Friday, January 28, 2011
"Abortion, Reason, and Science" is the name of this essay, by David Harsanyi, published at the Reason (a libertarian magazine) website. (My advice, for what it's worth, is that one resist any temptation to read the comments.) He says:
How many Americans instinctively turn to the pro-choice camp because pro-life proponents aggravate their secular sensibilities?
As Nat Hentoff, the noted civil libertarian journalist, once remarked, when he turned pro-life, his cohorts at The Village Voice wondered when he had "converted to Catholicism—the only explanation they could think of" for his "apostasy."
It's unfortunate that abortion is a social issue, because it is science and reason that can turn the debate. . . .
[If] the pro-life movement is going to win the hearts and minds of the rest of the nation, it's not going to need more God. It's going to need more reason.
On the one hand, the piece made me want to roll my eyes and grumble a bit. After all, the pro-life side of the argument (at least, in my experience) has been asking all along to have the abortion question subjected to the tests of reasoned argument. Bring them on! On the other hand, though, it seems hard to dispute the author's suggestion that many people (fairly or no) embrace abortion rights because they believe (incorrectly, in my view) that a "secular" orientation requires it. If Harsanyi can get a few people to re-think that embrace, more power to him.
UPDATE: This post, at First Things, has prompted some interesting discussion in the comments box. . .