October 25, 2011 (Unmaskingchoice.ca) - Earlier this week, noted conservative commentator David Frum, a former speechwriter of President George W. Bush, published a column on CNN’s website musing on the question “What if abortion became a non-issue?”
While Frum has, in former days, been an impressive advocate for socially conservative values, ever since the 2008 election he has advocated for a desertion of social conservatism in order to “win” more elections based on fiscal issues. Besides the inherently flawed logic behind this position—it is impossible to advocate for smaller government while simultaneously deserting the protection of the family unit that makes small government possible in the first place—there are a variety of extraordinary logical gaps in Frum’s most recent position.
In essence, the premise of his column is that those who advocate for the abolition of abortion based on the premise that abortion destroys a human life are very similar to those who advocated for the prohibition of alcohol based on the premise that alcohol “murders the soul” and creates a variety of social ills.
From the history of the Prohibition and its rise and fall, Frum extrapolates that just as alcohol consumption eventually plummeted due to health concerns, so abortion will eventually plummet based on friendlier attitudes towards teen pregnancy and more effective contraceptives. He then states that, as Americans become more comfortable with feminism and shifting views of sexuality in general, “younger generations [will] increasingly reject abortion as an acceptable resolution of a pregnancy.”
The first glaring problem with Frum’s column is a false parallel. The choice to consume alcohol is radically different than the choice to have an abortion. There is an enormous difference between downing a glass of beer and having a pre-born child suctioned apart in the womb. In fact, there is a very valid comparison related to “choice” and alcohol consumption—while everyone recognizes that intoxicated driving is a “choice,” they also recognize that the danger it poses to others legitimizes the government’s decision to regulate such behaviour. However, Frum’s suggestion that the teetotallers are roughly analogous to abortion abolitionists is like saying that marijuana prohibitionists could be compared to the Civil Rights protestors decrying lynch mobs.
The second problem is that Frum addresses the issue of abortion as if it is really not a big issue and that it is one that can eventually be persuaded to go away with shifting cultural attitudes. He is not incorrect that there is a connection between “sexuality” and abortion—one of the reasons the destruction of pre-born children became entrenched in the first place is that when people bandy about the term “recreational sex,” they seem to have forgotten the obvious biological fact that sex often results in pregnancy. This, however, is not as much an argument about “sexuality” as it is about reckless and dysfunctional attitudes about sex specifically. Thus, Frum’s attempt to pass off abortion as an issue that will disappear when people just get more comfortable with ever more fluid definitions of “sexuality” is one that holds no water.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is Frum’s flawed argument that abortion will continue to decline as more effective means of contraception are made available. Methods labelled as “contraception”—presumably an action that prevents pregnancy—are increasingly encompassing abortifacients, such as the “morning-after pill,” RU-486, and a variety of “birth control” methods that in actuality simply function as really early chemical abortions. Frum has misunderstood the pro-life position. Pro-lifers believe that human beings have an inherent right to life beginning at fertilization. Just as we believe it is wrong to kill pre-born children with scissors or a suction machine, we also believe it is wrong to kill them chemically using medication.
David Frum wishes to see issues that are “divisive,” such as abortion, relegated to the backstage of politics so that political “victories,” albeit victories with no moral significance, can be won by politicians who will have decided to stop addressing the plight of the most vulnerable. The 162 pieces of pro-life legislation that have passed across the United States since the beginning of 2011 send him a message loud and clear: the new generation is an increasingly pro-life generation. And far from being the generation that decides abortion is a “non-issue,” it is instead the generation that will EndtheKilling.
Reprinted with permission from Unmaskingchoice.ca