I did not want to comment on this Camille Paglia piece until I read it in full. I’m glad I did. On top of being splendid prose, this piece is a boon to the pro-life movement.
Let’s get straight to the part that has raised the ire of pro-lifers. Paglia says abortion is murder and then adds she fully accepts abortion. Is this shocking? Perhaps. But every woman who has had an abortion is grappling with that very sentiment. This is the essence of the debate and why pro-lifers care at all in the first place. Never to curtail anyone’s choices–but rather to identify that a person is a person, even in the womb (was tempted to say no matter how small, with apologies to Dr. Seuss) and therefore elimination is not a choice. Paglia has put on the page what every strident pro-abortion activist accepts and knows. They simply don’t say it.
Paglia speaks of “the uneasy conscience of feminism…” and I know that well. It’s that silence that descends most every time the “A word” comes up. I like to think it’s the sound of people’s conscience contorting, writhing around what they know to be true and what they’ve been told they must say. Most women will never accept that murder is their special privilege.
Abortion is “the extermination of the powerless by the powerful,” again, Paglia’s words, which I will be sure to repeat. (If you don’t think abortion is the extermination of the powerless by the powerful, you’ve not watched one in progress, and you should.) Pro-abortion types fare better in the public square if they conceal, conceal, conceal. This is why Bill C-484 had to go. Because it would have started women and men thinking, thinking, slowing realizing–what are we doing? And that is the frightening consistency of pro-abortion types: keep abortion out of the public mind, because free thought is out of bounds.
I’ll take Paglia’s words one step further: the extermination of the powerless by the powerful begins with conniving and devious so-called supporters of women’s rights–those who lie about what abortion is and then convince everyone that access to abortion is a right–hey! this isn’t evil! It’s empowering! They know what Paglia knows–and cloak the act in comfy euphemisms. They meet women in their personal deserts and offer a refreshing drink of cyanide. Only they call it Sprite and add ice and one of those fun paper umbrellas.
Though Paglia’s conclusion is repugnant to me, she is not coercing anyone to her view. She hardly could–it’s not a very good slogan–“Murdering millions–in particular those who have done absolutely nothing wrong and can’t defend themselves! Join today!”
It is nonsensical and counterproductive for Democrats to imagine that pro-life values can be defeated by maliciously destroying their proponents. And it is equally foolish to expect that feminism must for all time be inextricably wed to the pro-choice agenda. There is plenty of room in modern thought for a pro-life feminism — one in fact that would have far more appeal to third-world cultures where motherhood is still honored and where the Western model of the hard-driving, self-absorbed career woman is less admired.
Bottom line: this kind of disquieting article does the pro-life movement a great service.
Véronique adds: I doubt that Camille Paglia is a closet pro-lifer. Or that she would be delighted by our endorsement. That being said, I want to say how much I liked reading her article. She takes a strong position and she defends it to its logical end without rhetoric or slogans. This is someone I feel like I could have an intelligent conversation with. On the pro-choice side. That in itself gives me hope. Not so much that I could convince her because I don’t think I could. But it gives me hope that we can engage in these issues instead of avoiding them.by