Vox.com purports to fill the media’s need for “an organization genuinely dedicated to explaining the news,” to “making sure you understand what just happened.” Instead, it’s become notorious on both the right and the left (language warning) for blazing thrilling new trails in factual sloppiness and analytical incompetence. And yes, wonder of wonders, that sterling level of quality extends to their abortion coverage, too.
Earlier this month saw the birth of Vox Executive Editor Matthew Yglesias’s first son. And on Tuesday, he wrote a piece on seven policy matters that “becoming a parent taught [him he] was right about all along.” (Humble!) Right in the middle? “Women should be able to get abortions.” Looks like somebody needs irony Voxsplained to him:
After watching my wife gestate my son for nine months, I am 100 percent certain people who go into pregnancy with anti-abortion ethical priors come out of it with the strength of their convictions increased tenfold. I went into it with different priors and have come out with my own pro-choice convictions increased tenfold.
A beloved baby is a miraculous thing, but pregnancy is at times a truly agonizing and awful one. It’s a small price to pay for something a woman truly wants, but an enormous amount to pay for other people’s questionable metaphysical notions about personhood. In a decent society it would be both safe and convenient for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds to terminate an early stage pregnancy on demand without facing judgment and hassles.
Yes, you read that right: his son’s development and birth left him more convinced than ever that killing him would have been a perfectly legitimate choice. That’s gonna be an awkward conversation when little Jose is old enough to peruse his dad’s stuff.
The stereotype of liberals is that they’re open-minded thinkers constantly striving to deepen their knowledge and refine their assumptions, while conservatives—especially those of a cultural or religious bent like pro-lifers—are obstinate, uncritical dogmatists. But Yglesias’s premise isn’t to reflect on how this new experience might have provided him with insights he’d been missing or shown him the error of any preconceived notions.
Instead, it turns out that he just happened to already be right about everything. Indeed, on abortion he prefaces it by blithely assuming that everyone interprets pregnancy as reinforcing their own biases. Remember, Matt: he who accuses all convicts one.
With his excuse to not think too deeply about the subject helpfully set up, it’s no wonder that he doesn’t bother to explain what’s “questionable” about pro-lifers’ “metaphysical notions about personhood,” even while peddling some dubious metaphysics of his own.
Babies are “miraculous,” but only when they’re “beloved”? Does a parent’s love (well, technically just Mom’s, because pro-abort doctrine says Dad doesn’t count) create miraculousness? Is the value of children conferred on them by other people?
Further explanation is needed…but probably isn’t on the horizon, considering we’re dealing with someone who contents himself with such mindless bumper-sticker sentiments as “life begins at conception and ends at birth.”
The only actual experience he cites is seeing firsthand the hardship women undergo during pregnancy, which certainly needs to be understood, respected, and considered. But it in and of itself doesn’t settle the question.
Yes, Yglesias witnessed nine months of his wife’s fatigue, sickness, and other “truly agonizing and awful” experiences, but during that time he also (presumably) witnessed his son’s development: listening to his heartbeat, looking at him move and grow on ultrasounds, and getting updates from doctors monitoring his health.
I guess none of that mattered enough to mention.
Notably, there is one tiny sliver of awareness of a moral contradiction: his belief in a necessity of being free to “terminate an early stage pregnancy on demand.” Might that suggest that getting to know baby Jose in the womb has at least convinced him of the need to draw a line somewhere?
Doubtful—back when the horror of the Kermit Gosnell trial was turning pro-choice journalists pro-life and inspiring liberal commentator Kirsten Powers to condemn her own side’s slavish devotion to unlimited abortion-on-demand, the only lesson Yglesias took away was that America needs more “above-board” late-term abortionists. If getting to know a little guy just like those slaughtered by both Gosnell and his legitimate counterparts has given him an epiphany, he’s keeping it to himself.
While this Voxplanation falls staggeringly short of the enterprise’s promised gold standard in analysis, it does “make sure we understand what just happened” in one unintended way: it displays how fully arrogance and closed-mindedness can enthrall someone no matter how personally or beautifully the truth enters their lives.