-month old foetus (note the euphemism). Yet somewhere between the two our culture draws an arbitrary line, based largely, as far as I can see, on how recognisably baby-like the entity in question is.

Nor is this usually questioned. I find it significant that many of the lines taken by the pro-life cause work within this mentality and, rather than challenging it, seek to harness it to further the cause. The methods that use imagery depicting babies in the womb, ultrasounds, the shocking videos of how the foetus reacts as it is being aborted, the little feet badges and so on- all of these are designed to encourage one to think, "Actually, even foetuses in quite early pregnancy look and act like babies- therefore abortion is wrong." This is an appeal to the sentimentality of our culture, rather than to reason. Indeed, this methodology has a lot to recommend it. And in a culture where there is little hard thinking but a tonne of emoting, it is certainly effective.

However, I wonder (and of course I submit this thought to those who are far more active and experienced in the pro-life cause than I) whether this does not ultimately play into the Enemy's hands. Would it ultimately be of more benefit to question the underlying assumption? Should we, judo-like, use our opponents' strength against them, or would it be wiser to choose the battlefield ourselves?

Still thinking about this myself. I submit it for reflection by other minds as well.

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