In an article titled "Obama's Abortion Extremism," Robert P. George considers whether one can be "pro-choice" without being pro-abortion, using the example of slavery as Carl Olson did in an article I quoted below.
According to the standard argument for the distinction between these labels, nobody is pro-abortion. Everybody would prefer a world without abortions. After all, what woman would deliberately get pregnant just to have an abortion? But given the world as it is, sometimes women find themselves with unplanned pregnancies at times in their lives when having a baby would present significant problems for them. So even if abortion is not medically required, it should be permitted, made as widely available as possible and, when necessary, paid for with taxpayers' money.Denny Burke [who also posts on the George article], also comments on the "Against abortion, then don't have one" slogan:
The defect in this argument can easily be brought into focus if we shift to the moral question that vexed an earlier generation of Americans: slavery. Many people at the time of the American founding would have preferred a world without slavery but nonetheless opposed abolition. Such people - Thomas Jefferson was one - reasoned that, given the world as it was, with slavery woven into the fabric of society just as it had often been throughout history, the economic consequences of abolition for society as a whole and for owners of plantations and other businesses that relied on slave labor would be dire. Many people who argued in this way were not monsters but honest and sincere, albeit profoundly mistaken. Some (though not Jefferson) showed their personal opposition to slavery by declining to own slaves themselves or freeing slaves whom they had purchased or inherited. They certainly didn't think anyone should be forced to own slaves. Still, they maintained that slavery should remain a legally permitted option and be given constitutional protection.
Would we describe such people, not as pro-slavery, but as ''pro-choice''? Of course we would not. It wouldn't matter to us that they were ''personally opposed'' to slavery, or that they wished that slavery were ''unnecessary,'' or that they wouldn't dream of forcing anyone to own slaves. We would hoot at the faux sophistication of a placard that said ''Against slavery? Don't own one.'' We would observe that the fundamental divide is between people who believe that law and public power should permit slavery, and those who think that owning slaves is an unjust choice that should be prohibited. [more]
There is a snarky pro-abortion bumper sticker that I have seen from time to time, and it reads like this. “Against abortion? Don’t have one.” I concede that it’s a pretty clever slogan, but the line actually amounts to an endorsement of moral anarchy. Libertarianism can never be an ultimate ethic, and no one would be able to tolerate it if it were tried as a matter of public policy.The Witherspoon Institute, Denny Burk » Against Slavery? Don’t Own One.
If you don’t believe me, then consider a little thought experiment, and see if the bumper-sticker ethic really works. Try these on for size:
“Against wife-beating? Don’t beat yours.”
“Against rape? Don’t assault anyone.”
“Against murder? Don’t kill anyone.”
“Against slavery? Don’t own one.” [more]