PEOPLE will always want to take drugs, and history gives us little reason to believe that abortions are likely to disappear from the surface of the earth any time soon.
Yet many Slovak politicians believe, or want their voters to think they believe, that by banning something, you can make it go away. A number of examples clearly show that this is not the case.
Whether with prohibition in the US, or the current ban on the possession of drugs in Slovakia, people's inclination to do what had just been outlawed did not die under the threat of repression. In both these examples, the state's disapproving attitude created ideal conditions for organized crime to thrive, and resulted in a failure to deal with serious problems related to drug and alcohol use.
In countries where abortion is outlawed, women travel abroad to get abortions, find doctors willing to break the law, or, worse still, endanger their health and lives by putting their problem in the hands of people without the necessary knowledge or experience.
It is impossible to categorically state that using drugs or undergoing an abortion is right or wrong, because this judgment lies in the realm of ethics, which, by definition, is high subjective.
However, even if we conclude that both drug use and abortions are immoral, and are therefore wrong, it is clear from experience that repression will not make them go away. Instead, it will add further problems, as always happens when symptoms, not causes, are addressed.
Society should forget political orientation in these matters; and should not try to label a particular stance on them liberal, conservative, or anything else. Rather, people should agree that repression will not help anyone. And they should also recognize that people who support repression in these cases are not fighting drug use or the practice of abortions, but are simply missing the point.
16. Jun 2003 at 0:00