May 7, 2011

Should We Be More Outraged About Abortion Than Child Rape?

Catholic cartoonOpponents of reproductive rights for women are fond of claiming that since one abortion is murder, legalized abortion amounts to genocide. This line of argument enables some Christian extremists to justify the murder of physicians who provide abortion services. After all, these doctors are really engaged in genocide, killing them may seem warranted. Of course, this entire line of argument rests on the controversial claim that abortion is murder.

It seems like it might be interesting to apply some of the "logic" from the anti-choice movement and apply it to a different scenario. Suppose something was happening that was uncontroversially criminal (e.g., child rape). Victims exist, and the act is undeniably illegal. Couldn't those who perpetrate the crimes, conceal the crimes, and provide the perpetrators with access to victims be rightly views as committing atrocities?

Of course, I am talking about the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. And no, I'm not advocating that they be dealt with violently. I am simply wondering whether some of the same arguments we often hear from the anti-choice folks might apply even more clearly to the Catholic hierarchy.

If the physician who provides legal abortion services is guilty of anything, then surely the priest who rapes children is guilty of far worse. Even if some people find abortion to be morally objectionable, is it not true that virtually everyone agrees that child rape is morally unacceptable? And if some object to the laws that permit abortion, then what are we to make of the fact that virtually everyone agrees that child rape should remain a criminal offense? If lawmakers and physicians have to hear from angry citizens about abortion, where is the outrage at what the Catholic Church has been doing?

Again, I'm not here to advocate violence against Catholics (or anyone else). I'm simply asking why abortion seems to receive far more attention than the Catholic conspiracy of silence around child rape.

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