Kathryn Lopez

"I think it's without question that pregnancy to a woman can completely disrupt her life."

In 1971, Sarah Weddington argued in front of the Supreme Court that pregnancy is a burden women ought to have the legal option to be freed from. In New York City today, the most recent numbers available show that two in five pregnancies end in abortion; the rate is 60 percent if the child in the womb happens to be black. Statewide they are lower, but still execrably high. In the midst of this abysmal culture of death, Weddington recently joined the Empire State's governor in insisting that abortion access be expanded there.

Which leads to a question -- do we, as a culture and as people, actually prefer abortion? Has the rhetoric shifted from "safe, legal and rare" to "safe, legal and frequent ... even expected"?

That sounds quite miserable. If we don't actively prefer abortion, it seems that we too often have come to accept that abortion is a necessary problem-solver, whatever the cost. We've come to ignore or simply erase life and its inherent dignity, its potential and endless possibilities for redemption.

Americans have deep empathy for a woman who finds herself in a difficult situation, and they want to know that she'll be safe. And so stories like the recent one in El Salvador, where a woman sought an abortion and wound up instead giving birth to a child who could not survive on her own, or the tragic tale of Savita Halappanavar, the Indian woman who died in Ireland, get international attention. Savita, it was claimed, died because she could not obtain an abortion. In truth, the investigation made clear, she died of an infection, and not because an abortion was not performed on her.

This verdict did not receive as much press as her death did, of course. All too often, we form opinions without knowing the facts of the matter.

What is never made clear is that being pro-life does not mean that a woman loses her right to life. It is an abortion regime that insists that there are not two patients in the equation: the mother and the unborn child.

In arguing for what would become the right to legal abortion, Weddington went on to say: "If the pregnancy would result in the birth of a deformed or defective child, she has no relief. Regardless of the circumstances of conception, whether it was because of rape, incest, whether she is extremely immature, she has no relief."


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.