Abortion and Informed Common Sense

by Max J. Skidmore


The controversy over a woman’s “right to choose,” as opposed to the numerous “rights” that abortion opponents decide should be assumed to exist for “unborn children,” has always struck me as incomplete.  Two missing elements of the argument seems obvious, yet they remain almost completely overlooked.

The first is that there is virtually no consideration whatever of the pregnant person, herself. Her rights, if she even is assumed to have any at all, do not in any way enter into consideration, unless possibly if the pregnancy appears to threaten her life (to be sure, some more humane anti-abortionists do concede, often grudgingly, that no one should have to carry to term a pregnancy caused by rape, but the point remains).

Second, and most paradoxically, opponents of abortion appear also generally to be opposed to “big government,” yet all the while they refuse to recognize any rights at all that belong to the person who is pregnant, and to be comfortable with complete control over her. The opponents seem oblivious to the clear fact that stripping pregnant adults of all ability to determine their future requires enormously powerful, virtually totalitarian, government.

Max J. Skidmore, the author of dozens of books and scores of articles and book chapters, specializes in American politics and social legislation. He has been Distinguished Fulbright Lecturer in India, and Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Hong Kong. He has held management positions in American government, and has been liberal arts dean at universities in the American Southwest, and in the Midwest. He was the founding editor of the international journal Poverty and Public Policy (sponsored by the Policy Studies Organization) and was its editor-in-chief for a decade. He is University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His Ph.D. is in American Studies, from the University of Minnesota.