Robert Nisbet Pro-Choice?

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    I’ve come across some people, quoting Robert Nisbet from “Prejudice”, saying that he took a pro choice stance on abortion. In reading his comments I find his position on the issue to be in keeping with his views on the primacy of the family and voluntary society. It seems to me that he’s saying that government moralizing hurts society and the family by denying them their traditional roles and responsibilities.

    Am I interpreting his position correctly or was he really “pro-choice” in the modern definition of the term?


    Jason Jewell

    I think you are probably right, although he’s not even really being prescriptive in that article on abortion in “Prejudices.” He explicitly says that the “woman’s right to choose” is not the thing under attack by anti-abortion advocates, but rather the autonomy of the family. The historical examples he uses are patriarchal; it’s the paterfamilias who decides whether the abortion takes place. That certainly won’t win him any friends among modern abortion-rights people.


    That’s a great point. Thanks for the feedback!

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