Thursday, June 12, 2008
The meaning of life
It is funny, is is not, how the drones of the Religious Right drone on about the invidious nature of Rights and about the tyranny of "judicial activism," while a group called Right to Life spends a lifetime in the courts attempting to make judges change the abortion law. No, on second thoughts it is not funny at all, because this time they have in part succeeded. A judge with the unlikely name of Forrest Miller has made a judgement in favour of Right to Life New Zealand and against the Abortion Supervisory Committee.
Right to Life had claimed the Abortion Supervisory Committee had failed to properly interpret the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act, so "full regard is given to the rights of unborn children". I am not sure how they got further than the car park with this claim, given that the notion of the unborn having rights is absurd. It seems Justice Miller has complex views about this matter: the abortion law neither "confers or recognises" a legal right to life of the unborn child; however, the Bill of Rights, through the abortion law, had recognised the unborn child had a "claim on the conscience of the community and not merely that of the mother".
In its defence, the Abortion Supervisory Committee said it had no power to "review or oversee the clinical decision-making process," which makes one wonder what it does do. It also denied that New Zealand had "abortion on request", and said there was no evidence of this. The Judge thought otherwise, it seems because nobody had ever been prosecuted for breaking the rules.
According to the Press, Justice Minister Annette King said it was premature to talk about the implications of the judgement. "When it is completed and a judgement is made, the Government will seek in-depth advice from Crown law on the implications." Frankly, I think she is stalling. I think nobody in her Ministry yet understands the Judge's decision. I think the true meaning of Justice Miller's judgement may be as elusive as the Higgs Boson.
So, what can we learn from this experience? Well, for a start, Rights is difficult. It is difficult to comprehend a group calling itself Right to Life demanding that the Rights of the unborn child be recognised by the Law, especially difficult when that group is a Papist plot. Protip: when a Catholic group talks about Rights, you can be sure something is afoot, because the Magisterium of the Holy Roman Church has no place for Rights. Catholicism is about politics, not philosophy: the politics of Authority. You will not find talk of Rights in the philosophising of the Doctors of the Church or in its Codicils. Rights was invented by Protestants and Atheists in the 18th Century (although, just to make things difficult, these Protestants and Atheists pretended that Rights is universal and ancient, a pretence their successors maintain to this day) and has been opposed vigourously by the Magesterium ever since. And for very good reason: the notion of Rights, of values that are independent of their creator, is anathema to the Authority of the Church. In Catholic thinking, something is good because the Pope says it is so, although a previous Pope may have said it is bad; this condition also applies to bad things - the Pope says something is bad, so it is bad.
I am, of course, no theologian but I have a notion that the notion of a Right to life is heretical. How could anyone, born or unborn, claim a Right to something that is the gift of God? As we know, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but in neither case does any question of a Right arise. Burn them, I say, before this Heresy takes hold.
Interlude: we interrupt this post for a paragraph of moral perversity. Christchurch mother Tracey Hill (why are they always called Tracey - no, hold that thought) believes it is too easy to have an abortion. She should know - she had one. Now she is pregnant again, but this time she will keep the Unborn Child until it is born, and then "adopt it out." She says, "this time around, we're creating a life for someone." Note, if you will, the delicious ambiguity of that claim – is the life created for the Unborn Child or for the someone who will adopt the born child?
That said, we should move on, swiftly. Theology is a difficult matter, mostly because it is nonsensical. Rights, as observed earlier, is also difficult; whether or not Rights is nonsense is a matter of personal taste. The Right to life is particularly difficult, even for living people. When it is applied to those yet to be born, it becomes more difficult still and raises the question of whether the same Right should apply to the dead.
We could go on but, as mentioned earlier (twice), Rights is difficult. So, how do we avoid difficulty? Well, it is simple, really. What we do is we look again and then we realise that this matter is not about Rights at all. It is about sex.
You see, the men and women (mostly men) who go on and on about abortion may talk about the Unborn Child (a figure, like the Unknown Soldier, who is both real and mythical) but mostly they are concerned about sex. It is sex, of a particularly heterosexual kind, which causes pregnancies, some of them unwanted. These men and women (mostly men) do not like sex (except for the purpose of creating children) but they cannot stop it. So they try to stop people who have sex escaping one of its possible consequences, just to show them. If these people are going to have sex and the sex creates an Unborn Child, then they will have to live with it. After all, it is a gift from God.
And those people who have to live with the consequences of sex, they would be women, wouldn't they? Men, the ones with the sperm, are curiously absent from the moral landscape of the Right to Lifers, whether these men are partners, lovers, seducers or rapists. It is the women who bear the consequences and the children. The women get the blame and carry the stigma. And was it always thus? Yes it was, as the thoughts of dead catholic men show.
More meddlesome women can be found at The Hand Mirror.
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