I seem to be experiencing my own 15 minutes of fame by way of having my previous post quoted on Andrew Sullivan’s blog. The amount of traffic I’ve received in the past 48 hours is about on par with what I normally get in a month or so.
I’m both flattered and unnerved. Unnerved because most of my posts here are very off-the-cuff, with no regard for revision. So the fact that I might occasionally attract attention from those who occupy a loftier status in the blogosphere makes me feel a tad more self-conscious. But admittedly the art of blogging implies that you’re looking for attention, so who am I to complain.
Anyhow, one of the readers there comments on the possibility of being both pro-choice and pro-life, stating that, “[p]ro-choice simply means that when it’s not me affected, I cannot make the decision.”
This dodges the issue at hand: to be pro-life is to say that a fetus has an objective right to life in the same way that a child does. The question isn’t just a matter of whether abortion is gravely immoral. If the mother has the right to decide whether the fetus lives or dies, then the fetus doesn’t have a right to life. The two rights are mutually contradictory, and so either one or the other has to go.
Still, I don’t think the use of the language of right entirely captures it. There’s a passage in Dominion which I cannot locate where Scully says that the language of rights can sometimes obscure the reality of what is at stake. Rights are not a sort of non-moral code which binds us, but rather a reflection of how we, as a society, understand what human dignity is, and what we consider to be unacceptable offenses to that dignity.