Michael Gerson, formerly President Bush’s speechwriter extraordinaire, is now a columnist for the Washington Post. Today, he focuses on Rudy Giuliani’s position on abortion, which Gerson describes as “a muddle.”
Giuliani says he hates abortion and considers it morally wrong, but nonetheless opposes legislation to outlaw the practice because he thinks the person carrying the baby has the right to make her own choice. Gerson considers this position “incoherent” because, by saying that he hates abortion, Giuliani is “implying his support for the Catholic belief that an innocent life is being taken.” And if an innocent life is being taken, then the need to ban the practice must trump the choice of the would-be mother.
Although I don’t agree with Giuliani’s position, neither do I find it inherently incoherent. One can regard the fetus in its early stages as close enough to an innocent human being for us to abhor its destruction, but not close enough for us to deny the would-be mother the freedom to terminate it.
I doubt, though, that Giuliani wishes to articulate this position — the perception of incoherence might be a better option. And Gerson is certainly correct that this issue “is likely to dog [Giuliani] in the primary process.”
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