MANDATORY MOTHERHOOD: The True Meaning of ""Right to Life by Garrett Hardin

MANDATORY MOTHERHOOD: The True Meaning of ""Right to Life

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The eminent biologist marshalls all conceivable arguments in favor of the right to abortion in a polemical tirade against the so-called ""Right-to-Life"" amendment. As a scientist he offers some simple, useful calculations: with a 97 percent effective contraceptive, 30 years of sexual intercourse brings a 60 percent chance of at least one pregnancy; ""In a population the size of ours, the universal use of the best method of contraception known generates a quarter of a million unwanted pregnancies per year."" Hence, Hardin calls it the ""Mandatory Motherhood"" amendment. He reiterates the familiar positions regarding the problems of the unwanted child, potential life versus actual, and the misogynous, theological doctrines of the Church. He debunks the meaningless cries of the ""innocence"" of the fetus and the ""murder of future Beethovens."" But Hardin overkills, ignoring the face value of some Right-to-Life positions. He generalizes, ""The farther along a living being is in the developmental process. . .the more valuable that being is"" (a ten year old is more valuable than a four year old?). He dismisses the emotions of those viewing fetus pictures, when such feelings are significant. He insists that adoption of the measure would mean tax deductions for fetuses, and changes in census-taking (clearly this is not true). Hardin fails to recognize the anti-abortionist as an absolutist taking a stand on an issue that is non-rational. He may encourage those who already agree with him, but he will change no minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Beacon