Choice: What a Beautiful Lie

The abortion debate has been over for years.  Both sides agree on the fundamentals.  Pro-abortion activists now routinely speak of their reverence for life.  Admittedly, that reverence extends to baby seals, calves raised for veal, and porpoises caught in a tuna-fisherman’s net, but they are also sturdy advocates of protecting children from a cruel society that does not provide a sufficient number of daycare clinics and social workers to take care of all the children rescued by misguided right-to-lifers.  Their favorite joke is that “those who oppose a woman’s right to control her body” think that life begins at conception and ends at birth.

On the other hand, abortion opponents take their stand on choice: “Choose life,” they say, and “It’s a beautiful choice.”  So both sides are in favor of life, indiscriminately, and all are in favor of choice, also indiscriminately, though each side may criticize the application of these terms.  If Humpty Dumpty were not courteous to a fault, he would tell both sides “Phooey.”  We cannot be simply in favor of life, because we would end up refusing to use antibiotics for fear of killing the cuddly little bacilli.  As Father Hugh points out elsewhere in this issue, the parents’ duty to safeguard their issue is the relevant moral category, not an undifferentiated right to existence...

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