Mona Charen

But, in any case, agony is irrelevant. If, before robbing a bank, the thief agonizes about the act, does that make the decision a moral one? Is it a "very personal choice" whether to libel someone? Shall we say that making insider trading illegal compromises people's "moral autonomy"? These terms are designed to obscure the issue rather than clarify it.

Though the pro-life position continues to be characterized by the press as marginal, it has in fact become the majority view. A 2009 Gallup poll found that 51 percent of Americans described themselves as "pro-life" versus 45 percent saying they are "pro-choice." This year's poll saw some narrowing, but with the pro-life position still outnumbering pro-choice. Only 38 percent of respondents said abortion was "morally acceptable." The poll also found that young people, ages 18 to 29, were much more likely to say that they oppose abortion in all circumstances today than a decade ago (one in four, versus one in seven). National Abortion Rights Action League president Nancy Keenan has noticed this collapse of support among the young, even referring to herself and her contemporaries as the "postmenopausal militia."

Partisans among the press, meanwhile, continue their rear guard actions, making themselves ridiculous with semantic gymnastics. It is not abortion, it's "reproductive choice" or "abortion rights." The New York Times consistently skirts the term "partial birth abortion" as in this story about Sen. Blanche Lincoln: "... Even Emily's List ... joined the pile-on last week, reminding followers that it stopped supporting Mrs. Lincoln ... after she voted to ban a form of late-term abortion in 1999." A form.

For decades, feminists have argued that the unfettered discretion to harm their unborn children was the foundational women's "right." The law has changed little in that time, but the psychological shift has been significant. The number of annual abortions has been steadily declining since 1981, and polls suggest that people see through such cynical manipulations as calling abortion "choice."

By provoking their ire, Palin reminds us of the shallowness of the "pro-choice" case.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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