Social Policy

Abortion and Social Responsibility: Depolarizing the Debate by Laurie Shrage

By Laurie Shrage

Shrage argues that Roe v Wade's regulatory scheme of a six-month time span for abortion on call for polarized the general public and obscured possible choices with probably broader help. She explores the origins of that scheme, then defends another one--with a time span shorter than 6 months for non-therapeutic abortions--that may perhaps win vast help had to make criminal abortion providers on hand to all ladies.

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Additional info for Abortion and Social Responsibility: Depolarizing the Debate (Studies in Feminist Philosophy)

Sample text

But having the cutoff for elective abortions at viability fails to encourage this. Is Roe Viable? 31 Women often cannot arrange for early elective abortions because of the lack of funds to cover the costs, the increasing scarcity of providers, and the escalating bureaucratic and social hurdles imposed on them. 93 An upper limit that is not sensitive to public opinion regarding when in a pregnancy an elective abortion shows indifference to the value of human life can fuel efforts to impede women who choose abortion.

The Court would have done far better to proceed slowly and incrementally, and on grounds that could have gathered wider social agreement and thus fractured society much less severely. The Court might have ruled that abortions could not be prohibited in cases of rape or incest, or that the law at issue in Roe was invalid even if some abortion restrictions might be acceptable. 69 Blackmun's initial scheme, compared to his revised scheme, would have provided more room for democratically elected state legislators to find creative solutions acceptable to larger constituencies.

99 A system that better reflects the value of human life is one that would show respect for women's childbearing, whether they be single or poor. Welfare policies that permit women to have the children they want, or obtain contraception and abortion to limit their own childbearing, show more respect for both children's and women's lives. Welfare policies such as these reflect the idea that what people are able to do is often a result of social cooperation and not just individual merit. S. welfare policies demand personal responsibility without acknowledging society's responsibility for the material conditions that constrain people's lives.

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