In Slate, William Saletan last week used the recent case of the Philadelphia abortion-clinic doctor, Kermit Gosnell, to re-state his argument against late-term abortion. In that article, one of the "absolutists" who Saletan criticizes is Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
Furedi herself recently wrote "a moral defence of late abortion" in spiked,which Saletan cites. In response to Saletan's latest criticisms, Furedi comments:
Firstly, I’d like to say, I’m proud to be an absolutist on this issue! I do absolutely believe in women's right to make abortion decisions. It’s always struck me that being pro-choice is a bit like being pregnant: you either are or you’re not! You can no more be "a bit" pro-choice than you can be a bit pregnant. And I think that’s the issue of contention with Saletan and those who think like him. The question is: Do we think that women should have leave to make moral decisions about their abortions? Or do we only think that when we are "comfortable" with the decision they make? I believe the former – obviously Saletan believes the latter.
Having read the PA piece, what seems to be the problem with Gosnell is the conditions and quality of care at his clinic – and the fact that a shortage of later term doctors drives desperate women to pay large sums of money for what sounds like a pretty crap service. What a shame these women couldn't be treated by someone a bit better. His shoddy service must have made what was always going to be an ordeal into an unimaginable nightmare.
I don't this case speaks to the morality of later abortion or the moral status of the fetus at all. However, it speaks volumes about Saletan's understanding of moral philosophy that he clearly thinks that it does.