Up-Tight Over Abortion
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by Richard Hall

[This letter appeared in The Weekly Standard on February 2, 1998]

William Kristol seems to be uptight and strung-out over the abortion issue ("Roe Must Go", Jan. 19). Granted, this is an important and highly charged problem, but to describe it as "central" is a little much. And then to charge the visibly inept Republican party with the task of remedying an almost insoluble dilemma is something beyond optimistic.

The abortion controversy seems to revolve around one question: When does a fertilized egg become a human being with a soul? Many in the clergy are certain that conception is the moment, but many other respected and reputable persons would disagree. Answer? We poor mortals just don't know, and our chances of finding out are nil. Therefore, any hard-line legislative or judicial "solution" is doomed to failure.

A strict pro-life position which apparently Kristol expects the GOP to enact, will collapse of its own weight just as soon as the abortion equivalent of "bathtub gin" gets in full distribution. We will then have more laws that can't be enforced and more government that doesn't work.

Likewise, a world of unrestricted abortions (including partial-birth) is totally unacceptable in a moral society and will fail. While I cannot agree that it is solely a GOP responsibility to solve this dilemma and that if they fail "there will be no conservative future," it is certainly an "issue of profound moral, political, and constitutional importance." But until the propagandists on both sides of the debate decide to bend and agree on some middle ground, the struggle will remain. Until then, I'll stick with saying this: "Personally, I'm pro-life, but I cannot accept the government telling me (and you) that you MUST be pro-life -- therefore, politically, I'm pro-choice."


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