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Abortion in America
The Abortion Issue Won’t Go Away
It has been 43 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, and today, despite the predicted snow storm, pro-life activists gathered in Washington, DC to demonstrate against current abortion law and practice, as they have every year since 1974. We’ve noted in the past that the media often does a poor job covering this event, and we’d like to mark its occurrence this year.

For some insight into why the pro-life cause persists—and continues, by some metrics, to gain ground—despite the shift towards “progressive” mores on issues like same-sex marriage, take a look at WRM’s post “Abortion: The Great American Exception”:

Ultimately, this may be due to the moral quality of American individualism. At its core, the value Americans place on individual freedom isn’t simply a rationalization for immoral and selfish behavior. There is a deeply moral belief in the transcendent value of the individual human being, uniquely and solely responsible to God and to conscience for his or her choices in life. Social restrictions on the freedom of individuals to choose are suspect; the goal isn’t a society of frightened conformists behaving ‘correctly’ to avoid social pressure. The goal is a society of mature and responsible individuals who freely choose what is good and right.

American individualism is predicated on a deep respect for human life. That respect is great enough to allow people to make choices that look questionable to many and to allow people to live out their own destiny in their own way. But that respect, arising from individual conscience and not mandated by churches or external forces, also applies at least to some degree to the unborn.

As a nation, America is both pro-life and pro-choice. Finding the balance on abortion is very much a work in progress, but the American experiment with unrestricted abortion has raised troubling questions that aren’t going away.

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  • Andrew Allison

    It’s more complicated than that. Most pro-life believers are, unsurprisingly, also believers in God. While respecting WRM’s beliefs, I fear that they tinge his views on this topic. The issue is not resolvable precisely because it is a matter of belief, and both sides wish to impose their beliefs on the other. IMO, the root cause of this 43-year-and-counting civil war was the mistaken involvement of the Supreme Court. If there was ever a case for State’s Rights to be paramount, this was it.
    About that deeply moral belief in the transcendent value of the individual human being:

    • Dale Fayda

      Have you followed the Kermit Gosnell trial at all? What went on at his abortion clinic is horrific to the extreme. It was outright murder of living, breathing children. The recent Planned Parenthood revelations of purposeful harvesting and sale of butchered children’s body parts shows this practice to be widespread all over the abortion industry.

      This has gone WAY past two sides arguing their respective abstract belief systems; it’s about stopping systematized, conveyor-like slaughter of living human beings, which liberals, in their demented logic, have the temerity to call “choice”.

      • Andrew Allison

        Your reply is off topic, but I agree that what has been going on at abortion clinics is horrific — but is it really worse than the cumulative effects of back-street abortions in the absence of legal opportunities for those intent on abortion?
        I argued that the intrusion of the Supreme Court into what should have been a State’s Rights issue is the cause of the never-ending Abortion War. Here’s why: if the individual States had made decisions regarding abortion, somebody who wanted an abortion found themselves in one which banned it, they could go elsewhere. The problem I have with the pro-life argument is that it denies that opportunity to somebody with a contrary opinion. Not, I hasten to add, that I am in favor of abortion on demand.
        My personal opinion, FWIW, is that a spouse should have a voice in the decision, as should the parents of children who are not legally permitted to drink, and victims of rape have an unequivocal right to decide.

        • Dale Fayda

          Perhaps, I was somewhat unclear in making my point. I believe that the minutiae of the legal process on this issue is irrelevant in relation to into what “pro-choice” policies inevitably devolve – on demand, late-term or any term, tax payer financed, culturally sanctified abortion on demand for all ages barely above puberty, with or without parental or spousal consent. Whether the Supreme Court inflicts it on the entire nation or a Blue state legislates it into existence individually, the end result is the same – see previous sentence. For the Left, no battle is ever lost and no fight is ever over, gay “marriage” being the latest example. In that case, the matter WAS being settled at the state level, but the ruling class contrived to have it imposed on the entire nation by a one-vote Supreme Court majority.

          “The problem I have with the pro-life argument is that it denies that opportunity to somebody with a contrary opinion” – demonstrably false. There is a number of Republican-controlled state legislatures which tried to enact not a complete ban, but one that bans abortion after (20) weeks – meaning that those wanting an abortion could legally have one before then. The polls show it’s a policy which Americans support overwhelmingly. A huge concession to the abortion crowd; those wanting one don’t even “have to go elsewhere”. The Left, however, has challenged each one of those initiatives and has had most overturned.

          The Left will never assent to any restrictions on access to abortion. To paraphrase the film “Terminator” – “…It can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with and it won’t stop, EVER, until you (the fetus) are dead.” It’s one of the central dogmatic pillars of their cult of death. What you suggest is fairly sensible, but these subtleties and elegant solutions will never stand – the Left will see to that. One side or the other will have to win definitively.

    • Boritz

      Took a look at the link. What about this sentence from above:

      “That respect is great enough to allow people to make choices that look questionable to many and to allow people to live out their own destiny in their own way.”

      Is that a description of Japan or the new, improved (by gun control) Australia?

  • jeburke

    I supported legalizing abortion in many compelling circumstances as long ago as 1968. The problem lies with the fact that five Justices – one, actually – took it upon themselves to create the legal foundation for abortion on demand. In my view, this appaling policy choice has been enormously destructive.

    • Jim__L

      America is pretty extreme on this issue. In Britain, it takes the signatures of two doctors who say that the procedure is medically necessary to allow an abortion to move forward.

  • Blackbeard

    I have been accused of being excessively pessimistic but I truly believe the era we are living through will be seen by historians in the future as the fall of western civilization. Such a momentous world historical event of course has many causes including, among others, fiscal profligacy, rampant political correctness, multicultural idiocy and environmentalism gone mad. But perhaps the most direct cause is the demographic collapse we are witnessing throughout the industrialized world. And abortion on demand, and the ideology that justifies abortion on demand, is a significant part of that collapse.

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