I’ve mentioned before that in the early-to-mid-1970s abortion did not have the valence on the Right that it does today. It was primarily the Roman Catholic Church which opposed Roe vs. Wade with concerted and strenuous vigor. Though to a large extent conservative Protestant America may have been a bit disquieted, it was not quite outraged. The newest release of the Nixon tapes confirm this. Richard Nixon’s position as a conservative or man of the Right is ambiguous, as quite often his pragmatic or Machiavellian political inclinations swamped out any principles. But I think it is fair to say that Nixon was typical as a moderately conservative white Protestant of his age in his mores and attitudes. I’m a little confused as to the outrage that Nixon thought that interracial conception was grounds for abortion, this was 1973, and according to the General Social Survey in that year ~50% of whites age 50 and over favored laws against interracial marriage. ~30 years later in the same age cohort (now in their late 70s to 80s) the proportion of whites who favor laws against interracial marriage remains ~30%. In any case, the outrage that some liberals feel when one moots the idea of aborting a fetus if they are of a particular racial combination or sex shows that the “rights” and “liberty” based reasoning of the pro-choice movement is often relatively shallow. Abortion is meant to empower women in a positive sense of freedom, a consequentialist rationale, not to reinforce prejudice, discrimination and oppression. Making abortion a right is in fact a form of legislating morality and inculcating values about how women relate to their bodies and society. Interestingly Nixon’s qualms about abortion were consequentialist. Rather than the sanctity of life he seemed to be elucidating a view that abortion was another instance where the sexual revolution rolled back individual responsibility in favor of license. Instead of murder, it seemed a problem of moral hazard.