Friday, January 28, 2005

Why "never?"

William Saletan offers this piece in Slate regarding Hillary's speech on abortion. He points us to something that I seemed to have missed by saying,

"Note the concluding words: faith, responsibility, family. This is the other side of Clinton's message: against the ugliness of state control, she wants to raise the banner of morality as well as freedom. Pro-choicers have tried this for 40 years, but they always run into a fatal objection: Abortion is so ugly that nobody who supports it can look moral. To earn real credibility, they'd have to admit it's bad. They often walk up to that line, but they always blink.

Not this time. Abortion is "a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women," said Clinton. Then she went further: "There is no reason why government cannot do more to educate and inform and provide assistance so that the choice guaranteed under our constitution either does not ever have to be exercised or only in very rare circumstances."

Does not ever have to be exercised. I searched Google and Nexis for parts of that sentence tonight and got no hits. Is the press corps asleep? Hillary Clinton just endorsed a goal I've never heard a pro-choice leader endorse. Not safe, legal, and rare. Safe, legal, and never.

Once you embrace that truth—that the ideal number of abortions is zero—voters open their ears."
(emphasis mine)

Though I disagree with much of what Saletan says on abortion, he is someone that seems to think outside the pro-choice box and actually wants to reduce the # of abortions.

But I always find the thinking that abortion should occur rarely or now "never" to be odd coming from pro-choicers. I've never seen the one word question - "Why?" - answered adequately by pro-choicers.

Why should abortion be rare? From a prolife perspective the answer is easy - "because abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being" - but for a pro-choicer who doesn't recognize this reality or thinks that killing fetuses isn't morally wrong the answer isn't as easy. If abortion doesn't take the life of an innocent human being then why should it be rare? If abortion is a valid "choice" or medical procedure then why should we care if there are 1.3 million of them every year? Why is "zero" the goal? Why is abortion "bad?"

I think we're left with a few options. 1.) Those who advocate this approach realize that abortion is morally wrong but their thinking has been swallowed up by moral relativism to such a large degree that they don't think they should "force" their moral views on others.

2.) Those who advocate this approach don't really care if abortion is rare or not. Instead this is merely a technique to try to claim the middle ground in the abortion debate.

3.) Those who advocate this approach are confused about the degree to which abortion is morally wrong. For example, lying is morally wrong but most people don't think that Billy Bob telling a few fibs about how good an athlete he was in high school should land him in the state penitentiary. I think that a lot of pro-choice people think that abortion is wrong but not in the same sense that prolifers do. They see the unborn as "valuable" but not in the same way they think other human beings are valuable.

Or maybe this is a subset of option one.

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