Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Fetus Fealty

Not much of a comment from me on this (See below), but follow the link above and see a great article by one of my favorite legal columnists, Dahlia Lithwick. She delivers a very interesting read on the recent abortion case decided by the Supreme Court. here's a snip:

And then Kennedy quickly returns to the business of grossing us out. With a stirring haiku about how "respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child," the justice interpolates himself between every one of those mothers and every child she might ever bear. Without regard for the women who feel they made the right decision in terminating a pregnancy, he frets for those who changed their minds. ("It seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained.") (The "infant," not the "fetus.") As both the dissenters and my colleague Emily Bazelon

have pointed out, this portrayal of a rampant epidemic of regretful women may or may not be scientifically accurate. (The American Psychological Association doesn't think so.) But even if the numbers of women who would truly choose differently if they could choose again are larger than most of the medical literature indicates, one might question whether such women should be the pole star of national abortion policy.

Nobody disputes that whether or not they decide to go through with an abortion, women face a heart-wrenching choice. But for Kennedy only those women who regret the decision to abort illuminate some deeper truth. And Kennedy's solution for these flip-flopping women is elegant. Protect them from the truth. "Any number of patients facing imminent surgical procedures would prefer not to hear all details," he concedes. "It is, however, precisely this lack of information concerning the way the fetus will be killed that is of legitimate concern to the state." In Kennedy's view, if pregnant women only knew how abhorrent the procedure was, they'd always opt to avoid it. But as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg points out in dissent, Kennedy doesn't propose giving women more information about partial-birth abortion procedures. He says it's up to the Congress and the courts to substitute their judgment and ban the procedures altogether. ("I'm sorry Bianca, there is a procedure out there that may be safer for you, but some day, you will thank me for sparing you from it.")


brd said...

I was listening to StoryCorps this morning and heard an interesting colloquialism from the mouth of Jackson, Mississippian, Dorothy Hayes. Does this speak in an anecdotal way about what this columnist is saying?

She said, "I wouldn't take a million dollars for any of you" — referring to her son and his three brothers. "I wouldn't give a nickel for another one either," she says.

I, like Dot, could say the same thing. Actually having a child, for the average person, (again, anecdotal) does make dramatic psychological difference. I think that the society, Congress, and debaters should neither deny this, nor make all decisions based upon it. However, it should inform some decisions.

Polarization in the abortion debate really does prohibit thinking and genuine discussion. I wish that were not so.

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