Daniel Hardman

  • commented on I'm a Mormon and I Stand with Planned Parenthood #standwithPP 2015-08-09 22:58:09 -0700
    Like you, I am a Mormon. I see that we share some common values. In particular, I can never be supportive of video that’s deliberately deceptive, and I do believe in truth rather than sensationalism. You say the video is a lie, and I can believe that parts of it are. But if the videos lie by omission, they do not lie by including the bloody remnants of fetal bodies… Such is the real outcome of abortions, and there’s no getting around it.

    Since I have had loved ones in the sorts of crises that might make an abortion the lesser of two evils (life of the mother, aftermath of a rape), I try to stay out of the question of whether a particular woman is justified in making such a choice. I can believe such cases exist. Again, I can see common ground with you there.

    However, you say that making abortions rare is a job for education, and this is where my discomfort with PP gets stickier. I think PP does much less to make abortions rare than it ought to. You say that counselors at PP provide facts and support a woman no matter what choice she makes. This aggressive non-judgment might be necessary neutrality in a few cases, but often, it’s refusing to call a spade a spade, and it communicates the false idea that whatever a woman chooses is okay. Education isn’t just about providing facts, it’s about placing them in a moral context. We aren’t morally neutral when we teach about genocides and slavery in history classes; why do we buy the idea that we should be neutral when we teach about abortion? Abortion is awful. It might be necessary, but it’s definitely awful.

    You say we should get religion out of politics. I don’t believe that’s the same thing as getting morality out of politics, and you will notice that I have made no claims here that are based on religion as opposed to straight ethics. I have lived in many places where I was part of a tiny religious minority, and I understand that there are problems when the majority imposes its morality. But those problems are just as real when the majority is a-religious or anti-religious. Imagining otherwise is wishful thinking.

    I also think that PP is guilty of the same sort of disingenuous portrayals of its behavior and motives as you decry (rightly) in sensationalist videos. I base this on years of reports I have encountered in reputable media and in scholarly studies about racism and abortion, birth control and poverty, and the like. I could be wrong in my conclusions, but you should not assume that everyone who has a low opinion of PP only arrives at it because of one moment of shock from an amateur right-to-lifer.


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