The other day, I read a reader comment in an Alabama newspaper. The person who wrote it said she was torn between, "...voting for a pedophile, or voting for someone who believes in abortion."
And after a day's long and hard reflection on how on earth this could be a difficult decision, I figured it out.
The anti-abortion, VEHEMENTLY anti-abortion, philosophy is one over quantity of quality, and the pro-choice philosophy is of quality over quantity. Not of quality or quantity of life, but of LIVES.
Anti-abortion advocates think a baby with no chance of survival outside the womb should still be carried to term, because even if it only lives 20 minutes of pure agony, that's better than nothing. Pro-choice advocates believe that there's no sense putting anyone through that kind of inevitable and unstoppable pain. Like euthanizing a terminally ill dog. (And I think you'll find that the correlation between people who support abortion access and people who support right-to-die initiatives is pretty high, for similar reasons.)
Anti-abortion advocates seem to have the idea in their head that life IS suffering, and that suffering is inevitable. So the idea of voting for somebody who supports the idea of another person getting an abortion is disgusting to them, reprehensible because there could be more people, more and more and more people sucking up resources and requiring government services and healthcare and education and housing. And as for voting for a pedophile... well, all those people who are going to be born are going to suffer anyway, aren't they? They're not going to get enough food, or a home, or an education, they'll probably die getting shot while robbing a liquor store to pay for drugs, or maybe they'll get shot sitting in church, or they'll get shot at their school, or they'll get shot at the movies, or they'll get shot serving in an endless war overseas.
The point is, it doesn't matter, because life is suffering, so what big a difference does it make if a child is molested, right?
Whereas the pro-choice view is, these people who are alive now, who can walk around and who have tangible needs and want to contribute to society, they can't do that if they have a(nother) child. It costs about $250K to raise a child in this country. There's a reason the vast majority of women who get abortions are already mothers, they KNOW how hard it is, what they're facing, and what the consequences are.
What does the anti-abortion zealot care that a woman might lose her job, her home, and then custody of all her children if she doesn't get an abortion? Those children are destined to suffer anyway, right? Who cares what happens to them in the foster system.
The reason there's such a huge disconnect in the disparate sides of the abortion debate is we're not mostly debating the same thing. We're not debating whether abortion is evil, we're debating whether our lot as human beings is to suffer, or whether it is to improve our world.
So the choices to vote for Roy Moore is a choice of nihilism, the profound nihilism of the "pro-life" movement, which would be more accurately described as "pro-lives" or "pro-pain" movement. It's quantity over quality.
The pro-choice camp wants every life to be a life worth living. It doesn't see the value in breeding ourselves to gross overpopulation. It doesn't see the value of suffering by default. It doesn't believe that life is pain and then you die but the more lives you create the more likely a vengeful God is to keep you from burning in the pits of Hell.
I personally believe life is exactly as good as you make it. And the more people you make it better for, the better a person you are, and that's what matters.
Abortion is the question of the value of a human life. And the question is, is it worth so little that we need billions and billions and billions of them as soon as possible? Or is it so valuable that we take care of it so that it can achieve its astounding potential? Do we take care of our children with birth abnormalities, or do we deny them education and medical intervention and bankrupt their parents and siblings and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins in the process? Do we take care of healthy and unwanted children, or do we relegate them to a broken foster system in which more than half of the children never get adopted?
The reason so many anti-abortion protesters don't adopt foster children themselves is that they're not interested in making sure people's lives are any better. They're only interested in making sure there are more people.
"Pro-life" is the argument that a million monkeys in a million years can produce the works of Shakespeare. "Pro-choice" is the argument that one life, properly educated and given the opportunity, can BE Shakespeare.
Electing Roy Moore will cause suffering, to his victims, and to every child who has been abused by a man in power and feels their worthlessness has been proven to them. That is an avoidable suffering I would have thought everyone could agree on.
But if life is suffering, then I suppose the rabid right will look at hurting girls and say, "Fuck it."
Lea Grover scribbles about sex-positive parenting, marriage after cancer, and vegetarian cooking. When she isn’t revising her upcoming memoir, she can be found singing opera, smeared to the elbow in pastels, or complaining/bragging about her children on twitter (@bcmgsupermommy) and facebook.