Tag Archives: Janet Harris

Recent Op-Ed: Abortion Involves No Moral Debate

In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, Janet Harris takes issue with those who describe abortion as a “difficult decision.” Of the problems she associates with such language, she finds one to be especially troublesome:

It is a tacit acknowledgment that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue requiring an ethical debate. To say that deciding to have an abortion is a “hard choice” implies a debate about whether the fetus should live, thereby endowing it with a status of being. It puts the focus on the fetus rather than the woman. As a result, the question “What kind of future would the woman have as a result of an unwanted pregnancy?” gets sacrificed. By implying that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue, pro-choice advocates forfeit control of the discussion to anti-choice conservatives.

Contrary to numerous movies and “very special” television episodes portraying abortion as an agonizing, complex decision (“Obvious Child” notwithstanding), for many it is a simple choice and often the only practical option.

What to say in response?