Abortion has been in the news this week, following the publication of a book called Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt. She’s been making the media rounds to support the book, pushing her ultra-liberal philosophy on anyone who will listen. Now you may be wondering what all of this is about. After all, this issue was settled by the Supreme Court more than forty years ago. What’s she talking about “reclaiming?”
I haven’t read the book. Probably won’t. The libraries and bookstores of the world are filled with too many classics, too many must-read volumes of wisdom to waste time on this kind of trash. Judging by her media appearances and guest blog posts, though, you can get a sense of what kinds of rights she’s interested in “reclaiming.” Writing in the Huffington Post, Pollitt says, “We need to talk about ending a pregnancy as a common, even normal, event in the reproductive lives of women.”
Oh. I didn’t know we needed to talk about abortion that way. My bad. It’s tempting to disregard these people. To just say, “Oh, look at those crazy liberals, what sick thing will they think of next?” But I think that’s dangerous. I can imagine people said the same thing about the Margaret Sangers of the world in the early 1900s, unable to see how potent liberalism can be when left unchecked. How it festers and grows like a virus, spreading throughout the land. You can’t wait until half the country is against you before you speak out.
Pollitt’s argument is that abortions have happened throughout history, and therefore…something. I guess that logic would apply across the board. Murder has occurred throughout history as well, I guess we should accept that as a common, even normal, event in the societal lives of men. Rape, too, stretches back beyond the dawn of recorded history. Normal, common. I’m not making comparisons; I’m simply pointing out that this justification for abortion is a non-starter.
Pollitt goes further, explaining that abortion is simply “part of being a mother.” The decision, she says, to abort a child is every bit as moral a decision as the decision to bear one. Are you starting to understand why I’m not going to read this book?
The problem with Pollitt’s extremist viewpoint isn’t that it exists; there will always be kooks on the far side of any argument. The problem is that these extremist viewpoints have a way of becoming slowly normalized over the years. As the country continues its shift to the left, we’ll see more and more of these kinds of arguments. A noted feminist once wrote that any excuse for an abortion was good enough, including the need to fly somewhere during the last trimester. One can imagine that Pollitt would agree with that sentiment, seeing as how abortions are as moral as childbirth.
As we move further and further away from the religious fabric that once bound us together, we lose the ground on which to shout down these people. If there’s no God, after all, maybe she’s right. Who’s to say? If all we are is a collection of cells, if there’s no grand purpose to any of this, what harm is an abortion? For that matter, what harm is there to infanticide? If consenting adults agree that having a baby isn’t what they thought it would be, why shouldn’t it be their right to kill it? The baby doesn’t know any different.
Liberals scoff at this, of course. Oh, stop it. We would never advocate for that.
But I don’t know. I could see some extremist a few years down the line writing a book, making that very argument. And everyone would say, oh look at those crazy liberals, what sick thing will they think of next?