Thursday, January 27, 2011

Endless echoes of rhetoric

Carol Rose writes for the Boston Globe:
Two news stories this week serve as a good reminder of why abortion should remain safe, affordable, and legal.

The first was a story that detailed a “filthy house of horrors’’ and “barbaric conditions” where a Philadelphia doctor preyed upon poor, immigrant, and minority women in need of illegal abortions. The second is today’s release of a comprehensive scientific study debunking the myth that abortion is a mental health risk to women. In fact, the study shows, the opposite is true.


Yet, some 38 years after the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade properly recognized that abortion is a private, personal decision that should be left to a woman and her physician, lawmakers around the country are still trying to impose their own individual religious or moral views on other people by passing laws that force poor women into back-alley abortions. These lawmakers (most of whom are men) want to make it nearly impossible for poor women to access safe medical care, while also making it more difficult for teenagers to learn about ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.
Both the rhetoric and the facts of this piece are 40 years old, but does anyone care? For instance, it's odd that this "filthy house of horrors" would be cited as a defense of legal abortion, but that's always been central to the pro-choice argument. Equally central is the claim that the pro-life position is an "individual religious or moral view," as is the claim that pro-life lawmakers are mostly men who "want to make it nearly impossible for poor women to access safe medical care."

The frustrating thing about such empty rhetoric is how long it echoes. One wonders whether there's even a point in attempting to refute it.

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