The Corner


Michelle Goldberg vs. David French

In the Virginia abortion debate, there is an interesting — stupid, but interesting — line of argument that goes like this: “We don’t need to prohibit gruesome, delivery-table abortions, because nobody would ever request such a thing.”

Example from Michelle Goldberg, knocking on David French:

French appears to be worried that women will seek, and doctors will perform, late-term abortions for trivial reasons. But there’s contempt for women embedded in the idea that, absent legal prohibition, someone on the verge of giving birth might instead terminate her pregnancy to avoid the brutalities of labor.

Is there “contempt for women” in the idea that we should legally prohibit drowning children in the bathtub? Because mothers sometimes drown their children in the bathtub. Is there “contempt for men” in laws against the various horrifying things that men sometimes do?

This is an almost entirely substance-free line of argument; in effect, it’s just another variation on, “If you disagree with me and I’m a woman, you hate women.”

It’s a form of argument that no self-respecting adult should be able to make without shame.

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