The Times‘ new affirmative-action conservative Op-ed columnist Ross Douthat is no Bill “Lightning Rod Conservative” Kristol, but he is kind of a wink-nudge logical-chain-of-thoughts smarmball.
In today’s column, he uses the assassination of Kansas abortionist George Tiller as a convenient “hook” (that’s the word we use, in journalism), to talk about why late-term abortions, like the ones Tiller did, are icky. So icky, in fact, that maybe we should vote on them — what, surely you’re not against “conversation” (that’s what voting is called, in a democracy), are you? And then he concludes:
If anything, by enshrining a near-absolute right to abortion in the Constitution, the pro-choice side has ensured that the hard cases are more controversial than they otherwise would be… If abortion were returned to the democratic process, this landscape would change dramatically. Arguments about whether and how to restrict abortions in the second trimester — as many advanced democracies already do — would replace protests over the scope of third-trimester medical exemptions. The result would be laws with more respect for human life, a culture less inflamed by a small number of tragic cases — and a political debate, God willing, unmarred by crimes like George Tiller’s murder.
Oh, right. If only the Supreme Court hadn’t ruled that women have the right to have access to medical procedures, regardless of public opinion. Then American voters would have been able to vote on the legality of the procedure, and that way they wouldn’t have had to have murdered George Tiller.