The Very Idea of Abortion by David Mills

The Very Idea of Abortion

In an interview in early November with National Public Radio, Wesley Clark declared that he opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion because he did not believe in “legislation for ideology.” The word ideology, when used by people like Clark and pro-abortionists in general, seems to mean “an idea I really dislike.” They have ideas, especially new, fresh, innovative ideas; their opponents have ideology. They have dreams and visions; their opponents, ideology. They have compassion and concern; their opponents, ideology. They have principles; their opponents, ideology.

The idea appears in other forms that do not use the word but make the same sort of irrational but very convenient distinction. The pro-abortionists will demand that a man nominated to be a federal judge respect “a woman’s right to choose” before they will support him, but will denounce those who demand that he accept the unborn child’s right to live as applying an illegitimate “litmus test.”

When they talk about justice for one of their favored groups, they speak about justice, but when their opponents talk about justice for the unborn, they (their opponents) speak ideologically. “A woman’s right to control her own body” is for them a self-evident truth upon which public policy must be based, but “an unborn child’s right to live” is an ideological statement that should never be advanced in public debate.

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David Mills has been editor of Touchstone and executive editor of First Things.

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