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Winters of NCR v. Harris of WaPo

In Monday's National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters reacts rather hysterically to the Outlook Piece by Janet Harris of Emily's List on her experience of abortion as a young coed. You can read MSW's piece at with Ms. Harris at Read one or both as you wish - I recommend you do and then read my reaction.

First, let us deal with a matter of terminology. Until the 13th week, the life in the womb is an embryo, not a fetus (or, little man). At that stage of pregnancy, the humanity of that life is easy to ignore, especially if the pregnancy is light on nausea.

Second, if Ms. Harris had been aware of the humanity of the child, she would not simply or blithely ended its life. The reason it was so easy to do so is that she did not consider it to be anything but a pro-being - one that might become a child but has not yet. Anyone who has read much biology of pregnancy (we got a great coffee table book when we were expecting Catie), knows this is not the case, but if one does not really suspect it, then the philosphical term is not Evil, it is invincible ignorance. For most young people, manl or female, invincible ignorance is something of a constant state. Any Swiftian suggestion that young people would kill to get ahead generally is, using the terminology of the young, bogus. What makes Operation Rescue so successful is that it puts that information out there, making the ignorance vincible.

Third, from the economic point of view, Ms. Harris has a point - until society organizes itself to allow these young people - and their partners - to finish their educations and care for the child at the same time (not to fuel the adoption needs of infertile Catholics with white babies), the pregnancy will be seen as a tragedy rather than the hope of new life - and the Right to Life Movement seem wholly impervious to that need - but in this case the ignorance is vincible.

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