The Pro-Choice Paradox
Regis NicollRegis Nicoll's weblog
- 2010 Jan 15
Leonard Pitts was unsettled with the news of John Allen Muhammad's execution.
Pitts is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist who is, by his own admission, a "staunch opponent" of capital punishment. But what unsettled him was not the execution of the DC sniper; it was his lack of remorse over it, and even satisfaction with it. Pitts confesses that he had the same feelings when Timothy McVeigh was put to death.
Reflecting on his emotions, Pitts realizes they are deeply opposed to his convictions—convictions, he admits, that are also in conflict with his pro-choice sentiments. As to how he squares his loathe for the death penalty with his approval of abortion rights, he admits, "I can't." His only answer is that "‘most' of us are guilty of inconsistency" in the "gray areas of life."
He cites conservatives who oppose abortion because of their pro-life convictions, yet support capital punishment which takes life and, at times, takes innocent life. But contradictory positions are unavoidable, Pitts allows, because life is "messy and untidy." We all ignore truths, he continues, "that indict our deep convictions, striking bargains with conscience in the name of a good night's sleep."
No argument here that life is messy. But ignoring moral truths for the sake of a good night's sleep is a poor bargain.
Pitts says that his pro-choice stance stems from his aversion to laws that would "compel a woman to bear a child, for whatever reason." Actually, those laws would forbid the killing of her child for whatever reason, or no reason.
If Pitts finds such "pre-partum" laws distasteful, why shouldn't laws forbidding a woman to "terminate" her post-partum child be equally distasteful—one with, say, a severe physical or mental defect? Because he chooses to think of the pre-partum child as a "potential human...an oops without a name," as he indelicately puts it.
It is the choice of willful ignorance—the shutting of eyes, the covering of ears, the closing of minds, and the hardening of hearts to... Continue reading here.