Abortion and Moral Judgment

LeoCasey at aol.com LeoCasey at aol.com
Thu Aug 10 22:47:22 MDT 1995

If we want to have a serious discussion of a woman's right to choose, then it
is necessary to move beyond an obsession with what Jim, in his
characteristically truculent and offensive fashion, said.

The choice a woman makes when faced with a pregnancy she does not want and
may not be able to handle involves moral dimensions. Even if we accept your
formulation, that the right to choose an abortion is "a perfectly whimsical
right, like trimming one's fingernails," this clearly involves a moral
judgment on the status of the fetus -- that it has no more relationship to
human life than a fingernail.

In the many years that I have done my best to be supportive of friends and
teenage, inner city students who have had to exercise the right to choose, I
have never met one who has not agonized over her decision, and not struggled
with the moral dimensions of her choice. I dare say that most of them would
even be offended at the suggestion that their choice to have an abortion,
when they did so, was taken with the thought that one would give to trimming

Again, my point is that one of the strongest arguments for a woman's right to
choose is who should be making such moral choices. My life experience tells
me that having the state or having the state and certain male authorities
(the 'father') make the decision is one way to guarantee that is made rather
poorly. The woman herself, who has to bear the consequences of the choice no
matter what it is, clearly has the right and the best capacity to make the
choice, with all of its moral dimensions.

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