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Aborting Aurora

Jim Bowman 25 September 2007 No Comment

Defending a proposed Aurora woman’s health center, pro-choice clerics recently took the high road. To deny access to abortion, they said in a Loop church, is to deny “moral standing” to people who want one, which is another way of saying we’re right and you’re wrong. Let’s not play that right-and-wrong game, if you don’t mind. Let’s get analytically philosophical, like the British did when I was getting scholastically philosophical in the 1950s.

First, health center. Chi Trib’s Eric Zorn tells us this center provides things besides abortion. Yes, but dear heart, where would Planned Non-parenthood be today if it did not provide abortion? They would be pushing pills that everybody has who wants them, victim of their own success. Abortion saved their goose.

Zorn, by the way, says if they lied to get the Aurora permit, that’s OK. Creative subterfuge, he called it, to head off the pitchfork-wielders with their pine-sap torches ablaze who show up when a woman’s health center gets off the ground. This is creative moralizing. What does Z. think he is, a situational ethicist?

Some of us philosophers call this center an abortion clinic, feeling that if it’s the tail of this dog, it’s a very strong one, with a swing like Barry Bonds on the day the ointment kicked in. We also wonder about the woman’s health part, asking how women feel pre- and post-abortion, how goes their life afterwards, and so on. We’re not supposed to ask about that, but it’s a free country, and some of us do.

One thing we know is it’s no natal care center. In fact, it’s fatal to what some call the unborn child. These look forward to when it’s banned along with cigarettes and other health menaces. They would like some day to see this right to choose go the way of the right to choose not to wear a seat belt.

We philosophers wonder further about this right to choose, asking, choose what? To vote against it in a referendum? Forget it. Out the window since 1973. Meanwhile, the movement for which Planned Non-parenthood is the operational standard-bearer is known (oddly) as pro-choice.

It’s deucedly clever. The lovable old radical Studs Terkel never put the question “Which side are you on, boy?” about a redder-blooded American ideal than freedom to choose, to which if you give the wrong answer, you are an enemy not only of progress but also probably of the whole human race.

However, the choice in question is to kill someone in cold blood, with malice aforethought, when that individual hasn’t a clue as to what’s going on and intends no harm. That would be your average unborn person, badly conceived in the view of the chooser, an intruder against whom deadly force is OK.

As for the Aurora health center, technically the problem seems to be location. Pitchfork-wielding locals do not want it anywhere, but specifically right now they do not want it in their back yard. What would Planned Non-parenthood think of Navy Pier instead? The Children’s Museum is itching to get out. Would the museum consider Aurora?

For now the pitchforkers threaten a progressive final solution to the case of the ill-conceived and unwanted child. What to do? Progressive people have such good ideas for us, but we don’t seem to realize that. What to do about us? Are we the problems after all? Were we also ill-conceived?

I don’t want to hear about it.


Jim Bowman is the former religion editor of the old Chicago Daily News. A former Jesuit priest, he was a longtime teacher at Ignatius Prep and is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer.

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