Please, people, can we show even the slightest forbearance toward each other, the slightest understanding of each other, and even the slightest nod toward moderation when it comes to abortion? Please?
Two items in recent news serve as the latest examples whereby too many people lose all sense of proportion and decency, and perhaps even lose their minds, when abortion is involved. On one side, Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., is cutting all state ties with Walgreens — at what cost financially and at what possible loss of service in some areas of the state, nobody seems to know — because the pharmacy giant won’t dispense an abortion drug in certain states. On the other side, 16 — repeat, not just one numbskull, but 16! — members of the South Carolina legislature are sponsoring a bill that could subject women to the death penalty for procuring abortions.
On the second proposal, words fail. The bill is a monstrosity, wrapped in grotesqueness, inside an atrocity. It amounts to formal logic taken to extremes without regard to real-world considerations or human decency. Yes, pro-lifers, myself included, believe that a child in the womb is a human being who merits significant legal protections. That belief does not, however, excuse willful blindness to the fact that the child is fully dependent on the mother and that the mother, herself being human, may hold different beliefs, may be scared and confused, may be emotionally vulnerable, and may be feeling all sorts of conflicting pressures.
For decades, the position of the vast bulk of the pro-life movement has been that those factors excuse the mother from the formal logic equating the procurer of an abortion with the person who hires a hit man. Essential sympathy for the human condition demands that in terms of legal consequences for abortions, the mother herself gets a pass. For 16 elected officials to insist otherwise is a massive failure of human compassion. And for them to leave open at least nominally the possibility of putting the woman to death … well, that’s not just inhumane, it’s inhuman. Indeed, it’s demented.
On the other hand, the radicalism on the Left, which goes far beyond Newsom’s latest move, is at least as bad. When every Democrat but one in the U.S. House votes against requiring medical care for a baby who survives an attempted abortion — thus literally, by every textbook definition, condoning willfully negligent homicide or murder — the hard Left’s obsessive embrace of infanticide has become a metastasizing cancer. Only in comparison with that abomination does what Newsom did look less than unhinged.
At issue is the abortion drug mifepristone. A number of states make it illegal, and attorneys general in other states are subjecting it to significant legal challenges. Walgreens, quite reasonably, doesn’t want to break state laws, nor does it want to bear the burden of a legal battle in states where those battles are raging. Therefore it has suspended sales of the drug in those 20 states, including Louisiana, where its legality is in dispute while continuing to provide it in states such as California, where it remains legal.
That’s just basic fiduciary responsibility to shareholders: Why should Walgreens pay for other people’s fights, much less actually break the law? When the court cases are over, Walgreens can then resume, or not resume, selling mifepristone as state laws allow.
For Newsom, that’s not enough. He wants to bully everybody into taking up his pro-abortion crusade. He said he is ordering the California state government to boycott Walgreens and “any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”
Why is this even Newsom’s fight? Why should he punish Walgreens for what it doesn’t sell in, say, Iowa, when Walgreens still does sell it in California? Is he so eager to be seen as the avenging angel in favor of baby deaths that he wants to conscript everybody else, even against other states’ laws, to aid his deadly cause?
Enough is too much. On both sides. Abortion is a matter so fraught with conflicting emotions, conflicting values and beliefs, and still even conflicting “science” that there’s no way a pluralistic society will ever reach a perfect consensus on it. For the foreseeable future, there will be plenty of facets of abortion policy to argue about, battle politically about, and maybe prayerfully compromise over. In that light, shouldn’t we all at least renounce the absolute extremes?
And, in recognition of human fallibility, on a topic so fraught, can’t we make even the slightest space for human feeling?
New Orleans native Quin Hillyer is a senior commentary writer and editor for the Washington Examiner, working from the Gulf Coast. This column originally appeared in the Examiner. He can be reached at Qhillyer@WashingtonExaminer.com. His other columns appear at www.washingtonexaminer.com/author/quin-hillyer.
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