I agree that it's important to have diversity in the media and that the overall quality of our punditry is noticeably impacted -- and for the worse -- by the underrepresentation of women. That said, I have to plead innocent to the specific charges made here by zuzu:

It’s quite telling that Matt can’t get past the mathematical modeling of it all to reach the understanding that the reason that reproductive-rights advocates argue in favor of safe and legal abortion is that women will get abortions regardless of whether or not they’re legal, and they will get abortions regardless of the possibility of injury or death, because the alternative for them is worse. IOW, criminalizing abortion does not make abortion stop. It simply makes it more dangerous. Given that, there’s absolutely no point in criminalizing abortion, and indeed, making it safe, legal and affordable isn’t going to increase the number of abortions significantly (beyond any temporary increase due to pent-up demand from women who were not quite as sanguine about taking the risk of an illegal and unsafe abortion). In any event, Matt doesn’t seem to grasp that what you gain from legalizing abortion is a decrease in the number of women who die from unsafe and illegal procedures. Even if the number of abortions rises temporarily, isn’t that a good reason to legalize? But again, Matt does not have to think that way, so he does not.



I completely grasp that criminalizing abortions doesn't make them stop. Obviously, it doesn't. Obviously, many women in many situations are happy to risk criminal penalties and adverse health impacts to get abortions precisely because, as Zuzu says, they feel that the alternative is worse. What I said is that making abortion illegal and dangerous makes it rarer because for some women carrying a baby to term is worse than having a safe & legal abortion but better than having a dangerous & illegal abortion. She says I don't "seem to grasp that what you gain from legalizing abortion is a decrease in the number of women who die from unsafe and illegal procedures" but I do grasp that, I just think you also get an increase in the aggregate number of abortions, but Zuzu and I are in complete agreement on the policy issue here -- abortions should be safe and legal.

Now in response to Ross I obviously don't think that more abortions is a good thing as such. Rather, I don't see reducing the abortion rate as a particularly important policy objective. It's important enough that I'm all for reducing the abortion rate through more widespread use of contraceptives, but not nearly important enough that I would favor restrictions on women's abilities to obtain safe and legal abortions.

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