The Corner


Edsall’s Questions

In response to The World’s Most Inoffensive Language

Wesley, that Edsall item was actually much better than the last article of his on the right to life that came up in the Corner. You are of course correct that he is playing a silly word game. He also seems to be trying to trap pro-life politicians by getting them either to come out for prohibiting IUDs and the morning-after pill or to retreat from the conviction that human lives should be protected from conception onward. But there’s no reason to choose either alternative. There’s a moral difference between acts that may cause death, on the one hand, and acts that definitely cause death and are intended to do so, on the other.

Edsall says he sent Republican presidential candidates these questions: “Does X believe that life begin at the moment the egg is fertilized? Or does he/she believe life begins when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall (implantation)? Does he/she believe use of the intrauterine device (IUD) results some or all of the time in abortion? Does he/she believe the morning after pill results in abortion?” My own answers would be: “Yes; no; sometimes; sometimes; and in answer to your implied question, no, I don’t think it follows that IUDs or the morning-after pill should be prohibited, but I do think it would be helpful for further research to be done so as to shed more light on the possible effects of various forms of contraception.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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