Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Will Saletan and Bill Napoli: more in common than they'd like to admit

The more I think about South Dakotan politician Bill Napoli's contribution to the abortion "debate," the angrier I get. How can someone presume to decide for half of the population what would be traumatic enough for them to be given the option of aborting a pregnancy? Napoli describes a terrible, terrible situation in frightening detail, and I'd support this fictional woman ("girl") if abortion were the option she chose. What Napoli is saying, in effect, is that you can get raped all you want, but if you have sex on purpose, you'd better watch out.

It reminds me of Will Salentan's insistence that what the pro-choice movement needs is to make women feel more ashamed for having an abortion, that a woman has to suffer to be allowed to make her own choice instead of the one many would make for her.

Saletan's latest piece on abortion in Slate shows just how detached he is from the reality of this debate - after debating for several days with Katha Politt about what the pro-choice movement needs for a friendlier reception, he still doesn't have any clue how much more the reproductive freedom side has done for preventing abortions. You mean we should encourage people to use birth control? Good idea. Hadn't thought of that before.

The arguments from these two men are, at base, equally insulting. Napoli makes a more grotesque spectacle of what he thinks of women deciding on their own that they can't continue a pregnancy, but Saletan has the same basic problem: not trusting women to take abortion seriously. Neither has taken the small amount of time it would take to notice that feminists do not treat abortion lightly. Either that, or they simply refuse to believe it.
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