Daniel Allott thinks the "Personally opposed, but..." stance is fallacious. He is wrong about that.
He starts out with a quote.
"I'm in the same position now that I was 12 years ago, when I ran for mayor, or as mayor, which is personally opposed to abortion, don't like it, hate it, would advise that woman have an adoption, rather than an abortion. And I will help you find the money for it. ...But it's your choice. It's an individual right. You get to make that choice."Sounds reasonable to me. Sounds respectful of other people's views.
-- Rudy Giuliani, CNN interview, April 5, 2007
Back in 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry insisted he was "personally opposed" to abortion; Hillary Clinton has called it "a sad, tragic choice"; and Barack Obama has described it as a "personal tragedy."So what? Though I'm not personally opposed to abortion, even I would just as soon it didn't happen. I'd much prefer that people took care to avoid a generally avoidable medical procedure. Even I don't think abortion is a good means of birth control.
If he didn't consider the unborn child a human being and/or didn't think that abortion hurt women, there would be little reason for him to oppose it, especially with words like "wrong," "hate" and "tragedy."What?? That no one would oppose abortion if pro-choice views were correct makes the "personally opposed, but..." stance dishonest? Come on, that doesn't follow. Coming from someone claiming to point out a fallacy it borders on being dishonest itself.
In other words, if the child in utero were merely a "cluster of cells" and if the effects of abortion on women were "mainly positive," as Planned Parenthood insists, why would anyone oppose it on a personal, or any, level?
No one would, of course, which is what makes the "personally opposed, but..." position so dishonest (and why it is in a very real sense a more deplorable position than that of the abortion advocate who fails to recognize the essence of abortion).
To acknowledge the grave injustice of abortion yet still promote its perpetuation is like saying: "I'm opposed to slavery but...No, it is not. Slavery involves the criminal denial of another autonomous person's human rights.
But, Mr. Allott is likely to protest, the "cluster of cells" IS a person.
No, it is not. It might become a person, but it is not a person. A person is not defined by the DNA in his cells, nor by the stage of development of cells containing DNA. The "cluster of cells" is no more a person than it is a chimp or a tumor. Or a slave.
In the end, the "personally opposed, but..." position on abortion cloaks itself in reason and compassion; but, it is merely a rhetorical device that shields the politician who refuses to follow through on in public what he purports to believe in private.In some cases, "personally opposed, but..." is simply pragmatic, something it is necessary to do, rather like going to church in this country. I'm sure that there are good and honest people of faith involved in politics. There are also good and honest people of NO faith involved in politics, but to be there they have to indulge Nature's little while lie.
In other cases, "personally opposed, but..." reflects respect for the views of others, and a sense of freedom lacking in those who would impose their implausible beliefs on others.
Different strokes for different folks.