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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

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01 December, 2007

Peggy Noonan Forgets the Mother

Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal:

I will never forget that breathtaking moment when, in the CNN/YouTube debate earlier this fall, the woman from Ohio held up a picture and said, “Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards, this is a human fetus. Given a few more months, it will be a baby you could hold in your arms. You all say you’re ‘for the children.’ I would ask you to look America in the eye and tell us how you can support laws to end this life. Thank you.”

They were momentarily nonplussed, then awkwardly struggled to answer, to regain lost high ground. One of them, John Edwards I think, finally criticizing the woman for being “manipulative,” using “hot images” and indulging in “the politics of personal destruction.” The woman then stood in the audience for her follow up. “I beg your pardon, but the literal politics of personal destruction—of destroying a person—is what you stand for.”

Oh, I wish I weren’t about to say, “Wait, that didn’t happen.” For of course it did not. Who of our media masters would allow a question so piercing on such a painful and politically incorrect subject?

Now, frankly, this is not a piercing question, but a silly one. Even if we grant full personhood to a foetus, and all the rights that come with it, the foetus is not the only person involved in an abortion. There’s also the mother. She owns her body, and has to bear the consequences of her life changing if she chooses to give birth. Thus, the rights of two people are involved here—and I’d always give precedence to the fully-grown human.

Any woman contemplating an abortion must be torn up by the choice that she confronts. She alone should make that choice. The state has no business to interfere.

Also read: Sigrid Fry-Revere’s recent post, What about Fetal Rights?

Posted by Amit Varma in Freedom

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