The White Knight Abortionist

In the midst of a story about an abortion doctor that hoarded fetal body parts, we get this testimonial:

When anti-abortion physician Geoffrey Cly met [abortion doctor Ulrich] Klopfer in 2008 to discuss concerns that Klopfer’s procedures were endangering patients’ health, Klopfer immediately brought up the 1945 raids on Dresden [which Klopfer experienced], in which some 25,000 people died.

“How is the suffering from the bombing by the Americans in Dresden any different than the suffering of women by unwanted babies?” Said Klopfer.


Because the suffering of Dresdeners was caused by the lives that were terminated while abortion terminates lives to avoid the suffering that would be caused by their existence. Abortion is analogous to Dresden more in its being like the British and American bombers than to their victims on the ground.

Sure, it’s not exactly fair to attack the moral arguments of non-experts, but the doctor who made the analogy between Dresdeners and women seeking abortions had lived through the attack on Dresden, was responsible for 50,000 abortions, and had a demonstrative interest in the results of the procedure. One supposes he was in a peculiar position to know what he was talking about, so why does he get the analogy so exactly wrong?

Rape and Incest command the high ground on the landscape of abortion justifications, which suggests the hypothesis that, considered morally, abortion is a way of coming to the aid of a victim. Given an academic gloss, this becomes Thomsons’s violinist, which explicitly extends the rape/incest justification to all abortions. And so our body-hoarding abortion doctor was simply following out the logic of his position: if abortion is justified, it is a care for a victim, and abortion is justified, therefore etc. The doctor was simply a Good Samaritan, rushing in to save those judged and abandoned by the priest and the Levite (The priest and religious intellectual! Get it?)

But the logic of the position smells suspiciously like a red herring, if not a reductio ad absurdum. Abortion is a homicide in which the pregnant woman is not the victim. Abortion might be justified or even merely tolerated, but whether the woman is a victim or not doesn’t enter into the formal structure of the justification, even if it is contingently present in the circumstances.

For all that, it would take a heroic devotion to logic for a pregnant woman seeking an abortion to turn down the temptation to appeal to pity and compassion. Sure, abortion is a bloody and unfortunate business, but men have done nastier and bloodier things in response to the biological imperative to save the damsel in distress. Don’t forget the sexual component to the bombing of Dresden: men flew the bombers while the women stayed at home, and many of the men flying the planes were no doubt doing it while filled with warm thoughts of dear Betty back home who needed to be saved from those brutal Krauts who were no doubt fixin’ to rape her. Or maybe even kill her children.






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