A. Barton Hinkle on How the Abortion Debate Skewers Political Pieties


In addition to terminating pregnancies, abortion can inflict considerable collateral damage—principally, by puncturing the smug pieties of contemporary liberalism.

Consider, as Exhibit A, Rosemary Codding. According to a sympathetic piece in The Washington Post, Codding has "tried for months" to "scrape together" enough money for a "costly renovation" of her Falls Church abortion clinic—and she is still short by nearly $1 million. Wherever shall the money come from? Gail France is frustrated as well. "I don't understand or begin to see how this serves any purpose," gripes the owner of another abortion clinic in Northern Virginia.

Like Codding, Frances resents new regulations the state has imposed on her business that govern everything from hallway widths to parking spaces. So does a coalition of women's advocates, which blasted Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli—"and their right-wing partners"—all of whom will "stop at nothing in their crusade to take away the rights of Virginia women."

This is not, writes A. Barton Hinkle, the standard progressive posture regarding the regulation of business. To the contrary: When any other industry is being discussed, most liberals believe the correct level of regulation, always, is: more.