The way some people talk about it, you’d think abortion was about as serious as having one’s adenoids removed. That little piece of tissue is causing you some grief? Whack, slice: Problem solved.
In reality it’s not quite so simple. That embryo or fetus is not like some wayward mole or troublesome body part. It’s a living being unto itself, although a very small one and a very dependent one. Ending that life ought not to be as casual an affair as strolling into a tattoo parlor. There are permanent consequences for the mother — and that goes in spades for the child.
Whether America would permit women to decide for themselves whether to have abortions was decided momentously 30 years ago in the Roe v. Wade ruling. It is indeed a private choice, the prohibition of which would create an endless drain on public resources and turn countless women into criminals. The state, frankly, has better things to do with its time and money than to attempt enforcing such a ban.
But many things that are legal are also regulated, and so it should be with abortion. Consumers of this service, if you can call it that, have every right to be informed as to its longterm effects.
Indiana, among other states, has attempted to bring some balance to the matter by requiring that women be counseled face to face about the risks of the procedure (there are some) and that they be shown pictures of what the fetus might look like.
The abortion-on-demand crowd, predictably, objects. One can imagine that they especially chafe at that picture thing. Fetuses can look a lot like actual babies. They can look a lot like little tiny human beings. The abortion-on-demand crowd can't have that; it gets too close to the reality of what’s really going on here.
Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court decided this week that the Indiana law is perfectly fine. This is true even though it makes obtaining an abortion slightly harder, requiring that a woman make two visits to the death house instead of just one quick one.
The high court made no ruling on the matter; it just turned down an appeal from the Indiana abortion mills challenging the law.
Specific ruling or not, the point is clear: Abortion is indeed a private matter, and the law of the land allows it. But it is also a grave matter, one that shouldn’t be decided on some passing whim.