Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Over to Crooked Timber there is a post on abortion that makes the point that banning certain kinds of abortions takes the moral choice out of a woman's hands and is a sign that many don't trust women to  make the correct moral choice because of women's well know penchant for making frivolous decisions to have abortions. There are, as of right now, around 600 comments most of them are titanically silly. Many of the comments try to link the idea of trust to other laws about, say, drunk driving. Leaving aside the fact that we know that there are, right this second, tens of thousands of drunks driving cars and we don't know of any similar number of women having frivolous abortions. Indeed, we might know of a number approaching zero.

Ask your self if society has undertaken to ban drunk driving in similar fashion. Sure, in the recent past police have cracked down on drunk driving and the limits for blood alcohol have declined. But still all the necessary ingredients for drunk driving are readily available. Alcohol we can but everywhere, including gas stations and drive through liquor stores. In Missouri I once watched a guy walk into the gas station pay for his gas and buy a cherry coke and an airplane bottle of vodka, chug some of the cherry coke, dump the vodka in and clamber into his car and drive off.

If we took banning drunk driving, a real problem, as seriously as banning those (fictive) frivolous abortions because they bother some subset of our fellow citizens we would offer our fellow citizens the choice between owning a car and having a drink. In this scenario, once you buy a car you are forbidden to buy any alcohol ever and even forbidden to have alcohol in the home situation. If you don't own a car but rent any vehicle for the period of its rental you are forbidden buying alcohol.

There are, obviously, a number of positive outcomes here. More people would use public transportation, bicycles, or shanks mare to get from point a to point b. This would result in an increase in spending on mass transit within and between cities. Trains, trolley cars, and related etc would become the preferred modes of transportation, with car rentals filling the lacuna. Fewer people would move miles from where they work and, consequently, the downtowns of a many cities would blossom.  Freed from the onerous cost of vehicle ownership, people would have more money to spend on fun things, like alcohol and food. The world in general would be a better place.

Yet for some reason we trust motorists, a deranged and dangerous lot, to make the right choice and not drive drunk. Why  then can we not extend to our fellow citizens, who are women, the same right to chose and only punish those cases were the abortion is properly deemed frivolous. Could it be that we don't trust women?

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