Safe, Legal and Well-done

In an article published in the New York Times on January 22, 2006 (available here to TimesSelect subscribers, here for mere mortals), William Saletan takes the "safe, legal and rare" position to an extreme. He says it's time for prochoicers to "declare war on abortion".

Katha Pollit's response, Prochoice Puritans in The Nation, correctly shows the logical consequences of that position: it will ultimately limit legitimate birth control and needlessly stigmatize obstetricians, gyncecologists and possibly pharmacists.

Let's all get the positioning right on this one: abortion should be safe, legal and well-done.

Recently, my wife got into an argument with someone over birth-control
drugs like RU-486, which acts early in pregnancy by preventing the
blastocyst from implanting itself in the wall of the uterus. This
person called those kind of drugs an "abortifacient". I
call them birth control. And I call them none of my business.

Getting in the way of a woman using that sort of birth control is
something I don't want the state to do other than ensuring the
safety of the treatment to the patient: the woman.

As a man, I take a rather radical approach to this issue: I realize I
don't have a say in whether any woman carries a pregnancy to term.
It's not my body. I can't enslave another human being's body and
force them to tend a field of cotton. What would make me think I can
hijack a woman's body to carry a blastocyst she doesn't want?

I guess I'm a 13th Amendment abortion-rights advocate.

I propose this ad-hoc definition of the beginning of human
life: when the woman carrying says it starts. When is a blastocyst,
an embryo, a fetus human? When the woman carrying it says it is.
No sooner. (With appropriate exceptions for those not of sound mind,
of course.)

Yep, this intoduces subjectivity into the law. Cry me a river. To the
men in the audience: That's the way it is, guys. We don't get a vote.
We are like the District of Columbia congressional delegation when it
comes to reproductive rights: we can observe and advise, but we are

We wuz robbed by Mother Nature, and we'd better get used to it.

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