Comparing Abortion And Torture

A Pro-Life Democrat wrestles with morality:

The wedge that separated me from Bush and, subsequently, the Republican party, was human rights. As a human being–and certainly as a Christian–I could not abide the embrace of torture that has become so essential to the Right. And as a person well-acquainted with the fundamental lessons of science fiction (one of the best advocates of the value of the rule of law) I could not abide the deliberate subversion and destruction of our legal rights. But–two people I know–have demanded: isn’t murder worse than torture? And even if torture leads to murder in some instances, how can the numbers compare to the number of aborted nascent human beings? How can a person who believes that abortion is murder (I do) claim to vote for pro-choice politicians in the name of human rights? […]

I believe, after all, that wrong-doing requires intention. Killing someone accidentally is a fault, but not the same wrong as killing someone accidentally. Is it different, then, for a woman who does not believe she is killing a human being to abort a nascent child than for a soldier to torture someone? I think it is. Dramatically so. Many women believe they are acting out of compassion (however mistakenly); is it possible for a torturer to hold similar beliefs? To put it poetically: how blackened are the souls of all involved in torture? How blackened are the souls of all involved in abortion?

I think torture is the most manifestly destructive to all human goodness, because it is less possible to commit the crime through simple error. It requires significant subversion of a person’s humanity to make him into a torturer (even if it is frighteningly easy to do), whereas it requires significant attention to specific arguments to convince someone of the evil of abortion. As such, I think we need to pay greater attention to obliterating all instances of torture than to obliterating instances of abortion.