Feature

Abortion must be regulated to stay legal

“If we don’t suggest sensible balanced legislation and regulation of abortion,” our opponents will leave us with “no choices at all,” said Frances Kissling in The Washington Post.

Frances KisslingThe Washington Post

Abortion-rights supporters have to face facts, said Frances Kissling. Only 45 percent of Americans called themselves “pro-choice” in 2010, down from 56 percent in 1995. Meanwhile, “29 governors are solidly anti-abortion,” and the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives wants to further restrict abortion. “We’re not going to regain the ground we lost.”

It’s time we stop clinging to our old absolutist argument that “the state has no power over a woman’s body” and acknowledge that reproduction is a “private matter with public consequences.” Yes, a woman has a legal right to choose abortion. But “ending the life of a fetus is not a morally insignificant event,” and it’s simply “a fiction” to claim there’s no difference between an abortion at six weeks and one at 26 weeks.

In an age of routine sonograms, no fetus is “invisible,” so our views must evolve. We can start by “firmly and clearly” rejecting “post-viability abortions except in extreme cases,” with an aim to safeguarding women’s health and respecting fetal life. Because “if we don’t suggest sensible balanced legislation and regulation of abortion,” our opponents will leave us with “no choices at all.”

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