Friday, August 10, 2007

Anna Quindlen Is Clever

At least, that's what she seems to think.

In last week's Newsweek she wrote a column asking "How Much Jail Time" pro-lifers want to give women who have abortions. In it Quindlen refers to a video in which pro-lifers are allegedly "gobsmacked" by someone confronting them with this question.

Now, I can't speak for the pro-lifers in this video, but I too might appear "gobsmacked" if Ms. Quindlen put such a question to me. Not because I would be at a loss to respond to the question, but due to the moral shallowness and vapidity of the question. Quindlen demonstrates, as she is wont, that she is incapable of making distinctions, or indeed, engaging in serious thought.

Over at National Review Online, a number of actual serious thinkers offer an excellent series of responses to her question. I can imagine Quindlen, after writing her column, having thought "HA! I've got those pro-lifers now!" Except she hasn't. Her question is neither very original nor very clever. I can recall dismantling this silly question in dorm-room bull sessions in college 20 years ago.

What Quindlen is unable to recognize, as others in the NRO Symposium point out, is that the law didn't target women seeking abortions because the law recognized that women who felt so desperate that they sought an abortion were in need of compassion and help, not punishment.

But in the feminist pro-abortion ideology embraced by Quindlen and the establishment Left, the woman seeking an abortion is always exercising her "power", and making a self-asserting "choice". No room for woman as desperate, frequently abandoned, victim. Like every ideology, pro-abortion feminism ignores reality - in this case the desperate reality of the vast majority of women who get abortions - and shoe-horns these women into their ideologically prescribed template.

But the fact is that a pregnant woman is vulnerable. Feminists cannot stand to acknowledge such a reality. But a decent, moral society recognizes reality and sees to it that a pregnant woman is supported and protected, ideally, by encouraging and building up marriage and stable family life, and by providing life-affirming options when that ideal breaks down. A decent, moral society does not leave pregnant women so bereft that they see killing their unborn children as their only option.

Pro-lifers are "gobsmacked" by Quindlen's silly question because they understand the pregnant woman's vulnerability, and want to protect the woman and the child in a society like that described above. Too bad that she's too clever to see that.