THE TROJAN HOLOCAUST

THE TROJAN HOLOCAUST. Like Matt, I wholeheartedly agree that pro-lifers should be more explicit about the extent to which pro-life arguments tend to be embedded within (and derived from) reactionary conceptions of sexuality. Someone taking this advice has been Zell Miller, who recently opined that America has too few children because of "the brutal truth that no one dares to mention: We�re too few because too many of our babies have been killed. Over 45 million since Roe v. Wade in 1973." My question: if the problem is too few babies, why is he discussing abortion rather than the real enemy, birth control? If abortion is evil on this basis, then contraception is extra-super-duper-evil. The logic of this (rather common) pro-life position -- along with its even more idiotic twin, the "how would you have liked to have been aborted" argument (and what if your mother had been wearing a diaphragm the night you were conceived? Ban them!) -- does link anti-abortion policy ineluctably with anti-contraception policy.

On a related point, because anti-contraception policies are so unpopular, conservatives often insist that Roe v. Wade can be overturned without logically threatening other privacy cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut. But as John Paul Stevens has pointed out, this position is completely nonsensical; it's absurd to argue that a woman has a fundamental right in choosing to become pregnant before the fact but only a trivial interest in choosing whether to become pregnant after the fact. The state's interest is greater after the fact, but the way abortion laws are written and enforced makes it almost impossible to argue that this interest could trump a fundamental right, which is why most opponents of Roe deny that a woman's right to choose an abortion is a fundamental right at all. If you believe that, then Griswold and the Court's other privacy cases are also clearly wrong. If advocates of reproductive freedom are lucky we'll get more pro-lifers to point this out too, like Robert Bork did.

UPDATE: Further thoughts here.
--Scott Lemieux

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