Lord Saletan’s latest (and even less plausibly “pro-choice” in any meaningful sense than usual) attack on pro-choicers was so bad I wasn’t sure where to even begin. Fortunately, Garance Franke-Ruta for the most part does an terrific job. One part of the critique, I think, deserves bold type:
To start with, he needs to more frequently acknowledge that what he’s calling for is not new and not just his idea.
I won’t get into this because I’ve written so much about it recently, but the most remarkable thing about Saletan is that he discusses supporting increased access to contraception and sex ed (which, of course, reduce unwanted pregnancies and hence abortions) as if he just split the atom, when of course pro-choice advocates already figured this out decades ago. As Franke-Ruta says, it’s pro-lifers who generally oppose these initiatives. But, of course, take away his excruciatingly banal policy proposals and you’re left with nothing but “I think abortion is gross but I suppose it should remain legal but highly regulated,” which seems unlikely to be an argument that will get your op-ed published. Franke-Ruta makes another important point: people like Saletan just sort of assume that abortion will just kind of remain legal by itself, as if public opinion surveys will protect the right, and as if motivated minorities don’t often get policy victories over more diffuse majorities. (I’m less sure about describing abortion as “awful,” but I agree that there’s a difference between taking women’s experiences into account and instructing them about being immoral; anyway, that’s a whole other post.)
…UPDATE: As a follow-up to my previous post on Saletan, ema offers a detailed rebuttal to Saletan’s various erroneous assertions about second-trimester abortions, a crucial component of his moralizing on the issue.