Ross Douthat: Drop Abortion Rights and Your Doctors Will Be Allowed to Live


The first line of promoted blogger Ross Douthat‘s latest column for the Times: “The case of Dr. George Tiller, murdered just over a week ago in the lobby of his church, helps explain why so many people believe that abortion should be available at any stage of pregnancy.” He goes on to say that many of Tiller’s late-term patients were indeed in difficult straits, and that “Tiller thought he was doing the Lord’s work.” Nonetheless, “his critics were convinced that he performed them not only in truly desperate situations, but in many other cases as well.” And what do you know — Douthat thinks so too, based on evidence such as “a 2006 investigation — suggesting that Tiller abused the state’s mental-health exemption to justify late-term abortions in almost any situation.”

Tiller was cleared of these charges in court, but no matter: “If anything,” reasons Douthat, “by enshrining a near-absolute right to abortion in the Constitution, the pro-choice side has ensured that the hard cases are more controversial than they otherwise would be.” And controversy causes killing, so we must end it — preferably, in his view, by overturning Roe v. Wade and returning abortion to the “democratic process,” by which abortion may be allowed or made a hanging offense depending on the jurisdiction.

“The result,” concludes Douthat, “would be laws with more respect for human life, a culture less inflamed by a small number of tragic cases — and a political debate, God willing, unmarred by crimes like George Tiller’s murder.” So, see, Douthat gets the end of abortion on demand, and you heathens get killed less often by rightwing nuts; he’s meeting you halfway. Somewhere Bill Kristol is saying to himself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”