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New York Times columnist: Abortion ‘extremists’ are ‘deceived’ by ‘cruel ideology’

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NEW YORK, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York Times columnist called his pro-abortion friends, colleagues and readers “extremists” for using crisis pregnancies as an excuse “to build a grotesque legal regime” in which “the most vulnerable human beings” can be killed.

Ross Douthat reflected that although people who believe firmly in the right to an abortion share his cultural background -- and that he likes them -- he believes that they have been “deceived.”

“I try to listen to their arguments with the respect that the sincere and intelligent deserve,” he wrote. “But I also think that they are deceived by a cruel ideology that has licensed the killing of millions of innocents for almost 50 years.”

Douthat continued: “In the language that the respectable use to banish views without rebuttal, I regard them — friends and colleagues and faithful readers — as essentially extremists, for whom the distinctive and sometimes awful burdens that pregnancy imposes on women have become an excuse to build a grotesque legal regime in which the most vulnerable human beings can be vacuumed out or dismembered, killed for reasons of eugenics or convenience or any reason at all.”

Their extremism is “often blind” to the public’s real opinions on the abortion issue, Douthat said. It makes heroes out of advocates for abortion-on-demand, gives academic posts and honors to philosophers who support euthanasia and infanticide, and shrugs at the killing of the sick and the sad in Belgium, at the “near-eradication” of Down syndrome children in Iceland and at widespread sex-selective abortion in Asia.

“(It) increasingly accepts unblinking a world where human beings can be commodified and vivisected so long as they’re in embryonic form,” Douthat wrote.

The New York Times columnist was responding to two recent pro-abortion expressions. The first was that of Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, who wrote that she would have aborted her own children had they had Down syndrome. The second was pro-abortion glee that journalist Kevin Williamson had been fired by The Atlantic soon after being hired. Williamson’s erstwhile new employers had belatedly discovered that he once tweeted his opinion that women who procured abortions should be hanged. Williamson had also, more seriously, argued that abortion should be prosecuted the same way other homicides are prosecuted in America.

Douthat said these views, which are not shared by the pro-life movement, makes Williamson an extremist in his own right.

“From my own anti-abortion perspective, this opinion makes Williamson an extremist as well,” he wrote. “When American laws restricted abortion they generally did not impose such penalties, and today’s pro-life movement likewise generally rejects the idea of prosecuting women.”

The columnist then adroitly addressed a common sneer against the pro-life movement.

“This position often gets cast as inconsistent by pro-choicers, but I think it represents the incorporation by pro-lifers of the points that my pro-choice friends actually get right — that pregnancy is unique in ways that mitigate culpability and make it unwise to treat abortion like a normal homicide, that the government can only go so far in restriction without becoming a reproductive police state — without making the literally fatal mistake of believing these things also require a civil right to kill your unborn child,” Douthat wrote.

On the subject of the Williamson firing, Douthat is divided. On the one hand, he is “glad Williamson won’t be carrying the pro-life flag at The Atlantic, out of fear that his extremities could make the work of (pro-life) persuasion harder.”

On the other hand, Douthat believes that the firing is a “case study” in the problem of ideological purity tests shrinking the number of talented writers allowed to write in influential journals to a rarified few. This tendency is resulting in contemporary liberalism’s “inability … to see itself from the outside,” he wrote. Williamson’s pro-abortion critics are thus unable to see that his “extremism” mirrors their own.  

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