Monday, August 31, 2009

Absolutism

I suppose it’s a matter of semantics, but it’s interesting to hear someone who is anti-abortion like Ross Douthat decry the “absolutism” of liberals like Ted Kennedy who was pro-choice — the idea being that women have a right to make the choice about whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term and therefore may, without coercion from either side, make up their own mind — while saying that his sister, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was pro-life and therefore not an absolutist when it comes to reproductive rights.

Pro-choice means exactly that: you have the right to choose, and assuming that because a woman has the right to have an abortion does not automatically mean she will have one. The only thing that should be “absolute” about it is that the choice should be hers and those she chooses to seek counsel from, be it her family, her spiritual counselor, or anyone else she decides to have a say in it, and not some absolute stranger who stands on the sidewalk outside a clinic waving a sign, a bible, or a gun.