"Right to Choose" vs "Right to Abortion" (Re Casey)

Carrol Cox cbcox at rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Fri Aug 11 09:38:01 MDT 1995


    Leo Casey's Aug. 11 posting on the abortion question begins, "If we want to
have a serious discussion of a woman's right to choose . . . ." I do not want a
serious or any other discussion of a "woman's right to choose"; I am only
interested in (a) a woman's right to have an abortion without outside pressure
of any sort and (b) the political strategy and tactics by which that right is
achieved, confirmed, and expanded.

    The rhetoric of "choice" is acceptable, perhaps, as an agitational tactic:
it appeals to the prevailing ideologies of individualism. But it also appeals
to that nearly primary bourgeois illusion that "choice" or the exercise of
"choice" is somehow a good in itself. That is the primary theme of the first
great poetic expression of bourgeois freedom, Milton's *Paradise Lost*;
according to Milton, "Reason was but choosing." Choice for Choice's sake; we
affirmed or realized our humanity through the process of choice.

    *Paradise Lost* and *Paradise Regained* are the poems which I personally
admire most; nevertheless, the metaphysic of choice is pure bull shit. I'm only
interested in discussing it as an expression of bourgeois ideology.
        Carrol Cox


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