Is abortion a greater evil than child abuse? Of course it isn’t! Indeed, I don’t generally regard abortion as an evil at all. We could doubtless get into hypothetical cases of late-term abortions carried out on a mere whim, but are there many, or any, such cases in the real world? In the real world I think you must either suffer from a distorted moral sense or be in the grip of a theory if you regard abortion as the real evil (as opposed, say, to denying an abortion to a desperate woman or teenage girl).
And yet, we see statements made from time to time that abortion is a worse evil than, say, the sexual abuse of children, or that the widespread occurrence of abortions in modern societies constitutes an evil akin to black slavery or the Nazi Holocaust.
Frankly, these sorts of statements appear repugnant. What is especially repugnant, and to many people unintelligible, is how something that has great benefits in reducing or avoiding suffering - the ready availability of abortion to desperate women and girls - is being compared to sources of terrible suffering, such as slavery, sex abuse, and the Holocaust. Surely someone who makes these comparisons must be crazy or evil... right? Wrong.
I don't think that Catholic moralists, for example, are crazy or evil. Nor do I think that they are hypocritically rationalising what is really a hatred of women or a wish to keep women in subjection. Yes, there may be an element of that if we delve back far enough into Catholic (say) sexual morality. The Catholic moral system may fossilise ancient attitudes of misogyny, and particularly fears of women's sexual power and freedom.
But I actually think we should take people like Cardinal George Pell, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, at their word. They really do accept a moral system that, as a matter of fact, rationalises many ancient moral attitudes and ideas on a false basis ... and ends up producing totally different results from a moral system based on amelioration of suffering (or, if you are a moral abolitionist like Richard Garner or Joel Marks, from a settled attitude of simply being opposed to suffering).
People like Cardinal Pell are not crazy or evil. In many circumstances, they will think and feel and act much as I (for example) would. They will show people respect and compassion.
But when it comes to thinking about anything to do with sexuality, they are in the grip of a horrible, miserable, cruel moral theory. They have been indoctrinated into it, and they actually believe it. From inside that theory, it is all consistent and all makes sense, even if you are otherwise a decent person.
If you don't understand that point, you'll find much of the behaviour of your opponents simply incomprehensible, and you'll just be dumbfounded when your own expressions of moral repugnance have no impact on them. Your opponents will appear to be monstrous. From their viewpoint, however, whatever you say is ill-informed and essentially irrelevant. They will dismiss it, but not because they are monsters or even because, as individuals, they are arrogant. Mainly, they are deeply mistaken about reality (which makes them the exact opposite of moral leaders or moral authorities).
Seen from the outside, of course, Catholic (and similar) sexual morality appears ridiculous and repugnant. All the more reason to fight against it.