I suspect that the outrage over Cunningham’s comments stems from the lurking feeling among even the nominally pro-choice think that the motives behind abortion do matter, because a fetus is more than just a clump of cells.
But Robbins is right: Accepting “that only those women who are ‘deserving’ enough should be allowed to have an abortion” is a slippery slope to declaring that other women are undeserving. And then, instead of a right, you have doctors or the government practicing a kind of moral calculus, declaring that one woman’s reason for wanting to get an abortion is good enough and another woman’s isn’t.
Of course, in the Cunningham case, this is all now a mute point. She’s decided to carry her pregnancy to term–and not because of all the Internet “trolls,” she’s sure to point out, but because she felt her child kick.
But that pro-choice Brits questioned her reasoning for wanting an abortion may lead to some other questioning, as well: about whether they “truly believe” in the right to abortion after all, whether abortion itself is morally acceptable, and whether society should be in this business of deciding which lives are brought into the world and which are terminated to begin with.