On (Dis)Engagement: Let’s not act like we all need to think alike on everything (and ideas on how to proceed when we do) :: A two-part essay :: 1 2
“The fundamental political idea of modern times is the presumed moral superiority of centralized control.” – Paul Lutus
This two-parter isn’t actually about abortion, but rather about living in the same country while remaining on speaking terms with one other. The recent revival1 of abortion in our political discourse (pardon my charitable language) makes abortion a timely table-setter for the rest of this essay.
This past Wednesday, after his party’s weekly caucus meeting, federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said “I have made it clear that future candidates need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills.”
I’m pro-choice™ myself, or at least I think I am. But does Trudeau’s definition mean “pro-choice, no matter what?” What if “voting pro-choice” means voting to explicitly permit no-questions-asked abortions at or after, say, 25 weeks, the 50% survival threshold for premature births? Is it so regressive to question the ethics of aborting a fetus that has a strong chance of being viable without further support of the mother? It’s possible to support easy and early abortions but to also have a nuanced position on late-term abortions. You might question the political wisdom of bringing it up, as women aren’t exactly lining up to get late-term abortions (only 2-3% are done after 16 weeks), so this would generate a lot of heat for seemingly no good political or practical reason.2
CTV News: “Topless protesters disrupt anti-abortion rally on Parliament Hill” ↩
Morally, “one is too many” may be an averable reason. But the evils of the asymptotic effort required to stamp out every last transgression might outweigh the evils of the actual transgressions. ↩