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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kissling & Michelman on the Roe anniversary

Here is an op-ed, in the Los Angeles Times, called "Abortion's Battle of Messages", by Frances Kissling (formerly with "Catholics for a Free Choice") and Kate Michelmen (formerly with NARAL-Pro-Choice America). 

Now, I believe that Roe was wrong and also that abortions which involve the intentional killing of a fetus are immoral.  I participate regularly in anniversary "Marches for Life" and so on.  So, I understand that my reactions to the op-ed might be seen as tainted, or of little interest, and will simply report my impression that many of the piece's declarative statements (e.g., "the United States has some of the most restrictive policies on abortion in the developed world" and "the Supreme Court affirmed in Roe vs. Wade that women have a fundamental right to choose abortion without government interference") are incorrect.

I was intrigued, though, by the authors' concessions that "[a]dvocates of choice have had a hard time dealing with the increased visibility of the fetus" and "as much as it pains us to admit it, [Pope John Paul II's term "culture of life"] moved some hearts and minds."  (Why did it move them?)  And, in particular, I was struck by this:

Our vigorous defense of the right to choose needs to be accompanied by greater openness regarding the real conflict between life and choice, between rights and responsibility. It is time for a serious reassessment of how to think about abortion in a world that is radically changed from 1973.

I gather that, for Kissling and Michelman, this "serious reassessment" does not involve re-considering their "vigorous defense of the right to choose[.]"  Fair enough.  But, is it so clear that "greater openness regarding the real conflict between life and choice" is likely to lead to greater, rather than reduced, enthusiasm for Roe/Casey/Carhart-style abortion rights?  Is it so clear that it should

Posted by Rick Garnett on January 22, 2008 at 10:12 PM in Rick Garnett | Permalink


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