Patrick McIlerhan's column in today's Journal Sentinel is given over to a celebration of Wisconsin's falling abortion rates--"a real success story," according to WRTL's Barbara Lyons.
Forgive me if I'm not as eager to dance in the streets.
Certainly, fewer abortions is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. However, it's important to keep in mind that in the phrase "legal abortion," it's the legal part that's critical.
It's the legal part that enables those whose most sacred duty is to preserve life to instead violently strip it from the most helpless among us--with the full blessing and approval of our government.
If abortion is murder, then legal abortion is government-sanctioned murder. I shouldn't have to say which is worse.
While a lower abortion rate is a positive social development, in terms of the abortion debate it is an insidious trap for the pro-life movement. If we allow ourselves to be diverted into making the abortion issue simply a question of reducing the number of abortions (rather than the nature of abortion itself) we are forced almost by default into conceding the intolerable core of the pro-choice argument--that abortion, the killing of the unborn, should remain legal.
By all means, work to reduce the number of abortions, and take pride in the results thus attained. But this aspect of the abortion issue must be kept in proper perspective. If the pro-life movement allows itself to be distracted from the key issue--securing legal protection for the lives of the unborn--then we are doing nothing more than playing into the pro-choice movement's hands.
We can ill afford such a blunder.