chapter
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.