Vox Nova blogger Julia Smucker is a regular contributor to the blog of the Consistent Life Network, a pro-life, pro-peace organization dedicated to non-violence. Here is a sample of her most recent post:
Once while taking a graduate-level test in cultural anthropology, I had a revelation of sorts. In the class, we’d been discussing what’s revealed when different cultural values come into tension. The test essay question went something like, “What would the repeal of motorcycle helmet laws say about American cultural values, and how does this relate to issues like abortion and gun control?” Seeing these three examples in juxtaposition, I realized that the preservation of human life, essentially a universal value, was clashing with something else that often takes precedence over it in U.S. socio-political discourse – not without controversy, but strongly enough to compete, and often win, against life itself. That something, I realized, is individual autonomy.
The relatively innocuous case of motorcycle helmet laws points to the likelihood that a critical mass of Americans might prefer to endanger themselves – or at least to have the choice of endangering themselves – rather than be required to use a piece of protective equipment. More recently, this has been paralleled in the forceful resistance to precautions against Covid-19, which also has the effect of endangering others. The vigorous pushback that occurs in response to any suggestion of legal limits on guns or abortion has an even more insidious effect: facilitating the direct killing of human beings.
One common defense of the value of autonomy over that of preserving life relies on the premise that the taking of life is so inevitable that it’s useless to regulate. Criminals will find a way to obtain guns no matter what, the reasoning goes, so making it harder to get one will only make law-abiding people less safe because only the criminals will be armed. Or, others argue, women with unwanted pregnancies will find a way to obtain abortions no matter what, so making it harder to get one will only make them less safe because the abortions will be done by illicit and dangerous methods.
Read the rest of her post here.