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Slate Op-Ed: Abortion Is a 'Morally Neutral Health Care Option'

Pregnant African American woman holding her stomach in hospital

Back in the 1990s, the Democrat position on abortion — as described by then-president Bill Clinton — was that it should be “safe, legal, and rare.” It was a position that implied that, while certain circumstances might necessitate the termination of a pregnancy, abortion was not the ideal outcome for an unwanted pregnancy, nor was it something to be taken lightly. These days, progressive groups tell women to “shout your abortion” in an attempt to “normalize” abortion as simply another healthcare option available to women — a “reproductive right” to be made use of at the woman’s discretion, no questions asked. Now, in an article for Slate, writer and mother Rachel Klein suggests that parents should be telling their daughters that they will help them get abortions if they become pregnant.

Klein’s article is called “Why Won’t Parents Talk About Helping Their Daughters Get Abortions?” and it is a call for the complete normalization of abortion as a valid and even desirable method of contraception. Klein, it seems, has so completely bought into the “shout your abortion” mentality that she is legitimately confused as to why parents might not want to send their daughters the message that an abortion is a completely acceptable contraceptive option.

Klein rails against “laws and regulations” that “increasingly reflect an assumption that abortion is (only sometimes) a necessary evil, rather than a morally neutral health care option.” She can’t understand why her fellow “progressive, pro-choice” supporters still seem to see abortion as “a last resort—a horrible, traumatic event that must be avoided at all costs.” This, Klein wants us to know, is not what she is teaching her daughters.

This stance on abortion — that it is “morally neutral” — is the new frontier in pro-choice activism. But it isn’t necessarily the majority stance, even among those who believe abortion should be legal. Klein references a recent Gallup poll that found that attitudes toward abortion are evenly divided, with 48% of Americans identifying as pro-choice, and 48% identifying as pro-life. But — and this is what Klein can’t understand — only 29% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal “under any circumstances.” Why aren’t parents, Klein wants to know, aligning their “parenting with [their] politics”?

But, even within the pro-choice camp, it’s quite a big leap from “safe, legal, and rare” to “morally neutral.” So, while pro-choice activists may see no moral issue with abortion, the Gallup poll suggests that plenty of pro-choice supporters do. And, obviously, nearly half the country finds abortion to be so morally repugnant as to believe it should be outlawed. But, with groups like Planned Parenthood and Shout Your Abortion taking center stage in the media as the voices of the pro-choice movement, it’s no wonder that people like Klein have talked themselves into believing that there is no moral issue with abortion.