Now now, let’s not be biased

Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters lined blocks along a four-lane thoroughfare called Indian School Road in Phoenix, Arizona, enduring the suck of whooshing cars and blistering late June desert heat to advocate for their cause – effectively, theocracy in America.

Rising temperatures promised a sweaty, nauseous apex of 104F for the protest in front of Camelback Family Planning and abortion clinic. Their ranks were defined by gruesome and bloody signs, some taller than the protesters who held them, a microphone and an amplifier.

“This is a slaughterhouse!” a man’s voice growled. Some protesters leaned into car windows going into the clinic parking lot. “This is unnatural for a mother to do this to a child!” one cried.

Being opposed to abortion may or may not be wrong – leave that aside for a moment – but it’s also not theocracy.

It’s entirely possible to construct humanist, atheist, agnostic and so on arguments against the practice. Heck, we could use Rawls – do you get to pierce the veil of ignorance at all and which society would you choose if there were societies in which you could and you couldn’t?

17 thoughts on “Now now, let’s not be biased”

  1. I see the estimate for legal abortions in the US since Wade v Roe now stands at 62 million. Who knows, that estimate comes from an anti-abortion lobby so might be exaggerated, although I’m not aware of any pro-abortion lobby producing a lower figure. Maybe the estimate is double the actual number so it’s ‘only’ 31 million.

    In the UK, we’ve now topped 10 million.

    “This is a slaughterhouse!”

  2. One could argue that there’d be no need for immigration if abortion was forbidden.

    Perhaps that’s what motivates the pro-choicers?

  3. It certainly isn’t theocracy, and I’m unclear as to why it should be classified as being “on the right”. Moreover, the Wade v Roe decision was a particularly tawdry piece of unconstitutional politics-without-elections.

    There is a certain frisson at seeing campaigners against abortion who come from a tradition of burning heretics.

  4. Operation Save America opposes Covid vaccination, women in power and same-sex marriage


    Their views are extreme. Anyone who has an abortion “should be prosecuted for murder”

    Not extreme: encouraging children to mutilate and sterilise themselves while attacking the society that feeds and protects you by falsely accusing it of “white supremacy”.

    Extreme: believing that babies are human.

    Their guiding texts, such as the Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates, by the leader of the affiliated group Defy Tyrants, Matt Trewhella, argues “Christians” should defy laws with which zealots disagree.

    And so they should. Particularly in a society like the United States where it’s now obvious that Caesar’s laws don’t apply to Caesar or his favoured minions. If it’s ok to defraud voters and vandalise statues and burn down cities in mostly peaceful protests, it’s ok to remind people seeking to kill their children that they will, in fact, roast in Hell for all eternity.

    Tim says but it’s also not theocracy.

    And it isn’t. Christian theocracy (such as it was) died in the United States in 1693. Very unlikely that an extremely immoral and degenerate society where all the levers of power and commerce are held by evil men who hate Christ will suddenly become pious.

    But what if it did?

    If a race of shape shifting alien weirdos hovered their megasaucers over the White House and the Palace of Westminster tomorrow and heat rayed Keir Starmer while demanding total submission to their fnarglargiaan schemes, we should at least hear them out.

    Because it probably wouldn’t be worse than the dildo-shaped Clown World we currently inhabit.

  5. Will the aliens bring their own lions or equivalent? I’m not sure a heat ray works on a lizard.

  6. Rhoda – small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. Idk but Keir Starmer would probably instantly declare his support for a FAIRER fnarglarg.

  7. Arguments against theocracy coming from commie cunts?

    As TDK says this is a war against a theocracy.

  8. JuliaM:
    I’m totally atheist but abortion on demand for no lifesaving reason is a moral obscenity.

    Christopher Hitchens makes for a strange supporter of theocracy.

    I wonder if there are residual religious notions floating around this issue amongst non-believers. For example, our host – ex-Catholic but “no, nay, never” on abortion.

    I’ve read various rationalisations but they all seem to come down to there being some special “there” there in terms of the constitution of a fetus. For something with way, way less about it than say, a spider, to be deserving of rights and protections requires that thing to be regarded as having a special attribute. Steve knows exactly what that special attribute is, but a soul is a tougher justification for those with supposedly no truck for such nonsense.

  9. I’ve read various rationalisations but they all seem to come down to there being some special “there” there in terms of the constitution of a fetus.

    If we admit that humans have something ‘special’ about them that means we must have a very strong justification to permit killing them, then that specialness must come into existence at some point between a sperm + unfertilised ovum and an adult. Like many continuum problems (such as how to define ‘baldness’, to take a mundane example), there’s no obvious point on which all can agree that the specialness should come into operation – but, I’m pretty sure it’s not transit through the birth canal (or, more likely these days, a C-section).

    Pete Singer claims that it should be at the point at which we are first able to form permanent memories*, and as a result he supports not only abortion up to birth, but also infanticide up to the age of 18 months.

    * arguably what makes us individuals – which is why Alzheimer’s is seen as such a nasty disease

  10. Dennis, Meat Eating Theologian

    Evidently Guardian Bimbo is unaware that Muslims regard abortion as a mortal sin.

  11. I’m against abortion, but I’m also against kids being handed to the state when the parents didn’t want them. Whats better, allow a kid to grow up in state care which is the worst form of care for kids. Or don’t let them get born in the first place. Real life choices are difficult.

  12. I am an atheist and while I’m (limited) pro-choice I would, all else being equal, choose the society that outlaws abortion altogether over one where its unlimited.

    While I share the latter’s idea that there’s no sharp dividing line where one becomes ‘human’, I do believe that there is a point at which one does and so I’d prefer to set the cutoff pretty conservatively to stay away from that line.

    Its why I’ve been comfortable with the 20 week limit and don’t consider people who want to ban it altogether to be ‘evil theocrats’.

  13. What I can’t understand are the people who celebrate abortion. Maybe it’s only Americans and Guardian readers.

  14. The extreme prochoicers are very keen on censoring any honest account of how late abortions are performed or the trade in body parts uncovered by Judicial Watch showing receipts for body parts from Planned Parenthood.

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