Fat Steve's Blatherings

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Althouse & abortion: Not clear on the concept

      I have a lot of respect for Ann Althouse, but she makes a muddle here, when she writes about abortion.

      Althouse says:
Addressing a crowd of abortion-rights supporters yesterday, Hillary Clinton made an attempt to reach out to abortion opponents. She called abortion a "sad, even tragic choice to many, many women," . . . It is extremely hard to articulate a middle position on abortion, even though, I think, the majority of Americans actually occupy that position.

We want abortion to remain legal, but we also believe it to be morally wrong.

"There is an opportunity for people of good faith to find common ground in this debate - we should be able to agree that we want every child born in this country to be wanted, cherished and loved," Mrs. Clinton said.

Every child born -- and aborted -- in this country is "wanted, cherished and loved" -- just not necessarily by the woman carrying that child. Supporters of abortion rights don't think it is enough that someone else stands ready to love and cherish that unborn child. They want to put the decision in the hands of the person who must go through the pregnancy.

      Ann, Ann, that is not what the debate about abortion is about.  That is not what law is about.  Law is about what you may and may not do, and what happens when you do things you aren't supposed to.  It isn't about who feels what.

      An example: it is illegal to use or sell heroin in the U.S.  Some feel this law is wrong, and should be repealed.  Suppose the law against heroin was amended by adding "It is perfectly acceptable, from a moral point of view, to sell or use heroin. However, we continue to ban it, completely, for our own reasons."  Would that establish "common ground" between those who want to decriminalize heroin use, and those who want it to stay banned?

      The abortion debate, legally speaking, comes down to one question, "When shall it be legal for an abortion to take place?"  The "abortion-rights" supporters answer is "Absolutely any time a women wants it, provided it's performed by licensed medical personnel."  The "pro-life" crowd says "Never, except maybe when continuing the pregnancy will kill the mother, or cause her grievous physical harm."  The middle position, shared by most of the country, answers "Sometimes, but not always.  There are times when a women should just be told 'No, you can't have a legal abortion,' but many other times she should be allowed to legally abort."

      Sen. Clinton's position, when she's pressed on when women should be allowed to legally abort, will turn out to be 'Whenever the women wants to.  No one can say "No," ever.'  Adding that we should all feel bad about the abortion isn't going to satisfy a single abortion opponent.



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