Politics & Policy

The Corner

Why Shouldn’t We Err on the Side of Life?

The Times applauds, naturally:

A Kentucky state representative believed that a new law requiring women to have a medical consultation 24 hours before having an abortion smacked of sexism.

So the lawmaker, Mary Lou Marzian, proposed a bill in the male-dominated House to drive home the point.

Under the legislation by Ms. Marzian, a Democrat, men would have to navigate a series of obstacles before they could obtain erectile dysfunction drugs, like Viagra. Each man would be required to have two doctor visits, a signed-and-dated letter from his spouse providing consent and a sworn statement — delivered with his hand on a Bible — that he would use the drugs only to have sex with his spouse.

Only married men would be eligible for the drugs.

Oh, wow! That’s so cheeky! The patriarchy is reeling!

These showpieces are popular on the left, and they’re all enormously tiresome. To state the obvious, the question at issue in abortion is, Are two lives at issue, or one? That question is not at issue in the purchase of Viagra.

But I expect Ms. Marzian knows that — and just doesn’t care. Which, as it happens, is where the pro-abortion movement has been heading for some time. And it’s clarifying. Take, for example, Hillary Clinton’s coming out against the Hyde Amendment, the perennial appropriations rider that prevents taxpayer dollars from directly funding abortions. In politics, the Hyde Amendment is called a compromise. Ms. Marzian’s pro-abortion constituents can procure a procedure, but her other, anti-abortion constituents don’t have to pay for it. On a fraught question, we made room for both sides. What pro-abortion activists are increasingly unwilling to do is concede that there is a moral question at issue at all. Hence the disappearance of “safe, legal, and rare,” and the rise of “safe, legal, and whenever you please.” In the long term, I suspect that that will work to the benefit of abortion opponents; but in the short term, it means a more shrill, more vehement pro-abortion movement, set on knuckling under those who disagree with them.

Which brings us back to Marzian: A medical consultation and a 24-hour waiting period are very minor concessions to make when the procedure in question may involve killing another person. It’s a way of giving some room for moral considerations that may be neglected by rushing into an abortion. If you’re set on the procedure, the 24 hours will not make a difference; if you’re on the fence, it may. And here’s the question for Ms. Marzian and her sort: Why shouldn’t we err on the side of life?

(P.S. Since Marzian’s opposition to the new law is sexism, how about a brain-bender: Is Marzian in favor of laws prohibiting sex-selective abortion? Since baby girls are overwhelmingly the victims of that practice, wouldn’t opposition to such a law, by Marzian’s logic, be sexist?)

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Religion

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More