Friday, March 04, 2005

Dean on Abortion, Take Two

Remember when Howard Dean said that abortion was about right-wing politicians telling women what to do? Apparently, it’s ok for Democrats to be pro-life :
"I want to reach out to people who are worried about values," Dean said. "We are going to embrace pro-life Democrats because pro-life Democrats care about kids after they're born, not just before they're born."
I assume Dean wants to distinguish between pro-lifers who care about kids before and after birth and those who care about them only before birth; but even if we take this distinction at face value, why doesn’t Dean think that pro-life Democrats are telling women what to do, given that he thinks right-wing pro-lifers are telling women what to do? The pro-life position simpliciter is that abortion is morally impermissible and should be legally impermissible as well. If one thinks that this position is tantamount to telling women what to do, then it makes little difference whether that position is held by a Democrat or a Republican.

As for Dean’s implied distinction, it seems to suggest that pro-life Democrats hold a higher moral ground because they support social programs aimed at child welfare. But one can care about kids after they’re born without supporting such programs. Indeed, a lot of conservative pro-lifers do put up money to help children who might otherwise be aborted. More to the point, however, the claim that abortion is an unjustified act of killing is neither true nor false based on whether or not one supports social programs for children. Whether a child lives or dies is a more basic issue.

P.S. Note that Dean refers to the unborn as “kids.”

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