POSTED BY on 8:38 AM under
Evangelical Randy Alcorn, author of Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Questions (and many other books), debates NARAL Virginia's executive director, Ann O'Hanlon, on the Mark Levine Radio Show.

Get the Debate: (mp3)

I listened to this and there are a few things worth noting:
  1. Every caller was pro-legalized abortion. What...they don't have someone to screen calls?!?
  2. O'Hanlon is either demonstrably ignorant of or lying about the state of abortion law. Either way, it's a fairly embarrassing situation for the Executive Director of NARAL Virginia. Examples:
    1. Roe v. Wade had nothing to do with "viability" - it discussed trimesters. Viability didn't come into the picture (not that it matters - see next point) until Planned Parenthood v. Casey, some 30 years later. Saying that Roe v. Wade let states ban abortions on "viable" babies is simply legally wrong (on a couple of counts).
    2. Doe v. Bolton, which the SCOTUS published on the same day as Roe, included a "life and health" exception mandatory for any purported abortion regulation. Health in this context is then required to be interpreted broadly, including "mental health" -- which would be severely impacted if you were forced to keep a child you don't want. In other words, the simple fact that you don't want to obey the regulation is sufficient for you not to have to. In legal parlance, one would say that this exception swallows the rule. The state CANNOT ban even the latest term abortions in any meaningful way, according to current precedent.
    3. Partial Birth Abortions are NOT banned. In Gonzales v. Carhart, Justice Kennedy was explicitly clear that you can still do the procedure legally, you just have to kill the child before the partial birth abortion starts. His objection seems to be that the manner of killing was too icky -- kill the child, fine, but do it where we can't see it squirm. ("As we have noted, the Act does not proscribe D&E....In addition the Act’s prohibition only applies to the delivery of “a living fetus.” If the intact D&E procedure is truly necessary in some circumstances, it appears likely an injection that kills the fetus is an alternative under the Act that allows the doctor to [subsequently] perform the procedure.")
  3. O'Hanlon doesn't really make an argument beyond saying that this is a private, personal and intimate decision. She never addresses the question of human worth or why fetal humans don't deserve legal protection.
  4. Alcorn has no moral problem with giving everyone artificial contraception, provided it's not shown to be an abortifacient. In that respect, he's a bit different than Catholics.

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