Home / General / Will Saletan Is Wrong About Abortion, Part MCXVI

Will Saletan Is Wrong About Abortion, Part MCXVI


Phoebe Maltz uncovers yet another glaring piece of illogic in Will Saletan’s recent abortion op-ed. Saletan infers from the fact that most women would prefer to avoid a pregnancy than to have an abortion the conclusion that women therefore consider abortion to be highly immoral. But, of course, as Maltz explains this is (like pretty much every claim in his op-ed) an obvious non-sequitur:

Something is very wrong with this jump. There are reasons to want the number of abortions to be low rather than high that have nothing whatsoever to do with believing that “the simplest thing” is that “[i]t’s bad to kill a fetus.” It’s also bad to have a potentially expensive and painful medical procedure, to have weeks or months of unwanted pregnancy. Let’s say you don’t floss your teeth often enough and then discover you have a cavity. You can go to the dentist and have this fixed, you won’t be happy about it, you’ll regret your carelessness, but you will not be tortured by this incident for the rest of your life.

To those who are pro-choice, the “simplest thing” is that abortion is not murder, that nobody is “killed” by the procedure. Abortion is an undesirable outcome, and even pro-choice activists are right to advocate better sex education and access to birth control, so that this outcome can be avoided wherever possible.

This is correct. Some women prefer to avoid abortions because they consider abortions immoral–but many women do not, and certainly the banal proposition that abortion is generally a suboptimal outcome when compared to never having an unwanted pregnancy doesn’t provide any evidence for his inference.

(I also like this post on the less-serious topic of retroactively admitted crushes. Admittedly, I’m generally too cowardly to admit it even after the fact, but I recognize it now that it’s been pointed out…)

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