Back in the 1970’s and early 80’s, one of the popular rallying cries of the pro-abortion movement was exactly the comparison made in the essay title: if America forced women to carry their own unborn children to term, then America was treating women like chickens, that is, we valued women only for their eggs and their ability to be broody hens.
By purest coincidence, the pro-aborts began to grow strangely silent on this point in 1978, the year the first test tube baby was born. At the very moment the scientific establishment began to treat women as egg-laying machines, it suddenly became acceptable to treat women as egg-layers and as broody hens (the professional term is “surrogate mothers”). Today, the chickens have come home to roost. Despite the enormous health risks involved in egg harvesting, IVF and stem cell researchers make no secret of their desire to pay women for their egg production, and the use of their wombs. And no one has used the “broody hen” argument in twenty years.
But pro-aborts are not the only ones who grow strangely silent at times. Many Christians are wroth because President George Bush sees no problem with legalizing Plan B for use without a prescription. As one NPR reporter noted today, Plan B kills embryos that are exactly as old as the embryos used in embryonic stem cell research, which George and the rest of Christianity opposes.
Christians are in high dudgeon: George is inconsistent! Well, yes, but no more than most other Christians.
Plan B, you see, is simply a high-dose version of the popular birth control pill. Every hormonal contraceptive is exactly as abortifacient as Plan B is because Plan B contains exactly the same set of drugs found in any other hormonal contraceptive. So, when we say Plan B causes chemical abortions - and it does - we should simultaneously acknowledge that all hormonal contraceptives cause abortions, because they do.
Christians, by and large, insist on the first point and refuse to acknowledge the second., even though contraceptives don’t just abort children, they abort marriages. Today’s Christians, upset at the power of the homosexual lobby, have begun to blame the acceptance of homosexual marriage on the pre-existing acceptance of no-fault divorce among the heterosexual Christians. However, they conspicuously fail to note that contraception drives no-fault divorce. The pill makes the occasional fling and the purposely child-less marriage possible. It helps each spouse treat the other as an object to be used, not a person to be cherished. Wherever legal contraception is introduced, divorce and abortion increase. But like broody pro-aborts, righteous Christians do not permit themselves to draw that conclusion.
After all, logical conclusions are painful, as the case of circumcision shows. The World Health Organization now has several studies demonstrating that circumcision greatly reduces the transmission of AIDS in Africa. Listening to a CDC researcher explain the findings to an incredulous reporter was like listening to Galileo explain heliocentrism to the university professors at Padua. First, the reporter questioned the veracity of the news. Upon being assured it was true, he responded by saying, “Well, then circumcision campaigns for children will begin?” The researcher replied in the negative - African men were flocking to clinics to have the surgery. The reporter’s perplexity was palpable. He couldn’t imagine why an adult male would seek to reduce risk of disease by reducing pleasure. It sounded too much like some kind of twisted abstinence program.
For this reporter, as for most everyone else, lack of imagination combines with a lack of logical thought lies at the root of the problem. The difficulty is most obvious in pedophilia. Now that sex is divorced from procreation, the whole idea that we need an adult ability to consent to sex really goes by the wayside. Why do we say that a child cannot consent to sex? Sex is just about pleasure, right? A child can consent to the pleasure of eating an ice cream cone. A child can consent to the pleasure of going on an amusement ride. The idea that sex requires special, adult ability to consent is predicated on the idea that sex entails or creates adult responsibility - but if there is no procreative aspect to sex, then what adult responsibility is there?
There is as much chance of catching disease from an amusement ride or prepared food as there is in having sex. Pregnancy is not even a possibility for prepubescent girls and boys. In this respect pedophilia is, like homosexuality, a wonderful form of pleasure-filled contraception. So why does someone who accepts contraception or homosexual marriage insist on the need for adult consent from children?
The separation of procreation and sex is the ultimate no-fault divorce, in which the parties separate but neither side wants custody of the children - morality, ethics, and values. As I have pointed out elsewhere, sex doesn’t just create children – it also creates parents. The same mentality that drives homosexuals to desire the honor of marriage without the reality that marriage is about conceiving children, drive others to desire the title of parent without the difficulty of having actual children. Thus, it is not hard to find those who insist pregnancy begins at implantation, while steadfastly refusing to acknowledge their redefinition of reality means sex doesn’t create children (only gestation does) and men are therefore no longer fathers (since they don’t gestate).
In every case, the parties described above are operating from a set of inconsistent premises, an incoherent world-view. They continue to rely on the moral suasion of superseded definitions, despite having discarded the very definitions that created the moral suasion. Christians and non-Christians alike thrash in thin air, suspended only by the noose of their own logic after they have kicked away the foundation upon which they used to stand.