When Joe Biden was asked about abortion in the vice-presidential debate last Thursday, he replied with what, in part, has become boilerplate. “I accept my church’s position on abortion…” he said. “Life begins at conception; that’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life; I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman [Paul Ryan].”…

[T]he fallacy of the PONVI (personally-opposed, no-values-imposed) position is revealed when we apply it to other things. “Personally, I’m opposed to rape, but I understand the world is shades of gray; “Personally, I’m opposed to slavery; I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here….”

Some will now say that rape and slavery are very different from abortion, in that they directly hurt another person. To thus contend, however, is to depart from the PONVI argument and delve into the nature of the act in question. It then follows that if abortion also directly hurts another person, it may warrant prohibition as well.

And this is the problem with PONVI: it is a dodge… [which] doesn’t actually tackle the nature of what’s being discussed. Instead, its only moral component is the implication that it’s noble to not impose values on others. Yet we do this all the time: a law, by definition, is the imposition of a value….

Any law is the imposition of a “value,” but a just law is more specific: it imposes morality….

[B]ut what is morality? Who determines it? There are only two possibilities: man or something outside of man does….

[H]ow can we rightly claim that murder, rape, or slavery is “immoral” if the only reason we’re doing so is that the vast majority of us don’t happen to like it? If the only argument we can hang our hat on is consensus preference, then it falls into the same category as flavors: taste.

Some will now point out that the aforementioned acts hurt others, but who is to say that’s wrong?…

This is why the Founding Fathers took pains to emphasize that our rights are endowed by our Creator. They knew that for a principle to have credibility, it has to reflect more than merely consensus preference. It has to reflect morality, which, incidentally, is never “personal,” but universal and eternal.

~ Selwyn Duke, “Biden’s Abortion Blarney,” American Thinker, October 15

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