There are "extremists" about many issues: big, important issues and even small, trivial issues.
About abortion, the "extremists" most of us are familiar with are "pro-life extremists" who have sometimes used, or encourage, lethal violence against abortion providers. And there are, of course, many less extreme anti-abortion extremists.
But there are pro-choice extremists also. Knowing what their extremism is like, and why it's a problem, would be good to know about. This short post explains the issues and offers some suggestions for how to address their extremism.
The common rhetoric of "extremism" is that it's bad to be an extremist, and that seems correct: at least sometimes it's bad to be an extremist.
Philosopher Spencer Case has a recent blog post "What is Moral Extremism and Why Should We Care About It?" His post gives an overview of his recent academic article on moral extremism from the Journal of Applied Philosophy.
So, what is an extremist, according to Case?
"Roughly, a person is an extremist just in case an intense moral conviction blinds her to competing moral considerations, or else makes her unwilling to qualify her beliefs when she should" (emphasis added).
Case doesn't discuss abortion in the blog post, but, given his definition, it seems clear that some pro-choice people are extremists about abortion.
Why's that? Because some of them not-infrequently say things like this:
- "We shouldn't have to discuss this issue."
- "Abortion isn't up for debate."
- "Anti-abortion people, especially men, want to control women with this issue."
- "There's no way to change the minds of people who oppose abortion."
- "Every possible abortion must be legal, and no abortion could ever be wrong."