….Much of the opposition to abortions is merely distaste. It can be overcome, with training and practice; meanwhile, distaste can be mistaken for a moral objection. The killing of unborn children is an icky thing to witness, as is also the killing of the already born, and their elders, in war. But the objection becomes less forceful as the evidence becomes less immediate. It can be put entirely out of mind.

I noticed this with a news clip from Shanghai. Local officials were rounding up the pet cats of those they had thrown into quarantine for Covid. They were mewing haplessly in streetside bags, waiting for the officials who would come to smash their brains in. Western television is rather prissy, so the latter stages of this feline massacre were edited out. The thought of crushing sweet, defenseless little kittens, &c, might disturb us “unnecessarily.”

Yet this is only sentimentalism. Blood, for us, belongs in stockyards, where animals are killed more humanely.

When my maternal grandpa had to shoot a favorite dog, he took this trusting companion for a long and enjoyable walk, like old times. He pointed suddenly to the horizon, and when the dog turned, the bullet was correctly placed. He loved that dog. Curiously, this made his stance towards it moral.

Babies in the womb naturally look the other way. We have, thanks to improvements in technology, now become quite clear that they can feel, much like the born. This has increased the “icky” factor for those not determined to block it out.

For if we don’t actually grasp the argument for the sacredness of human life – which is absolute, not relative – we can always find an out. We can devise a “procedure” that will be painless, to ourselves and the victim. And any by-products of this meat-packing operation, such as remunerative baby parts, can be professionally wrapped and refrigerated for later use.

This removes any objection that can be founded on “ickiness,” and thus removes any objection to the “woman’s right” (and its extension to the professionals at her service in the abortuary).

There seems broad public agreement that a woman has the right to an abortion in the first trimester, diminishing sharply in the second, and practically disappearing in the third. The trend of public opinion has fluctuated, but essentially upon this scheme.

Similarly, the difference of opinion between women and men, for unsurprisingly, opposition to killing children among women is higher. They can have babies, and they can better imagine what is involved; men need bother only on behalf of a partner, and so are, statistically, more distant.

The human right to life does not balance on ickiness, of course, but on philosophical, legal, and theological propositions. The changes depend less on aesthetic whim, more on the parents and society among whom the children are raised….

The above comes from a May 6 posting on The Catholic Thing.