Everything New is Old Again


Ross Douthat, Bill Kristol’s replacement as one of the New York Times’ resident conservative columnists, is probably tired of the word “wunderkind” and phrases like “youngest op-ed columnist the paper had ever hired.”1  But he gets ’em both anyway in a profile by Mark Oppenheimer in the latest issue of Mother Jones. I guess it comes with the territory. In any case, here he takes a crack at explaining how he feels about abortion:

He began with the boilerplate position: “It would probably be a blanket ban on abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother.” He went on, however, to say such a ban would require “radical experimentation with the welfare state” and likely “a lot of new welfare agencies of one kind or another,” plus orphanages and an expanded “network of crisis pregnancy centers.” Nobody involved would go to jail, he said, as “it is possible to believe that abortion is murder and also believe it is a completely unique form of murder. Abortion would be, you know, if you have first-degree murder, second and third degree…it’s like seventh-degree murder or something.”

“But,” he quickly noted, “those things aren’t on the table.”

Actually, that’s not bad for a guy who’s pretty close to an abortion absolutist. “Seventh-degree murder” is about as good an excuse for not jailing abortionists as I’ve heard. I still don’t get the rape and incest exception, though. If it’s murder, why is it OK to murder children born of rape or incest?

Anyway, Ross has led an interesting life and Oppenheimer’s piece is a good read. Check it out.

1OK, I don’t actually know if he is. But if it were me, I would be.