A Wrong Step in the Right Direction

by Kate Larson

According to an article I came across recently, the state of Arizona has just banned abortions performed because of a baby’s race or gender. While I rejoice at anything that could save lives, I fear this will not do so. In fact, I feel it will be ineffective on two fronts: that of doing what it is meant to and that of leading to a more comprehensive ban.

According to the article, the legislation will lead to criminal charges for doctors who are found to have performed abortions because of a baby’s race or gender. However, it will not explicitly require women seeking abortions to give their reasons. Therefore, how could it be proven that an abortion was performed on such grounds? Even if women were required to disclose their reasons, what would stop them from stating reasons other than the ones they know to be against the law? No reasons, other then medical ones, can really be verified. What’s more, a doctor’s intentions would be difficult to prove.

As for this legislation leading to a more comprehensive ban, it is unclear whether that is the intention. The article quotes a spokesperson for the governor saying that the legislation is “consistent with her pro-life track record” but also claims that the ban’s supporters feel it has more to do with racial bias than with abortion. I would hope that it would preface further anti-abortion legislation, but I cannot see how it could as it misses the main thrust of the pro-life position, which is that the pre-born child is a living human and, as such, should not be killed for any reason. It has inherent value, and, as with any other human being outside of the womb, its size, age, ability, or, indeed, gender or race do not decrease or increase its value. Banning only abortions performed because of gender or race implies that, while these reasons for aborting are not acceptable, other reasons are. Basing legislation on this false premise does not bode well for further legislation.

Despite this ban being, in my opinion, completely ineffective, it seems to be well-meaning. Both its good intentions and its wrong-headedness emphasize to me the need for pro-life groups, like uOSFL, to continue to engage future leaders with their information and events. The more people are given complete information and inspired to stand up for their convictions, the more good intentions may translate into appropriate and effective policy.

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