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Morality Vs Dogma

Anyone that cares about women’s rights and health is rightly upset at the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s break with Planned Parenthood. The decision to stop grants to Planned Parenthood was clearly motivated by anti-abortion politics, but E.G. from the Democracy in America blog wonders why the healthcare provider receives such a high level of aggression:

The bulk of its activities are focused on contraception, STI screening, and cancer screening, and it places a particular emphasis on providing reproductive health care to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access. They also provide abortions, which are controversial, obviously, but legal, obviously. And insofar as access to contraception and other family-planning services reduces the demand for abortion, Planned Parenthood also prevents abortion. In my view, it is an important part of civil society. Even from a pro-life position, I would think it qualifies: being pro-life is a coherent moral position, and not one that necessarily implies a lack of concern for women’s health. So I really don’t understand why Planned Parenthood gets so much grief from the right.

It’s difficult to understand because most of the pro-life right is not anti-abortion because of a reasoned moral opinion, but rather because of religious dogma. So when E.G. looks at a moral calculation based on the consequences of behavior and policy and she notices that contraception services reduce the number of abortions it seems inconsistent to disapprove. However, if you recognize that fundamentalist religious ethics is based on a rule-based system that says abortion, contraception, and church-unapproved sexual activity are all evil in principle it makes “sense.” I wouldn’t go so far as to say the religious consciously don’t care about the effects on actual people, but religious ethical dogma is not concerned about the effects on actual people. It’s not morality. It’s fundamentalism.

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