Jonah Goldberg

Flip-flopping the other way (as George H.W. Bush, Mitt Romney and others did) may be no less cynical. To pro-choice voters, it’s surely offensive to watch someone sacrifice the individual liberty of women for political expediency. But, morally, it just doesn’t seem as bad to me.

Every day, the government restricts what you can do with your body, from the drugs you can take to the surgeries you can subject yourself to. In other words, the line of personal autonomy is often blurry and narrow. The line between life and death is supposed to be bright and wide. Once a politician takes a stand that a certain population — be they fetuses, blacks, Jews, the handicapped or anybody else — has the right to life, their motive for changing their minds should be a lot better than fear of losing support from NARAL and the New York Times.

And that gets me to my more philosophical or principled reason for being pro-life: I just don’t know. I confess that I lack passion about debates over RU-486, Plan B and other measures that terminate a pregnancy in the first few hours or days after conception, because that’s when I’m least sure that a life is at stake. But when it comes to, say, partial-birth abortion, I am adamantly pro-life. I don’t know if a fertilized egg has rights. But I am convinced that a baby minutes, days or weeks before full term is, simply, a baby. And despite what you constantly hear, Roe v. Wade doesn’t recognize that fact.

In death penalty cases, “reasonable doubt” goes to the accused because unless we’re certain, we must not risk an innocent’s life. This logic goes out the window when it comes to abortion, unless you are 100 percent sure that babies only become human beings after the umbilical cord is cut. I don’t see how you can be that sure, which is why I’m pro-life — not because I’m certain, but because I’m not.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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