For more than three decades abortion has been primarily a legal fight centered on the Supreme Court’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution. Political action has invariably been shaped by the prospect of judicial review. That process continues today, with South Dakota’s recent approval of a blanket ban in response to the changed membership of the Court.
The pro-life lobby has been forthright in its position: abortion is wrong and should be banned. The other side, however, often has obscured its views. Those leading the fight against abortion regulation like to style themselves as pro-choice, but many of them really are pro-abortion.
The essential question of government is when to toss people into jail. Lots of human institutions attempt to mold behavior. Families, churches, neighborhood associations, clubs, advocacy groups, and more seek to persuade or set requirements for membership. Only government arrests and imprisons.
There’s nothing inconsistent in arguing that abortion is an unfortunate procedure, but one that warrants private discouragement rather than state prohibition. The abortion lobby likes to present this view as its public face, and some Democratic politicians have done the same in order to improve their image among “values” voters.
For instance, President Bill Clinton opined that abortion was best kept legal but should be rare. Sen. Hillary Clinton has followed her husband’s lead in attempting to triangulate the issue, expressing concern about the procedure while defending its legality. That’s also the position of Catholic politicians who proclaim their personal opposition to the procedure while refusing to vote to ban it. They might not be good Catholics — and all might be acting out of convenience rather than conviction — but it’s an intellectually defensible position.
Every so often the zealots come along and again remind us what the issue is really about, however.
Ms. magazine is one of the stalwarts of the feminist movement. Publishing its first regular issue in July 1972, the journal pressed for legal abortion before Roe v. Wade. Although today the magazine ranges into such curious areas as environmental feminism (is there a difference between being an environmental feminist or a feminist environmentalist?), abortion remains a core issue. Now Ms. magazine is asking its readers and others to celebrate the fact that they have had abortions.
The editors have added a “We Had Abortions” section to their website, which says the magazine is pursuing “a campaign for honesty and freedom.” Just what does it mean to be honest and free in the view of Ms. magazine?
Explain the editors: “In its 1971 debut issue, Ms. magazine ran a bold petition in which 53 well-known U.S. women declared that they had undergone abortions — despite state laws rendering the procedure illegal.” Absurd as it was then, declares Ms., that abortion was illegal, “[i]t is even more absurd in 2006 to learn that an abortion ban has passed into law in South Dakota.” Other states have imposed other restrictions, so “it is time again for women of conscience to stand up and speak truth to power.”p>Thus, the magazine is offering a new petition to “change the public debate.” States Ms. : br> /p>
It is time to speak out again—in even larger numbers — and to make politicians face their neighbors, influential movers and shakers, and yes, their family members. We cannot, must not — for U.S. women and the women of the world — lose the right to safe, legal, and accessible abortion or access to birth control. Just as in 1972, Ms. will send the signed petitions to the White House, members of Congress and state legislators. We will also place the petition online. And we ask signers to make a contribution so Ms. can promote the petition and provide needed funds to fight abortion bans and support targeted abortion providers, such as the sole remaining women’s clinic in Mississippi.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?