Monday, July 25, 2005

One of the most insulting arguments against pro-life policies is that adopting them will lead to smart people moving out or not wanting to live in this community.

The commonly comes out in the embryonic stem cell research debate. We're told that we must support this on a national level, or risk falling behind countries like Korea that have. Or that Missouri must support the research, or risk a brain drain to states like Illinois and California who are subsidizing this research despite budget crises. More recently, on the local PBS talk show Donnybrook, during a discussion of what might happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned, one of the panelist was saying that it would Missouri to pass serious restrictions abortion, since then the "best and the brightest" people and businesses would not want to deal with Missouri.

This is insulting on so many levels.

First is the naked snobbery apparent in this position. The assumption is that all smart people have no problem with abortion and embryo-destroying research, and indeed are hostile to those who disagree. All pretense of respect for the adversary's argument is dropped. But this seems to be the pro-choice movement's best argument nowadays -- that "all the cool kids" are pro-choice, and if you're not, you won't get to sit with them at the cafeteria.

Second is the thought that those who think that abortion an embryonic research or abortion amount to homicide would drop their objection for their own economic self-interest or for state or national pride. We abhor the destruction of embryos, but only if doing so doesn't put as at a disadvantage compared to neighboring states? Anyone proposing this argument doesn't understand the first thing about the pro-life movement, and isn't even trying to do so.

Finally, this argument is frequently proposed by the same people who sneer at mentions of a "culture of life." But if it's reasonable to propose that restrictive policies on research would impact who would do business in Missouri, why is it so unreasonable to propose that not protecting the unborn would impact how we treat those who are born? Might there be people who would not want to live in a state that does nothing about, or even subsidizes, the destruction of the helpless and vulnerable in the hope that it would benefit those who do have a voice?

Why should we prefer to bring people to our state who are fine with, or even prefer, not to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us?