The abortion debate rages on around us. The ethical issues of life and death are potent enough to break families apart as members line up on either side of the great divide. Neither side will budge. Both sides feel they are protecting the core of human rights.
And then, every once in a while, someone comes along who says something so completely atrocious that the bickering enemies find themselves tossed into the river together, struggling to find a way back to their noble shores.
Glenn Beck found his way back masterfully, by pinning the opinion of one pundit on every so-called progressive towing the picket line or simply holding their views quietly in their homes.
That pundit is named Virginia Ironside. Her statement?
"If I were the mother of a suffering child - I mean a deeply suffering child - I would be the first to want to put a pillow over its face... If it was a child I really loved, who was in agony, I think any good mother would."
As much as I blanch at the thought of detailing for you my own views of abortion, I think I can safely say that the only battle this woman won with that statement was to horrify everyone and anyone who heard her.
To mention something so casually that would sicken so many is no boon for her cause, which was, based on the article I read, pro-choice. The comparison of killing a living, suffering being without their consent to killing or terminating (depending on your definition) a fetus in the womb is an argument many pro-lifers make and with much success. Most pro-choice people that have any shred of sanity would not liken an abortion to murder, especially in a public forum. It goes against the very basis of much of the pro-choice stand.
Should we kill all those who suffer? Would the world be better off? Absolutely not. What of the Stephen Hawkings of the world? And, I know, I know, here is the slippery slope. What if someone aborted a Stephen Hawking, and the world will never know his greatness? And really, do accomplishments really even matter when it comes to whose life or death you mourn?
Still, while the definition of a fetus as a being with rights remains up in the air to be fought for and against, the definition of a child is a living, breathing, separate being with rights that would be alienated should he or she be murdered. We can at least agree on that. Living children have rights. And living children under a certain age cannot even give consent to have sex, let alone be killed. That makes it murder, by law and definition. Our feelings may differ on whether or not that label should be applied to a fetus, but in the case of a born child, there is no feeling in the matter. The law stands.
And what of the mother? Ironside basically called mothers who struggle with disabled children, mothers who made the right choice for themselves and their families, irresponsible mothers. Irresponsible for not killing the child they wanted, the child they love and the child that loves them. Even if we pretend she didn't advocate killing born children, and we take this back to the abortion debate, that is not pro-choice. That is pro-abortion. Again, she hacks away at the very base she's claiming to fight for. The implication in the term pro-choice is blatantly obvious. Women have the choice as to whether or not they would like to abort their fetus or carry it to term, regardless of circumstances, regardless of medical tests - tests which are fallible. Ironside has no right to attack any woman who chooses to birth a baby who may have disabilities. That is a woman's choice. Pro-choice. Choice.
To view it in such a black and white manner as to say a woman with a disabled child should abort or must abort, and then to take it further to compare it to murder as a compassionate alternative, well, a few more steps and you're talking about eugenics. And I'm fairly certain even most foes over the abortion debate can agree on their feelings about that (of course, there are exceptions.)
Really all I'm trying to say here is that Ironside made no friends with this statement. She clearly does not represent the pro-choice cause. She clearly does not represent pro-life cause. She speaks for no one (one can only hope) but herself.
As conservatives bustle to blacken the eyes of progressives over this statement, they should count their blessings that someone so ignorant as Ironside stood up and made such a statement to begin with. I can only say, it is not the progressive stand. It is the opposite of the progressive stand. It is not the conservative stand. It is the opposite of the conservative stand.
Bravo, Ms. Ironside. You've got us talking about you. Surely that must have been your only goal in making that comment.
Article linked above: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1317400/Virginia-Ironside-sparks-BBC-outrage-Id-suffocate-child-end-suffering.html