The "coat hanger" argument is one of the most emotionally compelling appeals of pro-abortionists, yet the whole line of reasoning collapses because of the single element deified by pro-choicers: choice.
"We're Afraid For Our Daughters," the headline read. The ad was hard to miss, filling an entire page of my local paper. "Could it really happen?" it continued. "Could our daughters be forced into back alleys and illegal abortions? We need your help. For our daughters, our wives, and our friends, please help keep abortion safe."
Listed in a line down the center of the page were the flowing, hand-written signatures of Cher, Ted Danson, John Denver, Betty Ford, and Cybill Shepherd.
It was a touching appeal. One could almost see Ted Danson's little girl being dragged by her ponytail kicking and screaming into a dark alley, or Cybill Shepherd's daughter gagged and strapped to a table while an unshaven dirt bag in coveralls readies a piece of bent wire.
Surely these children didn't choose this evil fate. It was forced upon them by short-sighted and callused moralists who took away the only option available to them, abortion on demand.
This "coat hanger" argument is one of the most emotionally compelling appeals of the abortionists. It's also among the most specious. It has little real substance and is dangerously misleading.
If we're merely talking about personal, elective surgery this objection is compelling. Why burden a woman with the additional risk of a dangerous, septic environment to have her operation?
When the life of a human child is involved, though, the picture changes dramatically. Should the law be faulted for making it riskier for anyone to kill another innocent human being? The fact that bank robbery is dangerous to the felon isn't a good reason to make grand larceny legal.
Ironically, the whole line of reasoning completely collapses when you consider the one element deified by pro-choicers: choice.
A woman has the right to choose to do whatever she wants with her own body, the argument goes. It's her business and nobody else's; it's her choice. If that's true, then she must take responsibility for those choices, even when they are self-destructive.
Yes, in the past some women chose dangerous, illegal abortions. People choose to do many foolish things when there are other reasonable alternatives available. That's just the point: People choose.
Sometimes they make bad choices, but the choice is still their own. There's no coercion. A woman is no more forced into the back alley when abortion is outlawed than a young man is forced to rob banks because the state won't put him on welfare. Both have other options.
I'd like to believe Betty Ford has raised her children with respect for the laws of the country her husband served. I'd like to think John Denver taught his kids enough down-home, common sense that they won't take the foolish route of a back-alley abortion. I hope Cher instills in her daughter the idea that when liberated adult women make their own decisions, they also must accept the consequences of their actions.
I believe in privacy, but privacy has its limits. I believe in choice, but choice has limits, too. Our right to privacy and our right to choose ends where harm to another individual begins. That's true with every law. Every piece of legislation violates privacy and restricts choice to some degree.
In a sense, I'm pro-choice for the woman. She can choose not to conceive. If she gets pregnant against her choice, she can choose to carry the child to term and then keep her baby. Or she can choose to give the child up for adoption so he will be loved and cared for. But she can't choose the quick way out of a difficult problem by taking the life of that little baby.
I'm pro-choice for the child, too. Cher, Ted, John, Betty, and Cybill, I'm not concerned for your daughters. They have a choice to make and if you trained your children well they'll make a sensible one. I'm concerned for your granddaughters. And your grandsons. They have no choice. And they're dying.