Boston Legal, if you don’t know of it, is a very liberal dramedy set in a Boston law firm. The show is by far one of the funniest I have ever seen and I only watch it because it isn’t liberal ALL the time. When I heard they were tackling abortion once again, I figured it would be very pro-choice as it was in other one-sided stories.
Last week surprised me.
At the end of the show, Alan Shore and Denny Crane, the best of friends, are talking about abortion on the firm’s balcony. With a somber and semi-distressed tone, Alan says: “You know Denny, I am very Pro-Choice. I believe it’s a woman’s right. But from a scientific and human perspective, it’s hard to argue that life doesn’t begin at conception… I suppose I am desperate for Roe to remain law. In part maybe to reaffirm my own moral position.”
After telling Denney that he has been involved in two abortions, Alan acknowledges that the abortions “weigh” on him to that day. Nevertheless, Alan argues that abortion has brought down the crime rate (to me that’s like mandatory execution of any criminal, and of course, not all aborted babies are going to grow up to be criminals!). To this Denney asks: “Does that make it easier for you to feel okay about your procedures?” With a heavy sigh, Alan responds, “No.”
In another aspect of the show, Shirley Schmidt (an attorney, pro-choicer, and a woman who had procured an abortion), after looking at several images of unborn infants, argues against a particular case of abortion in which a young Chinese girl wants to get an abortion because her child is a girl. Schmidt calls abortions of females “female infanticide… sexism… and vile.” She says she can no longer stand by “while the abortion license is exploited to carry out the holocaust of women.”
While Shirley’s position is fatally flawed, I credit the show for at least saying that there is a case in which abortion is wrong. More still, showing (the albeit fuzzy) images of the unborn for the sake of an emotional pro-life reaction should be applauded. Nevertheless, saying that only wrongful abortions are ones in which women are killed seems somehow sick. But I suppose it’s the perfect synthesis of the pro-feminist and pro-abortion position.
I’ll conclude with some words of Denny to America’s pro-choicers. “You pro-choice people, you need Roe vs. Wade. You’re desperate for it. Not because you’re sure of your positions but because you’re not. You need to cling to that ruling as moral validation for a moral position you’re not entirely comfortable with deep down.”
It’s not a refutation of abortion – it is an argument, however, that cuts to the heart.