Abortion and the Death Penalty (was Re: abortion litmus test)

Katha Pollitt kpollitt at thenation.com
Tue Jun 2 09:49:03 PDT 1998

Re max's query: my stats and statements on abortion come from the alan Guttmacher Institute, which is a goldmine of unbiassed info on all matters related to reproductive health. That's where I got the interesting fact that Hispanic women in particular and Catholic women generally have higher abortion rates than women of other faiths.

I don't think I am an "absolutist" on abortion, as he charges. I don't think anyone should have an abortion who doesn't want one. the absolutist position would be one that forced women to have abortions, to serve some principle, as in China, just as the pro-life position would force women not to have them, to serve some principle . I think people should be able to make this decision for themselves. the thing about the abortion debate is that only one side seeks to coerce the other side. Pro-lifers are free to live according to their principles, free to seek to persuade others, free to promote their views and free, of course, although they don't do much about this, to make a society friendlier to mothers and children.

I don't see how Max can call abortion rights "a secondary issue within women's rights." I don't think many women who care about women's rights would agree with that, either. The ability to decide something as life-changing and life-threatening as childbearing is pretty basic. When abortion was illegal,hundreds of thousands of women every year risked mutilation and death to have the procedure.Who would risk death for a 'secondary issue"? In fact, according to leslie reagan's "when Abortion Was a Crime" there may have been as much, or more abortion pre-Roe and there is now -- something pro-lifers NEVER talk about!

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