Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Ross Douthat has a very interesting post, "Imagining a Pro-Life America", up at The Atlantic. There's something in it, I suspect, to challenge everyone. He opens with this:
[A]ny successful attempt, in a post-Roe world, to ban or strictly regulate abortion in the United States would amount to an epic social experiment, with no obvious antecedents in our own history or any other country’s.
I gather that what would make this attempt an "epic experiment" is not that there is anything novel or experimental about regulating abortion -- it was done for a long time, in most places -- but that it would involve re-regulating conduct, for reasons that are thickly moral, that has been controversially de-regulated. What's more, he notes, "it isn’t at all the same country that it was the last time abortion was widely illegal. It’s a post-feminist, post-sexual revolution society, and any attempt at restricting abortion that hopes to succeed – whether legally, politically or morally – would have to take these realities into account[.]"
Now, Douthat does not proceed from here (as many do) to the conclusion that we should not regulate abortion, in accord with the truth that the unborn child is a human person, but rather to the suggestion that, while re-regulation remains a worthy, even compelling goal, there is "no question that it would require conservatives to temporarily table many of their longstanding policy goals - from cutting illegitimacy rates to reducing welfare dependency to limiting the size of government – in the name of the pro-life cause."