There is no conflict between the “right to choose” and “the right to life” in the context of abortion, because the former includes the latter. If the state were ever to require a pregnant woman to undergo an abortion — as China in effect did with its “one child” policy — there would be a conflict. But in the United States, the right to choose includes the right to choose life rather than abortion. It also includes the right of women to choose abortion for themselves.
So, what are the anti-abortion right-to-life advocates complaining about? They do not want any woman to have the right to choose abortion for herself. They want to have the state chose for her — to deny her the right to choose between giving birth to an unwanted child and having an abortion.
They believe that abortion is infanticide — murder — not of their child but of the fetus of the woman who would choose abortion. But that woman does not regard the fetus as her child. So, the right to lifer responds: it doesn’t matter what you think. It matters what the state thinks. The vast majority — 70% — of citizens the United States think a woman should have the right to control her own reproduction — to choose whether the embryo or the fetus becomes her child, according to a Pew study this year.
If a woman has been impregnated while being raped, she may not regard the fetus as “her child.” The same may be true of other unwanted pregnancies, such as those of teenagers who mentally and physically may be unable raise or care for a child for the rest of her life. The problem is what the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called, “Children having children.”
What gives other people the right to decide, when they are not the ones who will have to bear the consequences?
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Daniel Polisar of Shalem College in Jerusalem shook the debate over Palestinian-Israeli relations in November 2015 with his essay, “What Do Palestinians Want?” In it, having studied 330 polls to “understand the perspective of everyday Palestinians” toward Israel, Israelis, Jews, and the utility of violence against them, he found that Palestinian attackers are “venerated” by their society—with all that that implies.
He’s done it again with “Do Palestinians Want a Two-State Solution?” This time, he pored over some 400 opinion polls of Palestinian views to find consistency among seemingly contradictory evidence on the topic of ways to resolve the conflict with Israel. From this confusing bulk, Polisar convincingly establishes that Palestinians collectively hold three related views of Israel: it has no historical or moral claim to exist, it is inherently rapacious and expansionist, and it is doomed to extinction. In combination, these attitudes explain and justify the widespread Palestinian demand for a state from “the river to the sea,” the grand Palestine of their maps that erases Israel.
With this analysis, Polisar has elegantly dissected the phenomenon that I call Palestinian rejectionism. That’s the policy first implemented by the monstrous mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, in 1921 and consistently followed over the next near-century. Rejectionism demands that Palestinians (and beyond them, Arabs and Muslims) repudiate every aspect of Zionism: deny Jewish ties to the land of Israel, fight Jewish ownership of that land, refuse to recognize Jewish political power, refuse to trade with Zionists, murder Zionists where possible, and ally with any foreign power, including Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, to eradicate Zionism.
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After serving as a cheerleader for disgraced district attorney Mike Nifong during the Duke lacrosse case, the New York Times even more aggressively championed Barack Obama’s crusade to erode due process for college students accused of sexual assault. It was probably naïve, therefore, to expect a fair review from the Times when Stuart Taylor and I published our book on the topic, The Campus Rape Frenzy. The review, written by Times contributing opinion editor Jill Filipovic, confirms the paper’s inability to address the issue fairly. In a few hundred words, Filipovic made at least three factual errors in describing the book, and she misleads the reader regarding several crucial points.
Our book sourced tens of thousands of pages of legal filings, documents from campus disciplinary policies, and previously secret “training” materials given to investigative panelists in campus sexual-assault cases, in order to describe a system in which students accused of sexual assault are effectively presumed guilty and then denied the tools necessary to prove their innocence. Filipovic nonetheless faults a book based on this extensive material for failing to adhere to a “standard” of telling both sides of the story.
“The authors,” she notes, “choose a handful of egregious examples to make the case that campus sexual assault isn’t all that common and that the bigger problem is innocent young men railroaded by promiscuous women who get drunk and regret their choices, or flat-out lie at the behest of conniving campus feminists.”
The four-dozen cases we explored constitute more than a handful. While Filipovic characterizes them as “egregious”—an accurate description—her implication that they were atypical of the usual campus disciplinary process, and improperly chosen in order to support a tendentious argument, is false. In the event, what does it say about our current campus justice system that accused students can be found guilty, even where they assemble clear evidence of their innocence?
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