Thursday, December 4, 2008

Abortion and Gay Rights

1. Last week, a poster at the Jury Talks Back asked a good question: "Suppose the technology existed to safely remove a fetus from a womb at any gestational stage for incubation elsewhere until birth. If such “no-death abortion” was available to any woman who wanted it, would most abortion rights supporters stand down?" Patterico followed it up with a post on his own blog, saying that a pro-choice person he posed the question to was adamantly against it. JTB had a follow-up to the original post as well. I found it an interesting question, partially because I had the same idea when I was a teenager (again!) and toyed with the idea of becoming a doctor in order to pursue it -- of course I would have had to be a medical technologist instead, but I didn't think about it hard enough to realize that. The objections to this scenario on the blogs linked to above strike me as contrived: the baby might come to the mother 40 years later looking for a kidney transplant; it would allow rapists to propagate themselves; etc. The primary argument in favor of abortion has been that women shouldn't have to go through pregnancies when they don't want to. The above scenario would allow women to end their pregnancies. If a pro-choice advocate is still against it, then their real goal is not to allow women to end unwanted pregnancies. Their real goal is to kill unwanted fetuses.

2. The Volokh Conspiracy reports (from the Religious Clause blog) on an interesting case: a black woman, an administrator at the University of Toledo, took umbrage at an op-ed in her local newspaper arguing that gay rights are a type of civil rights and that homosexuals are equivalent to black people. She wrote a very respectful but dissenting op-ed of her own, a large part of which expressed the traditional Christian belief that homosexual behavior is a type of rebellion against God. Here is her op-ed. She was promptly fired. The university defended their action by saying her views on homosexual behavior make it impossible for her to fulfill her role as an administrator. She has pointed out that it has never prevented her from hiring gay people before during her 25-year career. Instapundit calls it a political firing, but it seems to be a religious firing to me.

1 comment:

jacob longshore said...

I'd say Cynthia Dixon's firing was both political and religious. More specifically, it's a muddled mix of the two, based on two failures:

(a) the inability (or refusal) to distinguish between private freedom and public freedom (see Kant's "What is Enlightenment?"),


(b) the inability (or refusal) to articulate the separation of church and state, which must be clear in this case (since U. of Toledo is a state university).

So as far as I can tell, it's a four-way mix-up. Ms. Dixon was speaking as a private citizen, not in her job role, and she was voicing her opinion based mainly on religious conviction. I think she was clear on this, whereas the university was not.

If I'm right, the administration either wasn't thinking clearly on the matter, or it was bowing to anticipated pressure from a public that didn't think clearly on the matter. In any case, that wouldn't be good.

I'd like develop this more in a post of my own, but I'm just too busy so it's not going to happen right now.