Thursday, April 26, 2007

Very Quick Thought on Abortion in Latin America

Today's Financial Times had an interesting observation. Noting the restrictive abortion laws throughout Latin America, it argues that many left-wing leaders who might be sympathetic to liberalizing such laws refrain from doing so out of loyalty to a Church that stood by them during the heated political struggles in the 1970s and 1980s.

Interesting. But, according to the dominant right-wing position in the United States at least, the Church is supposed to focus only on "non-negotiables" like abortion while eschewing social justice concerns. Had it done so in Latin America, the current political climate would be far less favorable to the Church, and abortion laws would probably be looser. But of course, thinking through the consequences of their actions is not a major strength of the American right these days!

16 comments:

paul zummo said...

thinking through the consequences of their actions is not a major strength of the American right these days!

It has never been the strength of the left at any period in world history, so I guess we're stuck

Antonio Manetti said...

It has never been the strength of the left at any period in world history, so I guess we're stuck

Wow. So much for the rule of law, the enlightenment, science, technology, and democracy itself.

So much for Emancipation, Civil Rights, the eight-hour workday, the forty-hour work week, child labor laws, the right of woman to vote, the GI bill

To quote Joe Conason:


If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances. The country we know and love today was built by those victories for liberalism -- with the support of the American people."

Franklin Jennings said...

Actually, Minion, I think it is you have failed to think things through.

In the US, abortion is perfectly legal, excluding a particularly gruesome form of infanticide, up until the moment of birth. Many Catholics there insist that in their particular political circumstances, where human beings are being slaughtered at about 1.2 million annually, stopping such slaughter is non-negotiable.

In Latin America, legal abortion has been unthinkable until recently when the Left began to agitate for it in some places. In an environment where the young are not being butchered with governmental sanction, Catholics may devote their time to the pressing issues facing them: poverty, exploitation at the hands of international corporations and the wealthiest of their countrymen, etc.

And you draw a conclusion about the "catholic right" in the US? That's as good an example of apples and oranges as I have ever seen.

Perhaps you are suggesting that if we, in America, accept every idea floated down the pike by secular leftists, they'd suddenly end legalised abortion and abandon the shallow materialistic hedonism it is intended to enable?

Well, at least you don't claim to be a "thinker".

Franklin Jennings said...

"Wow. So much for the rule of law, the enlightenment, science, technology, and democracy itself."

Ah, yes. Rule of Law didn't exist before 1789. The Enlightenment hadn't yet begun. There was no science, no technology and no democracy. The world was a horrid place before 1789, indeed.

Just kidding. It didn't have to deal with police-states and state-sanctioned genocides (a consquence of the rule of law), post-modern "philosophers" (a consequence of the enlightenment), militant atheism disguised as science (a consequence of science), nuclear war (this a two-fer, both science and technology) or democracy (the most horrible consequence of democracy I could think of.) It almost sounds like your first paragraph proves Zummo's point.

And the kicker, you obviously didn't think of the consequences of your actions before penning such a sophomoric rejoinder.

Anonymous said...

The American Christian Right and more specifically the pro life movement is knee-deep in hypocrisy.

PRO-WAR
PRO-CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
PRO-GUN
and PRO-LIFE

This is the inevitable result of placing their faith and trust in Republican politicians, few of whom have the slightest interest in ending abortion despite their faint-hearted election time rhetoric. The main interest of a politician is to get elected. Removing millions of pro life votes by decisively acting to end abortion would be political suicide.

Let us not forget:

Roe v. Wade has been upheld by a majority of Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices for the last 33. Hardly surprising given the fact that it was a majority of Republican-appointed justices which gave us Roe v. Wade to begin with back in 1973. Six of the seven justices who voted in support of Roe v. Wade were appointed by Republican presidents.

A Republican Congress did absolutely nothing to overturn Roe, even though Article III, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution clearly gives it the authority to except and/or regulate the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, both appointed by Ronald Reagan, have written landmark decisions favoring abortion and gay rights.

Since the Roe. v. Wade decision of 1973, Republican-appointed justices have always been in the majority by a margin of at least 7-2.

Ending abortion is a noble cause but it will never be accomplished by attempting to strong arm Christians into voting for politicians who talk the talk but do not walk the walk.

Anonymous said...

Who coined the term "non negotiables". Was it Karl Keating? I don't recall seeing it in the Bishops call to Faithful Citizenship but it's widely used in voter guides put out by Catholic Answers and others like them.

Morning's Minion said...

The term "non-negotiable" is used in Church documents. It simply means something that can never be justified by appeal to intent or circumstance. However, the 5 "non-negotiables" is an invention of Catholic Answers and is based on really shoddy moral reasoning. What guides us is the USCCB guidelines, and they say nothing about an arbitary list of "non-negotiables" that just happens (by remarkable coincidence) to favor the Republicans.

For newer readers-- I discussed this issue a lot back in the Fall. See http://reasons-and-opinions.blogspot.com/2006/10/theology-of-voting-guides.html and http://reasons-and-opinions.blogspot.com/2006/10/proliferation-of-catholic-voting.html.

Anonymous said...

What guides us is the USCCB guidelines, and they say nothing about an arbitary list of "non-negotiables" that just happens (by remarkable coincidence) to favor the Republicans.

Yes, a remarkable coincidence indeed. I figured the term (as commonly used in voter guides) was coined by someone named Karl--Keating or Rove. Basically, not much difference.

Antonio Manetti said...

Ah, yes. Rule of Law didn't exist before 1789. The Enlightenment hadn't yet begun. There was no science, no technology and no democracy. The world was a horrid place before 1789, indeed.

If you'll read the statement I was replying to carefully, you'll see it referred to "any time in world history". Frankly, such hyperbole is so at odds with reality that it hardly warrants a reponse. Nonetheless I believe it's worth reminding folks that many of the blessings we take for granted are the forseen consequences of the "liberal project".

As to the remainder of your reply, Frederick Hayek wrote in "Why I am Not a Conservative":

[O]ne of the fundamental traits of the conservative attitude is a fear of change, a timid distrust of the new as such, while the liberal position is based on courage and confidence, on a preparedness to let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead.

Franklin Jennings said...

Luckily, not only am I not a "conservative", but I also know that "the Left" did not exist before 1789.

Its amazing what a few history books can do.

Antonio Manetti said...

The only thing that didn't exist before 1789 was the left-right coinage.

The idealogical alignments these terms represent -- those against political, economic and social change and those in favor of it -- have been around far longer.

Franklin Jennings said...

Well if that's going to be your standard, Ronald Reagan was the most effective Leftist of the 20th century.

Franklin Jennings said...

Most effective AMERICAN leftist I mean. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot all brought about much more change that Reagan.

Franklin Jennings said...

Let me also go ahead and recognise, for the immense political, economic and social change he has effected in his presidency thus far, George W. Bush as another highly successful leftist.

Antonio Manetti said...

A longing to return to the laissez faire politics of the 19th century is not change in any meaningful sense of the word.

Franklin Jennings said...

Sorry, I have no reason to take seriously a mind so deluded as to think defending the status quo is advocating change.

Ditto someone who confuses politics with an economic theory.

You, sir, and little more than a moribund reactionary.