I have a question I would like to ask those who claim that they are personally opposed to abortion, but do not think it should be made illegal: “Let us suppose that the Supreme Court had not declared abortion to be a constitutional right, and let us suppose that a proposition was put on your state’s election ballot to legalize abortion in your state, and you have the opportunity to vote on it.  Would you vote in favor, or in opposition to it?”

The answer to this question is more telling than the simple affirmation that one thinks abortion should be legal even though they are personally opposed to it, because this question helps reveal why someone holds the position they do.  If someone says they would vote in opposition to such a proposition, it reveals that their real concern is not so much that they believe a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child, but rather that they should be able to keep the right once it has been granted to them.  Many people are uncomfortable taking away rights that have already been granted, but would vote against granting such rights in the first place.  If someone says they would vote in favor of such a law, it reveals that they either have a very idealistic view of liberty (that people’s liberty should be nearly autonomous, even when their liberty involves taking the life of an innocent and defenseless human being), they are relativistic when it comes to moral judgments, or they aren’t truly persuaded of the pro-life position and pro-life logic.