Sago Boulevard

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Abortion to Be Debated Again

Supreme Court to Tackle Abortion Again After 5 Years It will be interesting to see what angle the Court will take on this. Even more interesting, I think, will be the reactions of various editorialists and interest groups. I'm always amazed at the extremism that dominates the abortion debate. The Christian Right links abortion with murder, which pretty much eliminates any chance at compromise. Women's rights advocates, like Planned Parenthood, continue to push for increased availability and funding for abortions and fight against any restrictions, such as parental consent laws.

While I understand the need to sometimes be overzealous in political discourse, the question of abortion is almost certainly more complicated than either side is willing to admit. I think a woman's right to choose should be regarded seriously and should be protected by law. That said, the ethical issues involved shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. It's not clear to me what status a fetus should have in the eyes of the law. On this issue, jurists need to be philosophers (or at least pretend to be). It isn't enough for the Court to decide on "reproductive rights". It needs to take steps towards defining what a fetus is. Once we start thinking along those lines, what we thought was clear-cut becomes very hazy.