Over the last week, there’s beenan outpouring of testimonials,
across the Internet, from women (and some men) who lived through these
hard cases. They help explain why Tiller thought he was doing the
Lord’s work, even though that work involved destroying something that
we wouldn’t hesitate to call a baby if we saw it struggling for life in
a hospital bed. They help explain why so many Americans defend his
right to do it.
But such narratives are not the only story about
George Tiller’s clinic. He was a target of protests — and, tragically,
of terrorist violence — because he performed late-term abortions,
period. But his critics were convinced that he performed them not only
in truly desperate situations, but in many other cases as well. Over
the years, they cobbled together a considerable amount of evidence —
drawn fromthe state’s abortion statistics, from Tiller’s own comments, and froma 2006 investigation — suggesting that Tiller abused the state’s mental-health exemption to justify late-term abortions in almost any situation.
evidence is persuasive, but not dispositive. We may never know how many
of George Tiller’s abortions were performed on healthy mothers and
Because unless you tell Ross Douthat every detail of how and why and when and who, unless he knows EXACTLY how you got pregnant and what kind of problems you had, he can’t judge for himself whether your abortion was justified. And that’s what’s important to Ross Douthat: What HE thinks of you.
No, you sanctimonious garden weasel, the argument for available abortion services rests on the idea that in no universe in the world do I want someone who could write the above sentence to be in charge of telling my doctors what to do.
I like how, as usual, it’s either “no abortion at all” or “abortion at the McDonald’s Drive-Thru.” Nobody’s saying there can’t be rules. We are, however, saying that a) the reason we allow exceptions is that there are exceptions, dumbass and b) you and Rick Santorum do not get to decide what they constitute.
Which is what really pisses him off. Honestly, the whole thing is about how basically he doesn’t know, for sure, absolutely, that some patient of Dr. Tiller’s wasn’t some irresponsible slut. As if that’s the point.
And pity the poor pro-lifers, who apparently do not have access to the ballot box, or the judicial system, at all:
late-term abortions — Should there be a health exemption? A fetal
deformity exemption? How broad should those exemptions be? — is that
Americans aren’t permitted to debate anything else. Under current law,
if you want to restrict abortion, post-viability procedures are the
only kind you’re allowed to even regulate.
For … Oh, man. Once and for all, everybody not agreeing with you is not tyranny. People who want to outlaw abortion in every single case are as free as anyone else in this country to get their way. They just have to elect enough people to change the court to do it. That they can’t get the majority of Americans to see them as anything other than woman-hating busybodies is not the majority of Americans’ fault, nor does it constitute a flaw in the system. It constitutes them sucking and that’s all.
What Douthat is basically doing here is taking Megan McArdle’s point (people felt they had to shoot Dr. Tiller because the political process was closed to them, which means we should give in to their viewpoint, or at least not oppose them anymore!) and making it in a slightly more weaselly fashion: This is the only thing people are ALLOWED to talk about. By which Douthat means it’s the only thing HE feels free to talk about at parties that doesn’t get him a look like, “Would you let it go already, man?”
would change dramatically. Arguments about whether and how to restrict
abortions in the second trimester — as many advanced democracies
already do – would replace protests over the scope of third-trimester
Yes. More restrictions would end the debate entirely! Because then Ross and his fellow conservatives would have their way, and everything would be fine!