Prohibition protesters (
by Steve Timmer
Jul 21, 2013, 10:00 AM

Wherein JLew furnishes an argument for abortion rights

Accidentally, of course

It’s been a quiet week for Jason Lewis — perhaps obviously — who had a commentary in today’s Strib about an issue that is not remotely in the news:

Minnesota legislators seem poised to follow the lead of 18 other states by legalizing medicinal marijuana in the next legislative session. While the effort is primarily a Democratic [what Jason?; not “Democrat;” you must agree with this idea] one, there is Republican support as well. Nevertheless, lawmakers are up against the same obstacle medical marijuana faced in 2009 — a reluctant governor.

But buried in JLew’s ponderous remarks about nanny statism is this little nugget:

But if the failure of Prohibition (whose loudest supporters, such as teetotaler John D. Rockefeller, eventually became its loudest opponents) taught us anything, it’s that banning a substance doesn’t make it go away. It merely drives it underground, making it far more dangerous.

Prohibition was really directed at an activity that some found morally objectionable: drinking. JLew is right to draw the analogy to another activity that some people find morally objectionable: smoking marijuana.

Now that Lewis has set the table, let me complete the activity triptych: abortions.

Some people (but certainly not all, and probably not even a majority) find them morally objectionable in all circumstances. But let’s change one word in Lewis’ remarks:

[B]anning an activity doesn’t make it go away. It merely drives it underground, making it far more dangerous.

NARAL couldn’t have said it better. Even if prohibited by law, women will be forced by circumstance to terminate a pregnancy and find a way to do it. Well-off women will be able to have or travel to a place where an abortion continues to be legal. Poor women, though, are the ones who will be forced back into the back alley. All thoroughly explained and documented in the new book Crow after Rowe, written by Robin Marty and Jessica Mason Pieklo.

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