The Virginia State Legislature has apparently just passed a bill mandating that women seeking first-trimester abortions undergo an invasive, medically unnecessary vaginally penetrative probe, with or without consent.
It is possible I am misunderstanding this bill–I really hope so–but here’s Rachel Maddow interviewing a Virginia Democratic legislator opposed to the bill.
Trying to stop abortion by mandating a medically unnecessary procedure designed to intimidate or sexually humiliate women is morally unacceptable and should play no part in medical care. This policy is not “pro-life”–it is simply anti-woman. It treats women who seek abortions as mere reprobates to be punished. It ignores their dignity as human persons and disregards the wider social and cultural issues that foster abortion, laying the blame for a social sin squarely on women in distress. We should not allow any lawmaker who supports such a vindictive and self-righteous policy as this one to lay claim to the title “pro-life.”
Whatever one’s opinions concerning contraception, the term “culture of death” captures something at the core of American society. We live in a society that in many spheres of life, is in love with humiliation, exploitation, violence, cruelty and dehumanization.
Erich Fromm explored the “necrophilous” personality: the “necrophilous” person is an authoritarian and is drawn only what is dead, fixed, fated, mechanical, and bureaucratically manageable. He or she is hostile to those things that the “biophilous” person seeks: life, love, hope, process, change. The necrophilous attitude seems to pervade so much of the United States today, despite the growing resistance.
What can be guessed about the personality of these Virginia legislators voting for this bill? In their apparent desire to wreak vengeance on women they don’t know and to control and manage them, they appear closer to the necrophilous personality than the biophilous one. Even if they are acting solely with the intention of protecting unborn life, the end does not justify the means. No matter what they believe about themselves, by encouraging a policy that disrespects women, they are not acting as lovers of life but as lovers of death.