The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Flying in the face of nearly 60 years of precedent, a number of states have decided to test Row v. Wade by passing draconian anti-abortion laws. Hopefully, these laws will be ruled unconstitutional—they are extreme.

The 'abortion debate' has been ongoing ever since Row v. Wade became law. Every argument on both the pro-life and pro-choice sides has already been made and yet, because absolutists seem to control the debate on both the Right and the Left, there has been no resolution of this difficult issue. Nor will there be. Compromise is not part of the absolutist playbook.

Damon Linker has it right when he writes:
Abortion is tragic in the strict sense of the term. It's an act that pits fundamentally irreconcilable absolute rights against each other — the pregnant woman's right to determine what happens to her own body without state interference against the right to life of the fetus she carries inside her womb. Anyone who adopts an absolute position on the issue, denying the moral weight of the case for the opposite view, does so through an act of willful, ideologically motivated simplification.
Absolutists on the Right argue that a woman has no right to terminate a pregnancy, even in the weeks immediately after she discovers she's pregnant. That's a ridiculous position that is retrogressive, unfair, and just plain wrong. Absolutists on the Left argue that a woman has every right to terminate a pregnancy, regardless of the reason, even in the weeks immediately before she's ready to give birth to a viable baby. That's a morally questionable position, unless the mother's life is at stake. Absolutists on the right contend that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape and incest. That's a reprehensible position that is absurd. Absolutists on the Left argue that even in the final days of pregnancy, the fetus is not a person and can therefore be aborted. That's a cynical play on semantics and flies in the face of scientific evidence of viability.

Those absolutist positions are cemented in place. It's unlikely that they will change. Linker continues:
The convictions and preferences of tens of millions of conflicted women and men is likely to have little influence over the shape of abortion law in the coming years. In America, government is increasingly conducted as a clash among mobilized activists pursuing incompatible vision of moral purity. And in no area of policy is that truer than it is on abortion.
Since compromise, although the best path, cannot be achieved, we arrive at this: If a woman is pro-choice, she should be allowed to control whether or not she has a child. That will undoubtedly lead to a small number of very uncomfortable moral dilemmas, but so be it. If a woman is "pro-life," she can opt not to have an abortion, even if she doesn't want another child. The government, including legislatures in the individual states, should stay out of it.