Every semester I ask my students to write an essay and describe their ‘personal political identities’, giving policy positions as examples. Abortion is a popular issue. Oklahoma is a rural, conservative, and devoutly religious state. My class is comprised mostly of Freshmen taking their required Govt credit. Given this, I’m always surprised (impressed?) by the nuance and ambiguity of their abortion opinions. Yet, there is one thought meme that keeps appearing that really burns my biscuits (I stole that euphemism from Serena and I’m not giving it back).
Most think its wrong, but are uncomfortable with the idea that it should be illegal. Most contain underlying currents of respect for individuals’ right to control their bodies free from government interference. The one argument that they write again and again is not about the bible, or murder, or the sanctity of life, but about personal responsibility. It goes a little something like this (paraphrasing here):
It just isnt right that people should be allowed to act however they want and not have to face the consequences. If you are old/responsible enough for sex, then you should be old/responsible enough for a baby. The fact that people think abortion is okay means they just sleep around and don’t care. This encourages promiscuity/irresponsibility and thats bad for society.
This floors me. I just do not understand how the availability of abortion has any impact on sexual behavior that is different from the availability of condoms or birth control. I feel like this line of argument is a product of their youth, and the echoes of their parents advice still ringing in their ears.
Yet, this seems a popular talking points for full fledged talking head pro-lifers as well. Do you know any women (or men for that matter) that cheerfully reassure themselves before sex, ‘I can have as many abortions as I want! Bring on the dick! Woo hoo!’ Where does this insanity originate and whats the best way to pushback against it?
Kate is a public policy expert with a vintage dress obsession.