Liberal Hollywood and Abortion

Conservatives love to attack Hollywood despite turning to film stars for many of their top leaders. While there’s no doubt there are aspects of Hollywood deserving of mocking (as I’ve often done here) or worse, it also often seems that Hollywood is guilty in conservative eyes regardless of what they do. This attitude is seen in an article in The Times of London by Gerard Baker on unwanted pregnancies.

Baker’s complaint is that characters on television and movies rarely turn to abortion. He even gives the erroneous impression that television and movie characters never have abortions. If in contrast abortion was being shown in movies I presume he’d also be critical. You would think that conservatives would applaud such avoidance of displaying abortion as desirable, but instead they use it to make some specious attacks on defenders of choice.

Supporters of abortion rights defend this right not out of any great love of abortion but out of the belief that in this highly personal and morally ambiguous situation the decision must be left to the woman involved and not the state. Baker misrepresents the position by claiming supporters of abortions rights believe “abortion presents no deep moral problem because it does not represent the taking of a human life.” Instead he claims those who are pro-choice believe abortion is merely the “disposal of an unwanted clump of cells.”

Abortion is far more complex than opponents such as Baker would make it appear. Human development is a continuum–not a choice of “a clump of cells” or a fully developed human. The ethical issues also are more ambiguous than simply declaring abortion to be murder.

Even many opponents of abortion rights recognize this ambiguity without acknowledging it. Many who would make abortion illegal would allow for abortions in cases such as the health of the mother, rape or incest. It is hard to see this justification if murder is really the equivalent of murder. For example, this would allow for “murder” because we do not approve of the father and means of conception in cases of incest and rape.

For the supporter of abortion rights there is no dilemma to allow a woman the choice of an abortion in these cases, but this represents a contradiction for the opponents of abortion rights. In reality, many people on both sides of this issue recognize that abortion is different from murder and that there are situations in which it is justified and should be legal. The difference is that opponents of choice allow the state to make the decision (often based upon religious views, ignoring our heritage of separation of church and state), while those who are pro-choice leave the decision with the individual most affected by the pregnancy.

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  1. 1
    sharon says:

    You’re just flat out wrong in your depiction of the pro-abortion crowd. Go spend some time at Pandagon and you’ll discover people who will say having an abortion is no different from having an appendectomy. Go to Echidne of the Snakes and you’ll have commenters tell you that the baby is a “clump of cells” and that they think abortion should be legal till birth.

    The reason there’s a moral dilemma for pro-lifers is that we recognize there are times (when a mother’s life is in jeopardy) when abortion is regrettable but possibly necessary (some people disagree with this). The problem is that we recognize that killing a baby for the convenience of the mother is evil, and that society shouldn’t condone such acts. In short, we say it isn’t just between a “woman and her doctor,” but about whether society accepts the idea of killing people for convenience.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    “You’re just flat out wrong in your depiction of the pro-abortion crowd…”

    You are probably partially right–I’m sure you could find any view expressed in the blogosphere. That does not mean that such views represent the consensus of belief on a subject.

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