Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Democrats and abortion

In a post whose title tracks Steve’s (with a somewhat different intent, however), MOJ’s Rob Vischer points to an interview with Nancy Pelosi. Says she:

Q: I think the issues that brought you into politics were the environment and also choice. [You had] five children in six years, a Catholic background. . . Was embracing choice an issue with your family?

Pelosi: To me it isn’t even a question. God has given us a free will. We’re all responsible for our actions. If you don’t want an abortion, you don’t believe in it, [then] don’t have one. But don’t tell somebody else what they can do in terms of honoring their responsibilities.

Says Vischer:

I’m not even sure where to begin. In the world according to Pelosi, whether abortion should be legal "is not even a question." We should not outlaw abortion because God gave us free will. (Under that logic, could anything be prohibited by law?) We can effectively register our moral opposition to abortion by not having one. And honoring responsibilities is an inescapably self-defined endeavor.

Safe and legal? For sure! Rare? Only for those who don’t want to have abortions. And proposing legislation that would reduce the incidence would be a way of registering one’s opposition, which NP says we can do only by choosing privately not to have an abortion.

Discussions - 12 Comments

I have a hard time distinguishing Vischer’s counterpoint from the belief that law should only allow one religion, etc. because people will believe wrongly.

It seems Pelosi is somewhat like Locke in his Letter Concerning Toleration, while the Vischer quote and the point you draw from it seem like the older argument in support of laws that made certain religious beliefs illegal. If having the wrong belief results in eternal damnation, then wouldn’t his argument and yours require laws to make such beliefs illegal? It would seem eternal damnation is a result with a lot more consequence than having an abortion (presumbly the abortion haver could repent at a later date).

I do not think the law should forbid every immoral act, and it is not crazy to think it should not. I suppose one could distinguish between the two because abortion involves an innocent party.

I’d recommend Pelosi read Hadley Arkes’ "Natural Rights and the Right to Choose".

Extremely reasonable and pursuasive.


Vischer says nothing about religion in his post, but rather refers to morality (as does Pelosi). Law is of course all about morality. His point is that Pelosi’s position, taken to its (il)logical extreme, would rule out all legislation in an anarcho-libertarian fantasy world.


That distinction between religious choice and moral choice does not seem valid to me. I cannot understand how a bad religious choice could NOT be immoral. It seems that religion and morality are the same, although I will confess I have not thought much about the subject. Can you explain how a religious choice is amoral?


That’s not the point. Vischer’s implicit claim is that there is a moral argument against abortion (that is, in favor of legislation restricting abortion) that is separable from any religious argument.

Well, if God has given me free will without any framework of right and wrong, without any natural law, can I rape, murder, steal, sexual harrass, etc., etc.? Also, "honoring their responsibilities" would include abortion? What an inversion of values she has. That sort of relativist reasoning is frightening and why the Democrats in general cannot claim, as much as they might want to, to be the party of "values" (or especially virtue). As noted above, Arkes has effectively demolished this sort of thinking (as have numerous others).

No Tony... you cannot rape, murder, steal, sexual (sic) hararass.. with out facing the rule of law unless you are protected by the current Republican power machine.

A woman’s right to choose is a very different subject.

Nick that was unfair. You’re last name wouldn’t be Kennedy, by any chance, would it?

We ’honor our responsibilities’ by the dishonorable and irresponsible practice of killing our children?

Speaking of Kennedys, Teddy has a 20 yr.-old son by one of his girlfriends. Ted tried to have him aborted--I guess he was ’honoring his

Teddy has also been in the news for working with the Soviets to undermine both Reagan and Carter--you just don’t see bipartisanship like that any more.

And he was just at the Studds funeral, praising the pioneering page-buggerer.

Pelosi was right; America’s children need the Speaker’s gavel--so they can use it to fight off the Democrats.

Tony - the Democrrats are always trying to pass laws restricting people’s behavior. Your beef rightly rests with with the Libertarians.

I think the reason there is a Satan is that people should be free to choose evil, and therefore prove themselves good. Laws kind of deny us of that opportunity, right?

Yes, I’m playing devil’s advocate here.

Uncle Guido - no, my last name is not Kennedy. I was born Irish-Catholic tho...

You’re right - my comment about being protected by the current Repubilcan leadership was a cheap shot.

If that line of reasoning were followed in law, there would be no form of murder penalized by our system, since it would be strictly between the individual person and their Creator to make determinations of right and wrong. This mentality has led to the point where euthanasia is becoming rampant and no human life is safe and it is why Ramesh Ponnuru wrote "Party of Death" and Limbaugh wrote "Bankrupt", both excellent exposes on the morally depraved nature of the DNC today...and here’s hoping my vote adds to a veritable LANDSLIDE for the GOP Nov. 7th:)!

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