This is not that

Dear oh dear – if you’re going to disagree, disagree with the actual claim, not a different one. That applies to sub-claims as well as the chief claim.

Someone called Rand Paul Fanbase (not a promising start, I know) on Twitter:


Rand Paul Fanbase @LibertyNerd

@OpheliaBenson not only supports abortion “rights” but says there’s nothing bad about abortion. Humanism=hedonism.

What I actually wrote in the piece:

We don’t have to be helpless before a failure of contraception, because there is a fix. That’s not tragic.

Of course, that’s not to say that abortion is never sorrowful. It’s to say that it’s not inherently and always sorrowful and that it shouldn’t be made so by people who care more about a stranger’s pregnancy than about her right to decide whether it will continue. The pervasive idea that abortion is inherently and always sorrowful is a product of the political war against it and should be clearly recognized as such.

Saying “it’s not inherently and always sorrowful” is not the same as saying “there’s nothing bad about it.”


  1. qwints says

    I don’t get the distinction. Isn’t it true that you (and I, for that matter) agree that abortion isn’t a bad act. Whatever sorrow comes from it doesn’t come from the abortion itself, but occasionally from the context of the act.

  2. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I won’t even give them that much. They do not care, you see. They are only interested in keeping the Overton Window shifted so far to the right that abortion is always problematized. No concession from our side will make any difference but it will be used as a notch on the ratchet. Don’t give them anything.

    I’m four-square pro-abortion for any person who wants one, at any time, no questions asked. I do not care whether a person finds it joyful or sorrowful, or reflects upon it, or goes on with her day.

  3. anbheal says

    Yeah, if you had actually said “there’s nothing bad about it”, that would have been fine as well, by way of a vague toss-off bromide. Nothing bad about dentistry, most of the time.

  4. Pen says

    Saying “it’s not inherently and always sorrowful” is not the same as saying “there’s nothing bad about it.”

    Like qwints, I’m not sure I see the distinction and I would be interested in knowing why you feel uncomfortable subscribing to the second statement? My premise would be that abortion is not morally bad, and has been selected by the woman in question as her least bad option in all other respects. Sure, I guess, not needing an abortion is always better…

  5. says

    Not all of them. If you want to have a baby but the timing is all wrong, for instance, an abortion can be very sorrowful. That’s a different sense of “bad” from what you’re saying perhaps.

  6. Chris J says


    I was wondering the same thing. There’s even a form called Epicureanism (blame wikipedia for any ignorance I display) that focuses more on minimizing pain than maximizing pleasure, and the practitioners recommend an ascetic life of enjoying simpler pleasures and avoiding excess in sex and food and so on. And abortion would still be a moral act in that philosophy due to avoiding the greater pain of potentially raising a child you do not want or cannot support.

  7. says

    Pen @ 6 – I didn’t say I feel uncomfortable saying what that tweeter said I said. I simply said I didn’t say it, because that’s the truth.

    Would I say it? No, because that’s not the truth. At the most literal level, it’s physically unpleasant at a minimum, and there are other levels. It can be the least worst option; it can also be the very best option and an uncomplicated relief; it depends.

    I have no problem saying there’s nothing morally bad about it…Well, on second thought, I wouldn’t put it that way, because I don’t like saying things that might be hard to defend. I try to avoid absolutes of that kind, just for convenience of arguing, if you see what I mean. But do I think abortion is just a little bit morally bad? No, I don’t.

  8. Sili says

    And here I thought Libertarians were all about the rights and freedoms of the individual. How odd.

  9. thascius says

    @12-“And here I thought Libertarians were all about the rights and freedoms of the individual. How odd” The thing is some individuals-by some strange coincidence I’m sure, whiter, richer, male-er, more heterosexual ones, wind up with more rights and freedoms than others. Which in libertarian-world is perfectly acceptable. Though to be fair, many libertarians are pro-choice. They’re just generally less disturbed by governments limiting the freedom of ordinary individuals than they are by governments limiting the freedom of the wealthy and the powerful or big corporations.

  10. Shatterface says

    There’s nothing morally wrong with abortion, any more than having your tonsils out.

    Nobody wants a medical procedure, unless they’re in a JG Ballard book in which everyone does; but sometimes its necessary, and thankfully we live at a time where both procedures are largely safe and easily available.

    Saying that is a long way from claiming its an entirely pleasant experience.

  11. moarscienceplz says

    Well, I would imagine a Rand Paul fan WOULD get exercised about a procedure to cut off an anencephalic blob of protoplasm from its source of nourishment because it feels too much like a personal attack.

  12. leni says

    If you want to have a baby but the timing is all wrong, for instance, an abortion can be very sorrowful.

    It’s not much different than what you said here, but when I had one I felt more sad about the circumstances of my life being so dismal than I did about the abortion. The abortion itself was, as you say, pretty much an uncomplicated relief. I don’t regret it now and doubt I ever will.

    That’s not to say I don’t wonder how my life would be different, or about the person that fetus might have become, but those things are not sorrowful for me. They are not much different to me than when I wonder abut any other number of paths I could have chosen (or had chosen for me) and didn’t.

    And no, it is not immoral to protect yourself.

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