I’ve long had mixed feelings about abortion. I find it inherently gruesome, and the more developed the fetus, the more it becomes genuinely grotesque. Recent accounts (like the one of a technician sticking scissors under the chin of a developed fetal boy and then snipping through his entire face to extract the brain) give me the creeps, and remind me of Josef Mengele’s medical experiments. Maybe I’m a bleeding heart, but I wouldn’t want people to do that to a fetal puppy.

Still, I have a huge problem with the state forcing any woman to bring a fetus to term, and I do not think it is right to imprison women for having abortions, as long as they don’t wait too long. At a certain point (and I am not sure exactly when that would be), there is a semi-human being in there, who, though unborn, does have a vested right that should be respected. At minimum, that being should have the same rights we would grant to an animal. This would include the right not to be treated cruelly. If cruelty to animals is not to be tolerated, then neither should cruelty to fetuses. Yet merely expressing that thought would inflame passions of abortion rights activists who maintain that even developed fetuses cannot feel the same pain which most of us agree an animal could feel. This inconsistency arises from the political arena, and typifies the activist view that conceding any point means a betrayal of “principles.”

Many of these same activists (who think it is a woman’s right to mutilate her developed fetus without anesthesia — a right grounded in privacy), would never allow the same woman to sell sex for money, pose for pornographic photos or films, or ingest recreational drugs. That strikes me as a wildly inconsistent view of privacy. If the government is to be kept out of women’s (and presumably men’s) bodies in the name of privacy, why is the theory limited to abortion?

Of course, the thinking of your garden variety abortion rights activist is most likely not oriented towards restraining the government, but expanding it. The right to an abortion no longer means the state can’t imprison people for it; the right now means a right to have everyone else pay for it. Excuse me, but doesn’t that mean the government is now involved? By the same logic, drug legalization (a right to take drugs) would ultimately mean the government has to give everyone whatever drugs they want.

Anti-abortion people like to say that “we” are all “guilty” of “murdering” umpteen million babies. I have always maintained that I am not guilty of what someone else does, and that each woman is responsible for her own decisions. I don’t believe in collective guilt. But if everyone pays, does my argument hold water? That’s the problem with socialized medicine. At the rate things are going, I’ll soon be told that “we” are all responsible for everyone else’s obesity.

How do I opt out?