That's the title of my freshly-minted post on the Catholic World Report blog, with a proper and deeply respectful nod to the great Walker Percy. Here's the opening paragraph:
The basic problem with wanting to have it both ways is that you usually end up with either nothing or (more often) the destruction of the good. We Americans, sadly, have a weakness for having it both ways—or at least wanting to have it both ways. This is highlighted, in philosophical terms, quite well by Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, in a short essay, "On Abortion and Defining a ‘Person’". Writing about the recent, failed personhood referendum in Mississippi, Gutting observes the rejection of the referendum" showed that many Americans — including many strong opponents of abortion — are reluctant to treat a fertilized egg as a human person. They are, in particular, unwilling to extend the full protection of our laws against murder to a fertilized egg. This might seem to be just a common sense reaction to an extreme position, but rejecting the personhood position has important consequences for the logic of the abortion debate."