What Did He Do Wrong?
Cognitive dissonance is a funny thing. It shows up almost everywhere you look (you, dear reader, have probably been guilty of it at some point in your life) but it is rarely admitted by the person experiencing the rather uncomfortable feeling. Cognitive dissonance is the uneasy feeling of holding onto two contradictory ideas at once in your head. For example, someone who argues that killing is wrong and then goes on to support nuking the Middle-East because Muslims reside there would be experiencing cognitive dissonance. Or, more to the point, someone who argues we shouldn’t kill innocent people in the Middle-East simply for being Muslim and then goes on to support the legalized murder of some 53 million unborn babies is experiencing cognitive dissonance.
Aside from neoconservatives and their warmongering beliefs (“perpetual war for perpetual peace“), I would reckon to say that if there was some way of putting a number on the group of individuals with the most contradictory beliefs, pro-abortionists would take the cake by a good amount. Most people who consider themselves “pro-choice” are the type of people who usually argue fervently for a more peaceful foreign policy, an end to nuclear arms, and a reduction in the military-industrial complex. In other words, they hold a foundational belief that it is wrong to preemptively attack other countries and inflict massive amounts of damage for silly idealistic goals like “ridding the world of terrorism.” They also are more likely to support ending the death penalty. For all intents and purposes, they’re pro-life. Unless we happen to be talking about unborn children that is.
The reason I bring this up is due to a story that has been making its way around the internet concerning an unlicensed abortion clinic in Philadelphia. Run by a Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the place has been described as a “house of horrors” that included walls lined with jars of baby body parts and tools that were uncleaned and unsanitized. The “medical” assistants had little medical experience and one was a high schooler. Worse still, Gosnell was known to induce early births and then snip the baby’s spine with scissors. If the story and its gruesome details don’t make you nauseous, might I suggest a psychiatric evaluation?
Thankfully, the place was quickly shut down and Gosnell is in prison. I am positive that nobody- not even the most rabid supporter of abortion- will protest against his imprisonment (thankfully), but nonetheless the responses to this incident by the pro-choice movement have been fascinating to behold. Case in point is a short article on the website Jezebel, which is a leftist online magazine of sorts for women. The author does a fine job detailing the horrific nature of this clinic, but takes a predictable turn when she uses it as proof that women need access to safe, well-funded abortion clinics (licensed by the state, of course). She writes,
His “house of horrors” apparently made him millions while he ignored women’s health and murdered fully-born babies instead of performing abortions.
This, my friends, is what I consider a prime example of cognitive dissonance. The concern for women’s health is commendable, but the idea that a rational person could so passionately condemn the killing of a 7-month old baby but turn around and advocate the killing of a baby just a few months younger is beyond the pale. It really doesn’t make any rational sense. If you’re going to support abortion at least be consistent. Peter Singer, the “philosopher-ethicist” at Princeton, is consistent. He argues that, under certain conditions, it should be legally okay to kill an infant. I have no idea where the author of this particular article stands on the issue of late-term abortions, but a quick search through Jezebel’s archives revealed more than a few articles that defend late-term abortions. The only reason the pro-choice crowd seems to have a problem with Gosnell’s setup seems to be because a) it wasn’t licensed (and was therefore dirty and dangerous to the mothers), and b) the late-term abortions weren’t done the “medically proper” way of sucking the brain out.
Because, really, if this guy had been licensed, used the proper procedures, and Gonzales v. Carhart was deemed unconstitutional, how much real outcry would we hear from media organizations like Jezebel? I doubt we would hear much, if any, in the way of serious moral opposition. The fact is that this “doctor” simply went about killing babies in the wrong way. The disagreement is a matter of degree (“they were killed in the wrong way”) rather than one of principle (“they shouldn’t be killed at all”).
Cognitive dissonance. Unlike the victims of abortion, it is alive and kicking.