Stephen Heaney: "Abortion, Divorce and Same-Sex Marriage: No Blood, No Foul?"


Stephen Heaney, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Saint Thomas, argues in Public Discourse that political legitimization of "private" sexual and marital choices causes much public harm, and that "we have been personally harmed by the regimes of abortion and easy divorce":

For as long as I have debated topics of grave social concern, a particular sort of argument has been insouciantly tossed about by those who just want the conversation to end. It frequently takes the following form: "How will legalizing X harm me? I'm not being forced to do X. I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing. Therefore I support the legalization of X."

... such a claim is self-serving. It only considers the harm done to me, while discounting as irrelevant the harm done to millions of other human lives--and the evidence of the harm caused to so many people by these two legalized atrocities is incontrovertible.

... such a claim conveniently accounts for only that kind of harm that the arguer is thinking about at the moment, such as serious and obvious physical or psychological harm, while passing over less serious but no less real harms, and discounting the reality of moral and social harm.

... We have been personally harmed by the regimes of abortion and easy divorce. We might not realize it. We might have survived it. We might choose to ignore it. We might even have recovered. But we have all been harmed.