Giuliani, Abortion, and Morality

To amplify on yesterday's post, Rudy Giuliani likes to say that he "hates" abortion, he thinks it is immoral, and he would always recommend pregnant women consider adoption instead. His political position, however, is that abortion is a matter of private choice for each woman.

Rudy is not the only one with this kind of logic. Think through it, though, and it makes no sense. We do not think this way in other life-related matters. If Rudy said "I hate murder, it's immoral, I always recommend people find other ways to resolve their differences, but ultimately it's up to each potential murderer to decide," we would all think he was insane.

Moral questions can never be "private" because they always affect other people. Even if you assume a fetus is not truly alive, what about the father's rights? Why must he be ignored? There are also potential grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles? Don't we all have a stake in each other's existence?

Abraham Lincoln had a different attitude. Suppose he had said "I hate slavery, I think slavery is immoral, but ultimately it is up to each slaveowner to decide whether to free his slaves or not." This was the position taken by many politicians of the time.

Fortunately for black Americans, Lincoln disagreed. He said "I hate slavery, slavery is immoral, and I'm going to do something about it." With the 13th Amendment, he set out to impose his morality on the rest of the country. We are a better nation because of it.

If you think there is nothing immoral about abortion, then you have at least taken a logically consistent position in opposing legal restrictions on it. To say, as Giuliani does, that abortion is immoral but that neither federal nor state governments should do anything about it, makes no sense at all. It reveals an intellectual schizophrenia that leaves one morally confused, at best.

We've had enough morally confused people in the White House. Presidents make moral decisions for other people all the time. We need someone who can think clearly when doing so.

Another view

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