The media is incandescent with anger and outrage at the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v Wade, which granted abortion as a constitutional right. Yesterday in Parliament the Conservative MP Danny Kruger tried to reason that women don’t have absolute autonomy over their bodies, and was duly heckled in the Chamber and scorned on social media as a “misogynistic sexist dinosaur” (and an awful lot worse).
“I recognise the degree of distress and concern felt by many on the Supreme Court’s decision,” the MP for Devizes said. “The fact is I probably disagree with most members who have spoken so far about this question. They think that women have an absolute right of bodily autonomy in this matter, whereas I think in the case of abortion that right is qualified by the fact that another body is involved.”
For some reason, this is unsayable, despite it being since 1967 the settlement in UK law which indeed affirms that women do not have an absolute right of bodily autonomy.
Nor do men, actually: they might be able to get a hospital to remove their genitalia without much trouble, but it’s a little harder to get a doctor to sign-off on the voluntary amputation of a perfectly healthy arm, or to sell a kidney or a lung to a willing buyer.
Kruger added: “I don’t understand why we are lecturing the US on a judgement to return the power of decision over this political question to the states, to democratic decision, makers rather than having it in the hands of the courts.”
He is quite right, of course. But it’s easier to hurl abuse and scoff and scorn the Christian faith of a “religious Tory MP” than to explain what exactly is the problem with the Supreme Court of the United States determining that the right to kill the baby in the womb (or, if you prefer, the right to expel the product of conception) should be determined by elected politicians who are accountable to the people, rather than by nine Supreme Court justices who are not.
But we aren’t hearing very much about this in the media at all.
Nor are we hearing much about the abuse being sent to those who support the SCOTUS ruling (selection from Facebook):
“F**k you. Your misogynistic movement has intimidated women and murdered medical professionals. Your side is the one that has firebombed and terrorised. None of what you imagine has come to pass.”
“You are a traitor to your sex.”
“Don’t try and yoke women’s right to choose to China’s policies, you worthless liar. You are a maniac extremist and beneath contempt.”
“Your arguments are such trash that I won’t bother rebutting them, but let me alight on the “screaming abuse at a woman who disagrees with you” moment. It’s always so good to hear people on the right scrabbling for a bit of feminism when it suits them. Now f**k off and think on the pain and suffering among women that you are gloating about today.”
“He doth not dig a grave, but build a tomb.’ Scotus; the worst is still to come.”
“SCOTUS has just mocked the purported separation between church and state. Time to hit the streets with extreme prejudice.”
And much of this anti-SCOTUS invective is being whipped up by ‘Pro-choice’ politicians and religious leaders, who seem to believe that political violence, insurrection and civil unrest are preferable to democratic legislatures determining abortion policy. And so the conscience of those who support the reversal of Roe v Wade must be constrained because it is ‘hate’ or ‘misogyny’ or a product of irrational emotional religion. It is simply not possible to reason a faith ethic or debate moral autonomy in this febrile context, because the ‘guilty’ consciousness of absolute bodily autonomy which is not shared by the abortion absolutists must be kept secret — on pain of suffering.
And so a legislative deity is supplanted by an avenging one, and God help anyone who disputes the dogma of absolute personal agency, or cavils at the ‘real self’ who must be as absolutely free as moral agents are free. It is only the conscience that hinders the ‘right’ to abortion, and the religious conscience of tortures and torment above all. Who are you to impose your misguided sentimental commands, or to pass moral judgment upon those who will be obliged by no-one to obey anything but their self-sufficiency in truth or the rational will of the power within?