Ground Zero for Human Rights
New York can set us free.


Kathryn Jean Lopez

An under-the-radar book last fall, Beyond a House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street, and the Media, by Carl Anderson, made the point that at a time when eight in ten Americans want to significantly restrict the legality of abortion, Dark Ages rhetoric is pure nonsense. And that’s especially true when it is used about a fairly undramatic but significant piece of legislation. We are a people who, for goodness’ sake, value life. It’s in our national (and natural!) DNA; it’s in our founding documents. Even if the DNC has made different choices. So the least we can do is not fund abortion.

Even Democrats appreciate that, at least in a lot of their rhetoric. Maybe the debate over abortion funding can become a uniter instead of a divider.

“Man can get used to anything, the beast!” Raskolnikov observes in Crime and Punishment. Not anything. Not completely. Not yet. Even after 38 years of legal abortion, we’re not immune to its brutality. We want options. People like the folks at Good Counsel maternity homes in New York dedicate their lives to making sure women have options. So many of us — especially those whose lives have been changed by abortion — want men to know that they can support life, and that, besides ending a life, abortion will hurt the mother, the father, and many of the people around them. It has long been commonplace to insist that you’re personally opposed even when you advocate legal abortion.

In 1996, during the partial-birth-abortion debate, the late congressman Henry Hyde warned of “the coldness of self-brutalization that chills our sensibilities, deadens our conscience, and allows us to think of this unspeakable act as an act of compassion.” Therein lies a hopeful reality at a time of crisis for some of our most vulnerable: Outraged New Yorkers and a simple funding bill in the House are signs that we’re not dead yet.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online. This column is available exclusively through United Media.


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