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Ben Bayer: “Responsible Sex” Arguments Against Abortion vs. the Right to Pursue Happiness

Writes philosopher Ben Bayer, author of Why the Right to Abortion Is Sacrosanct, in his op-ed “If you value personal responsibility, rethink abortion“:

I agree that one should be willing to live with the consequences of one’s actions. Responsible sex, for instance, means pursuing this value with an eye to one’s health and self-esteem. It means using contraception and protection, and treating sex as a meaningful experience with someone else who feels the same way.

But if opponents of abortion really care about responsibility, why aren’t they outraged by the fact that fifteen of the new state abortion bans, the Texan ban included, contain no exceptions for rape or incest? Victims of rape and incest — like the 10-year-old girl in Ohio who had to flee to Indiana for an abortion — have not been irresponsible. Why don’t the supporters of “responsibility” denounce any ban without rape and incest exceptions?

The answer is that anti-abortion rhetoric about ‘responsibility’ is a cover for attacking the American right to the pursuit of happiness:

Serious abortion opponents think that choosing the joy of sex for its own sake is morally suspect and so “irresponsible.” They believe sex has only one “natural” purpose: reproduction. The only acceptable alternative is celibacy. In their view our “responsibility” is to pursue only those ends assigned to us by some higher power. This is inconsistent with the idea that we should pursue the goals and consequences we are willing to accept in our pursuit of happiness.

Required reading.

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