As word comes, via Ian Donnis on The Public’s Radio, that the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee may have found legislation that gives Sen. Stephen Archambault (D, Smithfield) the room he needs to disappoint pro-lifers, a recent post by Rod Dreher comes to mind.
He starts with a left-wing intellectual who is advocating that feminists should stop pretending that abortion isn’t the taking of a human life, but acknowledge that “it is a form of killing that we need to be able to defend,” as a right to “stop doing gestational work.” This is part of Sophie Lewis’s broader program of abolishing the family and furthering “cyborg ecology and queer communism.” Writes Dreher:
Do I think that most people on the American Left are prepared to embrace “gestational communism” (Lewis’s word), and abortion as killing that can be defended? No. But what I do believe is that the vanguard of the Left — that is, the elites who populate newsrooms, publishing houses, university faculties, law schools, and ultimately, the Democratic Party — favor a vision of sex, family, and human dignity that cannot and will not defend the family from the Sophie Lewises of the world. If a right-wing publisher brought forth a book by a smart far-right philosopher arguing in a contemporary key for reviving German eugenics ideas and policies, it would (rightly!) face universal condemnation, and there’s no way conservative opinion magazines would review the thing, much less give it a respectful review.
I don’t mean that in a whatabout way. I mean that for now, we have the capacity in this culture to recognize radical evil when it arises from the right, and resist it. But if eugenicists can find a way to state their argument in left-wing terms, and have approved left-wing pedigrees (Lewis studied at Oxford, the New School, etc.), they would find it much easier to advance the idea that there is some life unworthy of life, and that defending the common good requires exterminating it.
Note, for example, that one of the “compromise” measures in the new RI Senate bill would be to require doctors to “record the basis for why it was necessary for the life or health of the woman” to kill an unborn child who would have been viable outside of the womb. What is that but a killing that the doctor can defend?
To the extent that the new language in the Sub B of H-5125 really does simply “codify” Roe v. Wade as promised, one must wonder what the point is. After all, the legislature will surely have another session before the U.S. Supreme Court could manage to reverse its earlier decision in that case, and even then, the way in which the court reverses the decision would likely make any laws codifying Roe unconstitutional. (If, for example, the court finds that a viable child’s right to life is greater than the mother’s “right to privacy,” a state law could not contradict that principle.)
In other words, this push by progressives is a means of advancing their worldview. The trickiness of some of the provisions in the supposed “compromise” illustrates the point. In order to take the life of a viable fetus, for example, the doctor would have to note the reason it was necessary, but that reason goes in the medical records of the mother, which are private. There is no additional acknowledgment that the child’s life had value or means of tracking doctors’ standards for justifying the killing.
That’s not the worst trick, though. Right now, Rhode Island law recognizes the humanity of a “quick child” (i.e., a viable fetus) if he or she dies in an attack on the mother. Not only would the SubB continue the earlier version’s repeal of this law, but the actual “compromise” makes things worse: All it does is define the death of the fetus as proof of “serious bodily injury” to the woman.
This dehumanization is the goal of the entire legislative push, and one could argue that it actually makes Rhode Island legislators who support it worse than a radical intellectual who wants to acknowledge the killing and then justify it.