Is An Abortion Ban Actually Pro-Life?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 7 2012 @ 12:32pm


Amanda Marcotte argues it isn't, practically speaking:

The rate of abortion is actually higher in countries where it's banned, suggesting that if you're "pro-life", the last thing you want is an abortion ban. The black markets that are handling those abortions are—duh—unsafe. There's no "if" here, no future date when all this is suddenly resolved. We actually know right now what each side's policy gets. If we get our way, abortion rates are lower and exponentially fewer women die or are disfigured by abortions. (In fact, if done properly, it's one of the safest surgical procedures that exists, and far safer than childbirth.) If antis get their way, the abortion rate goes up, as does the rate of women dying or being injured by unsafe abortion.

I don't think this is easy to argue against. I am pro-life, in as much as I find abortion deeply morally troubling. But I am also a conservative, which requires me to see what is actually practicable in a diverse and free society, where government does not, mercifully, have the power to control what happens inside our bodies. And so I favor the boring but essentially conservative position that most European countries have and that Roe deprived America of: legal, safe and rare abortion, with increasing restrictions past the first trimester (while allowing for late-term medical necessities for child and mother). Unsatisfying? Yes. Is any other compromise truly possible in a free society where views differ so greatly? Not without ripping the society apart.

Republicans favor the latter. Real conservatives don't.