‘Moral Trickle Down’ and Intricacies of Abortion Debate
David Garrow is concerned about the direction of pro-choice discourse. He cites my work – which calls for public moral consideration of both women’s rights and fetal value – calling it risky for pro-choice groups. He prefers older messages, which he believes are more powerful, such as “every child a wanted child,” which stress the fact that some unwanted children are abused, become criminals, or otherwise make our lives miserable. The fact is these messages don’t work. In the three decades since Roe was decided, the majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal but restricted; the percentage of young people who are “pro-life” has increased; fewer doctors perform abortions; and we have among the worst, most restrictive laws on abortion in the industrialized world – no funding for poor women, parental-consent laws that do nothing to help adolescents, inane waiting periods that do not facilitate moral reflection, and inaccurate government-mandated speeches read to women by weary clinic staff.
These measures passed whether Democrats or Republicans were in power. With conservative Republicans now in charge, the biggest risk for those who support abortion rights is to stay the course and continue to use failed arguments.
President, Catholics for a Free Choice
This letter appeared in the 28 February 2005 edition of the Christian Science Monitor.