For anyone still digging in their heels against the idea that women's equality is a core moral value, I recommend reading this post by Morgaine, where she takes on the idea that abortion is the heart and soul of women's rights.
What you didn't address, and what prompted my comment, is that this issue goes beyond whether or not a woman can have an abortion. It goes to whether or not women are people. We aren't talking about a political issue - we are talking about my uterus, and the fact that neither the Congress, nor any man, is authorized to negotiate the disposition of it. The only role of government in the matter should be to assure that my doctor is competent and the hospital up to standard. I am not the property of the state. I am a citizen of the state who is guaranteed a certain level of personal liberty that has so far not been acknowledged in our legal system.
She's responding to Jeffrey Feldman, whose article I have not read.
But I would say this is a most-eloquent rebuttal to the assertions by Markos and other (mostly) men that women's equality is either (a) not part of the "important shit" or (b) not necessary.
If the State were to move in and claim sovereignty over men's penises and testicles, you can be damn sure that Kos and other male liberals would be howling. But they don't have to worry about such things, and thus "abortion" is just ground taken by liberals, and to them the only reason to support "choice" is because Republicans want to take it away. The rest of what so often are called "women's issues" are just too fringe for them.
And thus the miss the very heart of the matter when it comes to this issue.
The ironically self-named "pro-life" crowd are actually advocating the enslavement of all women who get pregnant, making them wards of the state. If they really wanted to eliminate abortions, they would be advocating better birth control and family planning services, education and access, so that unwanted pregnancies are brought to a minimum.
But reducing abortions is not their goal. Enslaving women is. They just can't stand the idea that women might have sex without the "punishment" of pregnancy. So they try over and over to pass laws banning sex education and availability of birth control to teenaged women, who account for a huge percentage of unwanted pregnancies. And they pass out pamphlets that make ludicrous claims like condoms cause cancer. And they pass laws allowing pharmacists to play doctor and deny even a married woman's prescription for birth control. And they keep birth control from being covered by Medicare and Medicaid (while supporting coverage of hard-on meds like Viagra). Everything they do is about disempowering women and removing our ability to take care of ourselves and our own bodies.
This is not a fringe issue. It gets down to core principles.