The ongoing Planned Parenthood scandal has shone an unwelcome light on the way abortion-on-demand actually works in this country—as opposed to the way abortion-rights advocates want us to believe.
It has also opened the door for pro-lifers to make a fresh case against the old saws that prop up pro-abortion arguments. And few people have done a better job of this than Ross Douthat of the New York Times.
Douthat recently answered a series of questions posed by Katha Pollitt, a well-known abortion-rights advocate. Her questions and Douthat’s responses are worth talking about.
For instance, Pollitt raises the specter of women being injured or even dying as a result of so-called “back-alley” abortions. She argues that restricting abortion or even outlawing it won’t substantially reduce the demand for abortion, and that this demand will be met in ways that will harm women.
While Douthat concedes that “abortion cannot be absolutely prevented,” there are “good reasons to think that restrictions and bans do, in fact, reduce the abortion rate much more substantially than [Pollitt suggests].”
For instance, Ireland, where abortion is banned, has an abortion rate one-fourth that of the neighboring U.K., and that’s including Irish women who go to the U.K. for abortions. Furthermore, there’s no evidence of the dire health consequences Pollitt and others warn about.
As Douthat tells readers, “If you compare Ireland . . . to other countries like it, there’s simply no evidence that its laws are imposing the kind of massive, back-alley harms that [Pollitt deems] inevitable; its maternal mortality rate is normal for Western Europe and compares favorably to Great Britain.”
That’s because “the great modern plunge in pregnancy-associated deaths was not accomplished by [legalized abortion], but by medical advances that . . . predated the legalization of abortion.”
Then there’s the old argument about pro-lifers only caring about the child in the womb and being indifferent about the economic and logistical reasons that would lead a poor woman to choose abortion.
Well, Douthat sets the record straight on that score, as well. He writes, “as in other areas related to religion, social conservatism and charitable works . . . the pro-choice side tends to underestimate just how much non-governmental work people with pro-life convictions really do that supports mothers and families . . . how much they give and volunteer, and how big a difference it actually makes.”
To which I say “Amen.” My wife runs a pregnancy center, and I know first-hand how dedicated she and other women are to meeting the needs Pollitt mentions.
Douthat is also perplexed by Pollitt’s assertion that pro-lifers are okay with letting men “easily walk away” from their responsibilities toward their children. After all, he says, “the current abortion regime is itself a gift to men who want ‘to easily walk away,’ itself a legal and cultural enabler of male irresponsibility, on a profound, society-altering scale.”
No one less than Janet Yellin, the current Federal Reserve chair, has written that “By making the birth of the child the physical choice of the mother . . . the sexual revolution has made marriage and child support a social choice of the father.”
Come to BreakPoint.org and I’ll link you to Douthat’s excellent article. Sometimes you come across somebody that is so smart and so articulate that all you can say is, “I’m glad he’s on our side.” This is one of those instances.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Photo courtesy: flickr.com
Publication date: September 2, 2015