The Spectacle Blog

Abortion Rights and Compassion Gone Mad

By on 3.3.14 | 5:10PM

Gail Collins can be forgiven for her fundamental misunderstanding of Arizona’s SB 1062, as most of the media dishonestly reported that the bill was “anti-gay.” However, Collins quickly loses the benefit of the doubt as she concludes that the pro-life movement, and the politicians who represent it, hate the poor.

Of course, it's not as if conservatives haven’t faced such attacks before. This is simply a regurgitation of the theme of that “war” that Democrats love to trumpet. I refuse to even give it credence by using the full term in this post.

Collins's main point is that the GOP ultimately always screws the poor with their policies. “Follow the lack of money,” she says.

Besides the confusing and errant ambling of this article, “gay rights” and “abortion rights” are two issues which should not be compared, and to do so is to treat human life flippantly. The right of two men or women to be able to “marry” shouldn’t be linked to the abortion debate because it doesn’t involve the destruction of a defenseless person’s life.

Or should I say “fetus.” According to Collins and similar thinkers, compassion for the poor means giving them the right to destroy their child, a terribly traumatic and horrendous decision.  

So let’s get back to the fundamentals. What are “rights?” Do they include refusing the extension of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to Arizona? If they do, it is “right” to prevent religious people from using their religion as a defense against a discrimination lawsuit. That’s what SB 1062 would have allowed.

What about abortion? Is it truly “compassionate” to prioritize the life of the mother over that of the child? The common good should be served; that means the protection of both lives on an equal basis.

We may be well-served by re-examining the meaning of virtue as it relates to human rights. Rights, of course, must come with responsibility, and virtues provide those: compassion, truth, and humility, to name a few.

In this regard, G.K. Chesterton was correct when he wrote in 1908:

The modern world is full of old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone…Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity…is often untruthful.

Indeed, our pity for poor, pregnant women allows some of us to say that abortion is acceptable and even right, for we do not wish to care more than is necessary.

The first step towards the redefinition of “human rights” should be the avowal of truth: truth about SB 1062, as well as truth about what “reproductive rights” actually are. They are compassion gone mad. 

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