Saturday, February 18, 2006

Abortion on the Battlestar

The subject of abortion has come up twice on Battlestar Galactica. The first time involved the threatened termination of the human/Cylon hybrid.

There were enough moral ambiguities in this case that it wasn’t especially controversial. Is a hybrid human? Does it have a soul? Is it made in God’s image?

In addition, the hybrid is an unknown quantity, conceived by the hostile Cylons. Is this a mortal threat to the remnants of the human race?

The second time is more typical. An underage girl from a pious family “finds” herself in the family way with an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.

She escapes to a neutral ship. Her host colony stages a protest on the basis of parental rights, colonial rights, and religious rights.

The representative from Gemini is a stereotypical “fundamentalist,” appealing to the sacred scriptures. It comes across an unreasoning appeal to blind, fanatical faith.

Actually, the show itself has laid a foundation for the authority of the scriptures. When Pres. Roslin was taking a hallucinogenic drug for her cancer, she had prophetic visions which corresponded to the ancient oracles. Logically, then, she should defer to the authority of the scriptures.

But she doesn’t. She at first stakes out the knee-jerk feminist position. Until, that is, it comes to her attention that the fleet is not reproducing at a replacement rate. What remains of the human race will become extinct in a few years. So she decides, in the end, to issue an executive decree banning abortion.

This, in turn, causes Vice Pres. Baltar to publicly oppose her in a cynical act of political and personal revenge, in what sounds like a studied allusion to the Patriot Act.

The writers have cast the socially liberal characters in hawkish, reactionary roles, while the standard-bearer for the liberal cause is the seditious and demented Baltar.

What we have here are thinly-veiled political allegories of a post-9/11 world. And the writers are trying to play both sides of the fence. Purple instead of red and blue.

What is striking is that they don’t simply take the party-line approach of The West Wing.

One wonders if this doesn’t reflect the growing power of the religious right. Are some segments of the mainstream media beginning to reach out to the audience which abandoned the networks for the alternative media?


  1. "We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life--the unborn-- without diminishing the value of all human life... it is not for us to decide who is worthy to live and who is not." --Ronald Reagan
    I am a speaker. One of the topics I have spoken on is that of abortion. TO prepare for my first speaking engagement that was solely on the topic of abortion (which ALWAYS goes hand-in-hand with the presentation of the unabridged Gospel), not only did I have personal experience, but I did tons of research... research that was beyond grueling... horrid. I will be posting this testimony on my blog soon. Beware. Even though I toned it down, it will make you weep.
    From the Homeschooling mother of 6 children... 7 if I count the one in heaven... that I aborted as a teen...

  2. I'm curious what the ultimate fate of "the beast" will be on the show.

    I'm betting that Pegasus will eventually be blasted into oblivion (although with Adama's son now in command I do wonder about that).

  3. > "Is it made in God’s image?"

    Given that Kobolese/ Colonial religion is unambiguously polytheistic (as opposed to the 1978-80 series' religion, which was ambiguously polytheistic, with occasional nods towards monotheism such as "The Hand of God"), this should be imago Deorum (or possibly imagines Deorum?).

    I am bottom-drawing an essay on how both Firefly/ Serenity and the rebooted Galactica are examples of intelligent screen sci-fi embodying "Red State" values, after decades of space being the exclusive terrain (so to speak) of futuristic Red-Staters -- Star Trek being the most obvious exception. ("Why is there no money in the 24th century?" "Because mankind has outgrown it." "Why is there no warfare or poverty in the 24th century?" "Because mankind has outgrown it." "Why is there no Terran religion in the 24th century?" "Because...")

  4. > futuristic Red-Staters

    Aargh. Steve, cd u plz correct that to "futuristic Blue-Staters". Thnx

  5. BTW, Steve, I'm disappointed - deeply so - that you missed the chance to title this posting "Slouching Towards Gomorray?"