Via Media

It would be interesting to meet and talk with Will Saletan. To watch him work through his obviously divided mind on the abortion issue. To make him defend statements like this:

Roe is 33 years old today. It freed us from ham-fisted criminal laws that pretended to solve the abortion problem. But it didn’t solve the problem, and it never will. It gave us the opportunity – and the challenge – to help women exercise choice before, not after, fetal development. In the moral arc of history, abortion was a step forward from infanticide. Abortion pills that act early in pregnancy are the next step, followed by morning-after pills, which prevent implantation. The ultimate destination is contraception or abstinence.

The point of his piece is that the abortion rights movement ignores abortion, and should address it forthrightly- should make decreasing the instance of abortion a part of its package, as it recognizes the reality that while most Americans do not support total criminalization of abortion, neither are they happy with the procedure.

But Saletan himself commits the very sin he names. For he ignores abortion – the reality of it. His framing of the moral issue blasts this loud and clear, indicating that he doesn’t see abortion as the taking of a human life but as pregnancy, er, prevention. This is not the cause of the un-ease with abortion which he addresses. The un-ease is rooted in the unspoken knowledge of what abortion is and does, the reality of death that haunts the culture and warps it more with each passing year.

And, as we’ve discussed here before, no way no how that the core of the abortion rights movement is ever going to agree to describing abortion as anything but neutral in its public face. 

And Saletan, your moral arc reaches all the way around and consumes itself.

Update: Mark Stricherz is harsher in his assessment, calling his post on this piece "When a Pro-Choice Intellectual becomes unhinged."

Mr. Saletan’s thesis is shot through with false statements, absurdities, straw men, and propaganda. If his previous writings were not smart and lucid, I would conclude that his Times piece was written by a spokesperson for Sen. Hillary Clinton. But since there is no reason to think it was, my guess is that this was a momentary flight from reason.

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