14 Pages

The Abortion Debate

WithRalph Β. Potter

The right wing of the spectrum is defended most relentlessly in public debate by Roman Catholic spokesmen. The nub of the right-wing argument, as presented to contemporary Americans, is simple and stark: the condoning of widespread resort to abortion would undermine civilization. Both the left and the right wings of the abortion spectrum would like to enjoy a reputation as guardians of the life and health of mothers. A considerable body of literature deals with the psychiatric effects of abortion. Abortion is a symbolic threat to an entire system of thought and meaning. Christians frequently are delighted to take credit for instilling into the Western tradition a deep abhorrence of abortion. The Christian commentator is goaded by a moral abhorrence of abortion derived from the charitable lesson of the Gospel. In that category, antiabortion legislation maintains a perennially perilous existence in company with laws against drug addiction, homosexuality, prostitution, and gambling.