Sunday, January 21, 2018

Michael Gerson Tries and Fails to Make the Case for Anti-Abortion Rights

No Mention of the Rights of Women

After leaving the Bush White House conservative Michael Gerson has had a career as a columnist for the Washington Post. Because he has written thoughtful commentary at times he deserves a listen-to when he tries to justify eliminating the right of women to end a pregnancy. His main argument is that by outlawing abortion the nation is expanding rather than contracting rights and inclusion.

It is the antiabortion movement that appeals to inclusion. It argues for a more expansive definition of the human community. It opposes ending or exploiting one human life for the benefit of another. There are heart-rending stories that prevent the simplistic application of this approach. But most of the antiabortion men and women I know have the genuine and selfless motivation of trying to save innocent lives.

Of course the saving of innocent lives by the anti-abortion rights people does not include saving the life of the infant or the child once they are born. A large portion, almost certainly a majority of those in the anti-rights camp oppose government help with health care, education and other benefits that allow children to lead decent lives.

But the real and fatal error in Mr. Gerson's piece is his total lack of defense, or even recognition of a woman's right to control her own body. One must conclude that Mr. Gerson has no response to the position that the state must not, can not force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term during a time when the fetus is not viable. And because he has no response, Mr. Gerson simply ignores that argument. In that way he joins the rest of the anti-abortion rights movement, men and women who would use the power of government to enforce their desires for how a woman should behave on woman who do not want them to do so.

And of course if Mr. Gerson and others really wanted to stop abortions, they would spend their time and resources championing family planning. End unwanted pregnancies and you end abortions. It's that simple.

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