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A View from the Altar / Todd Akin… oh, why didn’t he just shut up?
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Todd Akin… oh, why didn’t he just shut up?

The Republican senatorial candidate from Missouri, Todd Akin, shot his mouth off concerning rape and abortion, and of course the left is loving it more than the right loves a Biden moment.  And it’s too bad that conservatives have to defeat the media in order to win anything, but then life isn’t fair.

What Akin should have said was that hard cases make bad law.  We’re looking at things all wrong when we try to decide public policy on abortion based on whether pregnancies result from rape.  They do, and that’s a grievous fact, but aside from the justifiably intense emotions, it tells us nothing about what’s really at stake in an act of abortion.

Mr. Akin would have been much better served to stick to the issue of principle and refuse to get off it.  The first principle of taking any sort of action is to know what you’re dealing with.  That’s true whether you’re dealing with simple zoning laws or something as morally heavy as abortion.

They key issue, then, is this: What is a pregnant woman carrying in her womb?

If it’s not a human being, then Mr. Akin should have said there are no legitimate reasons for government to restrict access to abortion for any reason or for no reason at all.

But if what’s in the womb is a human being, then Mr. Akin should have asked the next question: When, if ever, is it permissible to take a human life?  The answer to that question, we dearly wish Mr. Akin had said, will tell you what you should do about abortion policy before you ever bring the hardest cases before our consideration.

To borrow the popular cliche, it’s that simple and that hard.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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