Ross Douthat shreds the totems of sexual liberation

I’m convinced that The New York Times didn’t know what they were getting into when they brought Ross Douthat on as a columnist. He writes in a way that is deeply subversive to the values of sexual liberation. And you have to wonder if it troubles the editors to be standing so close to the woodchipper when Douthat shreds the totems of liberal orthodoxy like he did in his article yesterday, “There is No Pro-Life Case For Planned Parenthood.”

In his essay, Douthat exposes the absurdity of the claim that Planned Parenthood’s abortion mills actually reduce the number of abortions in this country. You should read the whole thing, but the conclusion is a must-read. Here it is:

So let’s be clear about what’s really going on here. It is not the pro-life movement that’s forced Planned Parenthood to unite actual family planning and mass feticide under one institutional umbrella. It is not the Catholic Church or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or the Southern Baptist Convention or the Republican Party that have bundled pap smears and pregnancy tests and HPV vaccines with the kind of grisly business being conducted on those videos. This is Planned Parenthood’s choice; it is liberalism’s choice; it is the respectable center-left of Dana Milbank and Ruth Marcus and Will Saletan that’s telling pro-life and pro-choice Americans alike that contraceptive access and fetal dismemberment are just a package deal, that if you want to fund an institution that makes contraception widely available then you just have to live with those “it’s another boy!” fetal corpses in said institution’s freezer, that’s just the price of women’s health care and contraceptive access, and who are you to complain about paying it, since after all the abortion arm of Planned Parenthood is actually pretty profitable and doesn’t need your tax dollars?

This is a frankly terrible argument, rooted in a form of self-deception that would be recognized as such in any other context. Tell me anything but this, liberals: Tell me that you aren’t just pro-choice but pro-abortion, tell me that abortion is morally necessary and praiseworthy, tell me that it’s as morally neutral as snuffing out a rabbit, tell me that a fetus is just a clump of cells and that pro-lifers are all unhinged zealots. Those arguments, as much as I disagree with them, have a real consistency, a moral logic that actually makes sense and actually justifies the continued funding of Planned Parenthood.

But to concede that pro-lifers might be somewhat right to be troubled by abortion, to shudder along with us just a little bit at the crushing of the unborn human body, and then turn around and still demand the funding of an institution that actually does the quease-inducing killing on the grounds that what’s being funded will help stop that organization from having to crush quite so often, kill quite so prolifically – no, spare me. Spare me. Tell the allegedly “pro-life” institution you support to set down the forceps, put away the vacuum, and then we’ll talk about what kind of family planning programs deserve funding. But don’t bring your worldview’s bloody hands to me and demand my dollars to pay for soap enough to maybe wash a few flecks off.

Come on, liberals. Reason and common sense beckon you to let the light in. Don’t turn away from this. We’re pulling for you.


  • Graham Dick

    Well, there you go; there you have it: liberalism boiled down to it’s true, actual, irreducible core. And it begs the question; if this is what kind of people they are, willing first to kill the living babe, and then to traffic in its sacred parts for profit, how, how, how, can we trust them in anything at all? It’s utterly loathsome.

  • Andrew Alladin

    The pro-life case for Planned Parenthood is something conjured up by a handful of “thought leaders” who wish to support abortion on demand but also want to appear “thoughtful and nuanced” since they’re too smart to acknowledge anything other than an unborn child’s life is being brutally and mercilessly taken away.

    It is an argument found only within the “smart set” of writers like Damon Linker and Will Saletan and made only by magazines like The New Republic and Slate. Their posture is always reluctantly pro-choice and simultaneously “troubled.” But never “troubled” enough to actually want to stop any abortion from taking place at any time before delivery.

    I actually prefer the full throat, no holds barred, nothing to feel guilty about abortion defenders like Pres. Obama, Sen. Schumer, The New York Times, and Planned Parenthood. They know what they’re doing to the unborn child and they don’t feel “troubled” by it.

  • Gus Nelson

    If your worldview begins with a universe that simply is and doesn’t think or plan or care, then you shouldn’t care about whether an action is moral or immoral or good or evil since these are just arbitrary human constructs, like all of the rest of reality. Yet, as Christians we know that all people have the imago dei, so they can’t help but try to make the moral “case” for things they want, because in the end they know, acknowledged or not, there is something else behind reality. We should feel a great deal of empathy for these folks – were we not all “once as they were?” Douthat’s analysis is correct, but he offers no prescription for the condition. Perhaps we should pray more for these folks? I don’t think that way often enough.

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