Photo: William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s The Youth of Bacchus
On the morning of Friday, May 6th, two rallies occupied White Plaza: a pro-abortion rally on one side and a pro-life rally on the other. If you exclusively read the Stanford Daily, however, you would have been shown an entirely different picture. In the article “Protest Supporting Roe v. Wade Takes Over Campus,” Bryan Steven Monge Serrano gushed over the efforts of Stanford’s Planned Parenthood Action group and its supporters. And the pro-life rally? It was given a mere three lines in the entire article.
For pro-life students, being treated as superfluous is not a new phenomenon; the vast majority of us have plenty of experience with fellow students dismissing our moral and intellectual convictions. Philosophical arguments for fetal personhood are usually rebutted with some mechanical assertion of “My body, my choice,” “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one,” or “No uterus, no opinion.” Explanation of the logical flaws with these responses inevitably elicits “You’re just sexist,” “You’re just Catholic,” or some other rote presumption of bias.
This mimetic repetition of ancient one-liners not only gives you a nauseating sense of déjà vu, it also reveals the source of fervor behind modern pro-abortion ideology—especially the kind that lives on college campuses. It is not reason or empathy that drives the obsession but a deep-seated, instinctual desire to protect the hedonistic status quo.
In other words, the Daily’s presentation of a heavily filtered piece as a standard report of events is simply a continuation of protocol. The casual neglect—the erasure, one might say—of the pro-life perspective is the ideal way to avoid intellectual engagement. You don’t have to respond to a group that functionally doesn’t exist. The real question is this: why are the nation’s “brightest” students so afraid of critically reconsidering their first principles?
Maybe this whole thing was never about defending truth or saving women in the first place. Maybe there’s something else seducing hundreds of college students into being so adamantly pro-abortion. Here’s a clue: what’s hollow, cheaper than a Rosary, and more enticing than truth? Pleasure without consequence.
If you think this is psychoanalytic nonsense, consider a metaphor. Imagine we started to like the taste of food a lot more than we do now. We no longer care about nutrition or being healthy. At first, we might all get along. Wilbur and Stern will be even more packed while Arillaga, with its moisture-vacuumed chicken, will be empty (although I must say, it’s been pretty good lately). Then, a month passes, two months, and people start to get antsy. They start to get hooked. The allure of free dopamine in a box of Cosmic Brownies is too much to resist. Cosmic Brownie vending machines start to appear in public bathrooms. Let’s say there’s an app too—swipe right to get more brownies.
But it’s not enough. It feels like everyone is eating their fill except for you. You’re angry, jaded, and itching for some sweet, sweet batter. What’s that in someone’s bag? A box of Cosmic Brownies! They won’t notice if you take just one, right? After all—we all agree they’re beautiful and good and we should eat them if they make us happy. Eh, what’s the harm in one more…
Initially, the group of deviants is fringe. But they get larger and more vocal. Eventually, they’re in government, schools, and businesses. Inevitably, we have a health crisis on our hands. People are eating way too many Cosmic Brownies, but we can’t ask people to stop. That would be misogynistic. So the Stanford intelligentsia convenes and puts together a plan: state-sponsored liposuction. The plan is a success: within forty-eight hours the streets are filled with signs stating “Lipo is healthcare!” and “My stomach, my choice!”
If you wanted to continue eating as many Cosmic Brownies as possible because it made you feel good, and if you believed that its natural effect on your body is merely collateral damage, then of course you would praise liposuction. In fact, you might even call access to it a “right.” You would see it as an “out” in case the calories catch up to you.
In the real world, it isn’t a bunch of sugar-crazed gluttons that we have to worry about. Instead, our tragedy is a generation of dopamine-crazed sex positivists. Hundreds march and the Daily takes pictures because it is easier to demand a taxpayer-funded escape route than to simply stop consuming. In other words, widespread support for abortion on college campuses is simply the logical consequence of a prevailing dogma: that sex is only about pleasure and children are collateral damage. Without abortion, the whole “sexual ecosystem” of casual flings and meaningless hookups falls apart. So, America’s future “innovators” mobilize to protect the machine.
Some might admit that this is indeed what motivates them. That it is not an argument against fetal personhood that does the trick, but the “burden” of having to consider those pesky zygotes when you’d rather just focus on the pleasure. To many, this is reason enough to keep protesting.
But while you raise your signs, don’t forget that your efforts ripple. The world you fight for—where, as a message on White Plaza once read, “sex is beautiful, reproduction is optional”—has its consequences. As they did with the Cosmic Brownies, deviants will take their motto to its radical conclusion. They’ll institutionalize a desire for blithe gratification with messages like “reproductive ‘healthcare’ is a human right.” They’ll create apps to facilitate ease of access and convince everyone that it is empowering. They’ll teach a whole generation that hookup culture and porn are normal, and they’ll shame you for pointing out that they objectify women and emasculate men.
Participating in an epidemic of chocolate-glazed bad decisions might be tolerable. Being complicit in a moral plague of sexual malaise is not. So which will it be: love of pleasure or love of neighbor?