I want to blog a bit more about the Supreme Court's decision in Carhart, but, first, a bit of the politics. It is a repeated canard among those who favor unlimited abortion rights that pro-life folks somehow dehumanize women. I can't say that no one in the movement has ever done that, but this fails as a generalization. Despite repeated references to the abortio license as a "women's issue," public opinion polls repeatedly show no material difference in the propensity of men and women to be pro-life. The most effective thing, moreover, that the pro-life movement has ever done is the "think about it" campaign sponsored by the Veritas Foundation. The whole premise of the campaign is to appeal to the natural impulse of women to protect their children and to seek to empower them to make that choice.
The second most effective thing it has ever done is the campaign against partial birth abortion. The abortion lobby insists it is a misnomer and a canard. But the reason that the issue has had legs is that it is anything but a misnomer. The term "partial birth abortion" is a deadly accurate description of the procedure's reality and that reality is ugly.
Of course, abortionists can proceed quite efficiently (and, with a bit extra work, quite safely for the mother) without using this procedure. But the debate over partial birth abortion has humanized the unborn child in a way that may never be undone. The pro-abortion movement has claimed there is no significant difference between 1) extracting most of a child from the womb and sticking a scissors in his or head, and 2) "disarticulating" a child in the womb.