Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Will Saletan (for such a smart guy, he's really quite stupid)

Will Saletan - columnist for Slate - is really smart. And very stupid.

How do I know?

Well, I read his letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services concerning a possible regulation that would protect a health care worker's right of conscience. In this potential regulation, a worker would not be compelled to provide artificial birth control, or any 'abortafacient', if doing so compromised their personal beliefs. For Saletan, the overall message of the draft is that artificial birth control is wrong, and it's use should be generally discouraged.

Saletan is naturally quite upset, and thinks that he has spotted the Achilles' Heel of pro-life opposition to artificial birth control. In his view, pro-life folks are opposed to birth control because it 'prevents' implantation and thus causes a de facto abortion. Aha! says Saletan, so too does breast feeding. And therefore, in fairness, that also should be discouraged by pro-lifers.

As someone with a very shallow understanding of pro-life philosophy, Saletan's jeering is understandable. But it's also very stupid. Pro-life folks have never, ever, claimed that family planning or preventing pregnancy is wrong. What they have said is that the foreign introduction of a chemical which prevents implantation is akin to abortion. In fact, artificial birth control taken in heavy doses does cause an abortion itself. Saletan himself admits that birth control causes what amounts to an abortion, but dismisses that very fact because the abortive effect is difficult to observe. In it's place, Saletan sarcastically argues that breastfeeding, due to it's preventative effects on implantation, should be discouraged as well.

I suppose at a basic level Saletan does have a point, since breastfeeding can prevent implantation. But here's the rub: It is a natural act, necessarily produced by the mother to nurture the infant at it's most delicate state. It's primary function is not to prevent pregnancy, although it also can have that effect. Artificial birth control however is inherently designed to prevent a pregnancy - and even end it if implantation does occur.

Artificial birth control, by it's own nature, part and parcel of the process of aborting an infant. After reading the letter, I got the feeling that Saletan knows this, but is so steeped in leftish doublethink that he cannot bring himself to admit it. Hopefully he will someday, because not only is his letter not intelligent, it's also painfully not funny.

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