Aborting Reason

The left's logical case for abortion rights had officially collapsed.  We can thank CNN's Piers Morgan for administering last rites when he resorted to the tired, sensationalized, "Yeah, well, what if your daughter was raped?" argument with Rick Santorum in a televised interview (video).

There's a reason why anytime we seek to settle a bitter dispute between two feuding parties, we turn to a disinterested third person to act as the arbiter.  There's a reason why courtroom litigants plead their case before an unbiased, dispassionate jury of their peers.  There's a reason why the president and the public evaluate the temperament of judges before appointing or electing them to office.  The reason is because we know that when attempting to come to a clear, rational, sound conclusion about serious and many times controversial issues, emotional connections to either side can cloud our judgment and confuse our thinking.

And that's also the very reason why on the great moral dilemma of our day -- the legality of abortion -- those holding to the ethically, scientifically, and constitutionally inferior position known as supporting a "woman's right to choose" (notice the habitual omission of what it is that women should have the right to choose to do) seek to inject as much emotion, as many exceptional cases, and as much passionately sensational rhetoric as possible.  They may be short on logic, but they're not stupid when it comes to winning the battle for public opinion.

That's why you see virtually no liberal willing to speak to the most fundamental question of the entire controversy: the humanity of what is in the womb.  They simply declare any discussions of humanness, biology, and personhood rights to be above their pay grade, and thereby dismiss themselves from any expectation or obligation to answer questions that would expose their logical bankruptcy.  Instead, they set the parameters of the debate, and draw conservatives into wildly emotional exchanges that inflame passions rather than engage intellects.

Take the recent interview of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum conducted by CNN host Piers Morgan.  Santorum is a pro-life stalwart and one of the few conservatives on the national scene who articulates the seemingly obvious position that if you believe that an unborn child is a human being entitled to fundamental and constitutional rights, then there is no exception by which you can condone the denial of those rights.  Otherwise, you are absurdly attempting to make a moral case for murder. 

But in what can only be described as indignant tones, Morgan challenged this logical consistency not with an appeal to reason, but with this bit of shameful, back-alley journalism: "Do you really believe, in every case, it should be totally wrong, in the sense that -- I know that you believe, even in the cases of rape and incest -- and you've got two daughters.  You know, if you have a daughter that came to you who had been raped, and was pregnant and was begging you to let her have an abortion, would you really be able to look her in the eye and say, no, as her father?"

Morgan's disgraceful retreat from sound logic to the manipulative playground of emotion-driven passions is as transparent as it is embarrassing.  This question is designed not to reveal any truth in the abortion debate, but rather, it is a tactical scheme made for the cameras in which the liberal questioner puts the conservative respondent in a corner.  If Santorum says he would deny his daughter's pleas, he looks like the cold and heartless goon that Morgan believes him to be.  If he says he would relent and allow his daughter an abortion, he surrenders his moral high ground and appears a hypocrite.

And though Santorum answered the question effectively, stating that he "would do what every father must do...try to counsel your daughter to do the right thing," there's a greater point to be made here.  Liberal politicians never have to answer such outrageous emotionalism in their interviews.  Can you imagine, for example, Barack Obama being called on his condemnation of former President Bush's advanced interrogation techniques with this challenge: "If Sasha and Malia were kidnapped and were being held and brutally tortured by terrorists, and we captured one of their accomplices who had knowledge of their secret hideout, would you not authorize any force necessary to get your girls back?"  Can you fathom the outcry against such a loaded, sensationalized question?

Or compare apples to apples and envision Obama being quizzed by Piers Morgan: "So if you believe that partial-birth abortion is a legitimate medical procedure that violates no moral law, would you be willing to inject the saline into your own daughter's womb to burn your grandchild alive?"  Such outrageously aggressive and offensively personal questioning would have Morgan looking for work within a week.

Yet that is what conservatives face every time they attempt to discuss the issue of abortion with liberals.  If sound conclusions come from restraining emotions, and liberals conduct their entire case on the basis of emotion, what should that tell us about their conclusions?

Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana.  E-mail peter@peterheck.com, visit www.peterheck.com, or like him on Facebook