Friday, December 16, 2005

Morality That Takes You Morally Out Of The Picture

From James Taranto:

'God! I Didn't Know What to Say'

New York magazine features a piece on a group called Haven, which organizes volunteers who provide lodging in their homes to women and girls ("including a 10-year-old") who come to New York for late-term abortions:

Most Haven hosts are white, Jewish, well schooled, and political. Some are empty-nesters with beds to spare and memories of the sixties and seventies women's movement; many are young idealists with matchbox apartments and roommates who don't mind an extra body crashing in the living room. Meanwhile, most of the women helped by Haven are black and Latina, with GEDs or less, low literacy skills, and not much civic moxie. . . .

Katha Pollitt, the poet and Nation columnist, buys People magazine when she knows she's about to be called up for Haven duty. "But then I worry: Maybe that's patronizing. Maybe they'd rather read The Nicomachean Ethics." . . .

Late-term abortion is serious, hard-core. At 24 weeks, a fetus is at the same stage of development as those gruesome images shown on pro-lifers' protest placards. "The last woman I hosted showed me her sonogram," says Jennifer, a 26-year-old host who lives in Carroll Gardens. "Then she pointed out that the fetus was a boy. God! I didn't know what to say."

Every once in a while, after hosting a guest, I have bad dreams about sick babies. I have to remind myself that my dreams are just dreams, and that they're less important than my guests' realities.

One Haven hostess tells author Debbie Nathan, "Being pro-choice is a morality that takes you morally out of the picture." This is supposed to be a puff piece rather than an exposé, which makes the Havenites' condescension and depraved moral indifference all the more breathtaking.

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