A quick review of the way the "choice devours itself" phenomenon goes in the abortion arena:
1. The pro-choicer says that women should have the choice to abort or not to abort their unborn children, because they should be allowed to decide "what to do with their own bodies."
2. The pro-choicer believes that it's very important that women should have the choice to abort, specifically.
3. At some level, even if partially sub-consciously, the pro-choicer supports his contention that this choice is very important by imagining scenarios where abortion would be a reasonable, right, and responsible source.
4. The pro-choicer feels puzzled or even frustrated by the fact that some women do not have abortions even in these scenarios. Based on his own conclusion in #3, these women are being unreasonable or irresponsible.
5. The pro-choicer proposes that pressure be placed on women to abort in these scenarios, he excuses pressure that is being placed on women to abort, or he deceives himself by suppressing or ignoring evidence that women are being pressured to abort. Thus choice is no longer such a great thing or such an important thing to safeguard if the choice is not to abort.
I want to stress, again, that none of these steps are logically required. They represent a psychological and sociological trend that is intriguing and that comes up often enough to be worth noting.
The latest manifestation comes from France, where lawmakers are considering a bill that would mandate that doctors "offer" all pregnant women prenatal testing for birth defects.
Yes, yes, I know, it's just "offering," though it isn't just "offering" to the doctors. So much for the consciences of the doctors. But let's face it: Systematizing this sort of "offering" is systematizing a conveyor belt with the abortion clinic on the far end for women whose children are diagnosed as defective. I would instance here this heartbreaking letter received by blogger Dr. Gerard Nadal from a mother who felt herself hustled into aborting her child with Trisomy-18:
I’ve aborted a very much wanted pregnancy in the second trimester due to Trisomy 18. I was never fond of the “choice” then, and I still suffer the consequence of that “choice” now. It saddens me to think that the medical community whose mantra is to do no harm has become so callused as to the dignity of life that they feel they can choose who deserves to live or die. The medical profession has become nothing more than a scripted flowchart of if this, then do that. Pity the child whose prenatal tests result in termination. Once upon a time I thought that “high risk obstetrics” meant that these guys must really know their stuff to be able to handle the “hard” cases. Only now do I realize that “high risk obstetrics” is nothing more than a fancy term for abortionists to hide behind.
I pray for the day that obstetricians present true options to a mother upon receiving an “incompatible with life” diagnosis. Don’t lead me down a scripted flowchart of “if this … then that … therefore terminate conclusion.”
Should the mother have stood firm against the "flow-chart" pressure? Yes, she should. But millstones are reserved for the doctors who took her along that path and gave her the distinct impression that no other options were open to her.
(If any readers have good French and want to read the proposed law, it's here. One of Wesley J. Smith's readers drew Smith's attention to the allegedly voluntary nature of the testing and says that the relevant section is Article 9. My French translation ability is confined to Babelfish. To me the selections I've translated from Article 9 seem a little unclear, but the impression I get is of an exceedingly streamlined and standardized process that involves taking all "high-risk" pregnancies and putting them through routine prenatal testing and counseling, with the woman's opportunities to get off the train present in theory but very plausibly not made clear to her.)