The abortion debate
Re “When in doubt -- pro-life,” Opinion, Oct. 16
Jonah Goldberg asks why we don’t give “the unborn” the benefit of the doubt. Here we go again -- another antiabortion tract from a member of the gender that doesn’t get pregnant. Hey, Jonah, how about giving members of the gender that does get pregnant the benefit of the doubt and trust them with what has to be the most agonizing decision a human being can make? It is ironic that those who profess such concern over “the unborn” seem to lose interest once the child is actually born. No guaranteed health insurance, no civil rights. If a fetus is a human being, is an egg a bird?
Goldberg points to a moral dilemma with ultimate consequences. Has America truly become so dehumanized that millions of women, under the rubric of “freedom to choose,” can simply flush a living being into certain death? Yes. And shame on us. Instead of punishing these “products of conception” with death, why do we not collectively face the facts that the “freedom to choose” must be balanced against the responsibility to choose life over death? What’s the difference between killing the baby before it passes through the birth canal and killing it after it is born?
If tiny human beings were puppies or kittens, or harp seals being slaughtered on the pack ice, we would see the horror and be motivated to stop it. But because the law permits aborting human babies, they are reckoned as being of no value. The horror of squandering these lives goes far beyond the “freedom to choose.”
For once, I don’t vehemently disagree with Goldberg. His plain-spoken uncertainty is refreshing and welcome across the political spectrum. That being said, the question remains: What to do about decreasing the number of abortions? I would argue that making abortion illegal is exactly the wrong thing to do -- only forcing the issue away from public view, sending the poor into back alleys and the rich overseas.
The best approach is an honest, grown-up, reality-based discussion of how to stop unwanted pregnancies. Until that happens, any talk of morality in the abortion debate is disingenuous at best and immoral at worst.
The entire “pro-life” position is predicated on the assumption that human life begins at conception. But please don’t tell me that sperm and ova are not alive -- or that they aren’t human. If the pro-life movement were truly that instead of antiabortion, it would be opposed to all birth control, including sexual abstinence. The underlying intent of the pro-life movement isn’t to protect life, it’s to punish women for having had sex and, worse, for probably enjoying it too.
Does anyone really believe that outlawing abortion is going to magically transform thousands of teenage dropouts into responsible parents?
Roy H. King
So Goldberg’s main reason for being pro-life is that as a Republican, he should be. It must be some sort of mantra for the Republican Party: Either you are with us or you are with the (fill in the appropriate negative-sounding group here, e.g. terrorists, murderers, pro-choice advocates, etc.).