Dinesh D’Sousa argues that the pro-choice movement prevailsâ€”in spite of its bad argumentsâ€”because of its connection to the sexual revolution. Pro-choicers by and large are not concerned about the humanity of the unborn. Indeed, some will grant that the unborn are human beings, but they will not grant that the unborn have a fundamental right to life. Why? He answers:
‘I think it’s because abortion is the debris of the sexual revolution. We have seen a great shift in the sexual mores of Americans in the past half-century. Today a widespread social understanding persists that if there is going to be sex outside marriage, there will be a considerable number of unwanted pregnancies. Abortion is viewed as a necessary clean-up solution to this social reality.
‘In order to have a sexual revolution, women must have the same sexual autonomy as men. But the laws of biology contradict this ideology, so feminists who have championed the sexual revolutionâ€”Simone de Beauvoir, Gloria Steinem, Shulamith Firestone, among othersâ€”have found it necessary to denounce pregnancy as an invasion of the female body. The fetus becomes, in Firestone’s phrase, an “uninvited guest.” As long as the fetus occupies the mother’s womb, these activists argue, the mother should be able to keep it or get rid of it at her discretion. . .
‘If I’m on the right track, pro-life arguments are not likely to succeed by simply continuing to stress the humanity of the fetus. The opposition already knows this, as probably do most women who have an abortion. Rather, the pro-life movement must take into account the larger cultural context of the sexual revolution that invisibly but surely sustains the triumphant advocates of abortion.
‘It won’t be easy, but somehow the case against abortion must include a case against sexual libertinism. It is time to return to the drawing board.’
I am so very grateful for the pro-life movement and the gains it has made in winning hearts and minds. Indeed, the pro-life movement is at its best when it is confronting the culture of death with the humanity of the unborn. Consciences are still sensitive in many cases to that kind of argument.
Nevertheless, I agree with D’Sousa that confronting the culture of death must involve a confrontation with sexual libertinism. I don’t think, however, that the pro-life movement is equipped to change the culture on that question. The sexual revolution will not be turned back by “public square” arguments. Arguments can only do so much. Only the gospel can beat back the tide of immorality that rests so heavily on our culture. Thus, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ alone has the means to address what’s at the heart of all of this. I hope and pray that she will.