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Chapter 19: Abortion – Are both sides wrong?

September 6, 2012

“I am pro-choice, but I find that abortion is a failure of the feminist establishment. With every kind of birth control available in the world, abortion is not something to be proud of. If you need an abortion, you’ve failed.” —Tammy Bruce, American radio talk show host

What’s wrong about

America’s abortion battles

  • A divided nation.Many Americans oppose “abortion on demand,” but would support abortion in exceptional cases such as rape or when the health of the mother and child are at risk. Yet the abortion issue continues to tear the country apart.
  • Pro-lifers. Government should never condone the taking of a human life, but the efforts of pro-life activists usually result in lawmakers defining under what circumstances abortions can be conducted legally. Is this really what the pro-lifers want?
  • Pro-choicers. The pro-choice activists have it wrong too. Abortion isn’t a question of women’s rights. The government should never condone the taking of a human life, but that’s essentially what pro-choicers often advocate with their efforts to legalize abortion entirely.
  • Can’t be policed. Some things are impossible to police without unacceptable government meddling in the private lives of its citizens. Abortion is a prime example. The mother has the power to unilaterally terminate a pregnancy in a wide variety of ways that the government is unable to prevent. Besides, the morning-after pill and other developments may make the “life vs. choice” debate a moot point.
  • Black market abortions. Government efforts to prevent abortions inevitably result in more unwanted pregnancies being terminated in dangerous back-alley abortions. Even if government could effectively prevent abortions, desperate people would still find other ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
  • Welfare babies. The government’s current approaches to welfare encourage the wrong behaviors—such as giving birth to unwanted children in order to increase welfare amounts.
  • Single-issue politicians. By making abortion the single issue in elections, we have elected far too many politicians who are ill-prepared to deal with any issue other than abortion.

How to fix what’s wrong with

America’s abortion battles

  • Stop government incentives for unwanted babies. Replacing all existing welfare programs with a negative income tax would remove the financial incentive for the poor to bring more unwanted babies into the world. See more about this point in the chapter titled “Poverty.”
  • Education. Educate the public about the many problems caused by unwanted pregnancies—and the many methods of preventing them. (Best done by individuals and private organizations, not by the government.)
  • Promote adoption. For those who aren’t ready to be parents, promote adoption as a moral alternative to abortion and as a wiser choice than single motherhood—and provide support to those who choose to offer their baby for adoption. (Best done by individuals and private organizations, not by the government.)

“Abortion politics have distracted all sides from what is really essential: a major aid campaign to improve midwifery, prenatal care and emergency obstetric services in poor countries.” —American columnist Nicholas D. Kristof 


“It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.” —American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken


From → Abortion, Poverty

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