Janet Maslin has been reviewing movies and books for the New York Times for several decades, and up until now she has faithfully toed the newspaper’s line on abortion.

In her 2009 review of The Snakehead by Patrick Radden Keefe, a book about Chinese immigrants smuggled into the U.S., Maslin referred to the book’s commentary on China’s one-child policy as nothing more than “propaganda-ready stories of forced abortions and sterilizations conducted there”; she noted, with derision, that these accounts became “attractive to America’s religious right.”

Recently Maslin slipped. In her review of Frog, a novel by Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan, she discussed China’s one-child policy by noting how an abortionist sought “to trap a very pregnant woman before she can give birth. A fetus in the womb is still fair game for her. But if it can manage to be born, it becomes a Chinese citizen, and she has no right to take its life anymore.”

The “it,” of course, is a baby boy or girl. But let’s not be picky: Maslin’s admission that once the baby is born, the abortionist “has no right to take its life anymore” is a frank acknowledgement that life begins in the womb.

Maslin won’t lose her job over this—it was obviously a Freudian slip. No matter, it reveals, once again, that even the most ardent pro-abortion proponents are given to inadvertent bursts of honesty.

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