In her essay “Pro-Child / Pro-Choice: An Exercise in Doublethink?” Judith A. Boss deconstructs the argument supporting legalized abortion on the basis that it is beneficial to children in general. Boss presents the oft-used slogan of the pro-choice position, “Pro-Child / Pro-Choice”. She maintains that this slogan seems closely related to “newspeak”, which she characterizes as “…vocabulary pared down to a minimum so that whole ideologies are expressed in a single slogan…” (156-7). The term “newspeak” comes from George Orwell’s 1984. In the novel, these simplistic slogans serve to perpetuate “doublethink”, which entails, as Orwell writes, “holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them” (156). Boss also explains, “Doublethink is maintained by a refusal to examine the assumptions and facts supporting one’s beliefs” (156). In order to weaken the pro-child/pro-choice position, Boss begins by presenting the “assumptions and facts” supporting it. Boss states that the basic assumption behind the pro-child /pro-choice position is the belief that “…the exclusion of humans prior to birth from the protection of the moral and legal community, thereby leaving the choice of carrying a pregnancy to term entirely up to the woman, benefits children” (157). Boss creates two categories of children and presents the possible benefits that abortion-on-demand provides. The first category, the unborn child, benefits because his or her “… abortion will spare him or her a life of misery” (157). On the other hand, the second category, the born child, benefits because he or she “can enjoy a higher quality of life and paternal love unhindered by the presence of burdensome siblings who were.
. .recognizes that the true utility that legalized abortion serves may lie in the benefits that it presents to women and that those benefits may appear in the form of social empowerment. It does seem that since 1973, women have been able to empower themselves in the occupational realm. However, Boss leads us to ask ourselves if this professional empowerment of women has come at any cost. In order to understand the true utility of allowing abortion-on-demand, one must weigh all the consequences it creates. It seems though that we have not appropriately measured the consequences of ensuring abortion-on-demand. Questions: How is doublethink mutually exclusive with the correct use of utilitarian theory? What positive consequences, if any, come from ensuring abortion-on-demand? How does one ensure that every child is a healthy child? Is it even possible?