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Nov 20, 2005

Comments

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andy gould

Ed, Excellent column. Well thought and well presented. Bravo!

Dean Esmay

Spot on.

Roe is something of an albatross for Democrats. It really is. Why? Because Republicans are free to say they're pro-life without having to do much of anything about it, while Democrats just to keep their pro-choice creds are often forced to take positions that are more extreme than most of middle America's comfortable with.

We should stop making a federal issue of this. Opinion polls have shown pretty solidly for over 30 years now that the majority of people want legal restrictions on the procedure but also want it available. Let democracy work. There'll be much heat and arguing, but in the end it will cease to dominate our politics, or either party.

It will also signal a serious problem for Republicans. So what? Let it.

Cara Michele, "Chosen Fast"

Ed,

I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which you write.

As I wrote on my blog today, I must respectfully say that I see no middle ground. For those of us who view abortion through the lens of faith, this isn't an issue of "differing opinions," because we don't believe it has anything to do with opinion at all.

That said, I call for all people of faith who oppose abortion and pray for its end in America to remember to practice the other parts of our faith, like love, mercy, patience, and forgiveness.

I admire the way that you show respect to others whose faith, opinions or thoughts differ from yours. You are a model to others.

Peace,
Cara Michele

Jasper Martin

I read your column twice looking for some hint of what middle ground you were proposing. Suprise! Not one sentence about a middle ground. You prefer a an amendment to the constitution that would in reality tie this murder of babies to our constitution. It only exists because a left-wing court invented new language for our constitution allowing the murder of millions of our offspring. We replace our dead children by opening the borders of our country to illegals.

Ed Cone

Cara, what about people of faith who believe that abortion should remain legal? Anti-abortion people don't own faith.

Cara Michele, "Chosen Fast"

Ed: Again, you wrote a thoughtful column. We disagree. Peace to you, Cara Michele

Cara Michele, "Chosen Fast"

Ed, Please accept my sincere apology for the way my "people of faith" comment was worded. Yes, people of faith, even my own, disagree. If I caused offense, I am sorry. I value dialogue, but it is never my intention to wound others. Again, my apologies. Peace, Cara Michele

Ed Cone

No problem, Cara, the wording was the issue. I respect your position even in the places where I may not agree with it as public policy. This to me is the kind of dialogue we are lacking. Peace.

James Prescott

The middle ground could be an objective evaluation of when life begins. As an example, if we define death as the abscence of (certain) brain activity, then couldn't (human) life be defined as the presence of (certain) brain activity? We have the technology to non-invasively study this possibility and develop some very interesting data. What type of neuronal activity signifies life? I don't know, but an objective analysis could be very informative. (I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be around the end of the first trimester)

Just my $0.02

Andy Freeman

There have always been pro-life Dems, just as there have always been pro-choice Repubs. If their "emergence" is going to produce some change in the debate, that would have happened long ago.

howardl

Setting aside all the legalisms: My sister in law desperately wanted to have a baby; she got pregnant; she miscarried. This was a tragedy (to me); she (we) mourned in a way that she (we) would not have mourned if she had some other group of cells removed from her body. My cousin had a five year old boy who was running, fell, hit his head, and died. This was a bigger tragedy (to me). My own empathy is on a scale: if a woman miscarries and never even knows she is pregnant, through miscarriage late in pregnancy; to death of the child in child birth to death of child old enough to speak. I can't come with a ethical basis for this sliding scale (Peter Singer can, I think); but it reflects what is truly in my heart.

What I really have trouble with is the idea that the "lifeness" or value of the unborn child (call it something else if you object to this, but try to understand what I am saying) depends on the mental attitude of the mother towards the child: if she wants it, it's a baby, and harming it is child abuse; if she doesn't want it, it's a group of cells, and can be eliminated without consequence.

Eric Wilner

One thing I've noticed: while there are two extremist camps, one which holds that personhood begins at conception and not one second later, and thus abortion must be entirely prohibited, and one that holds that personhood begins at birth and not one second earlier, and thus no restrictions on abortion may be allowed...
Both camps seem to insist that Roe V. Wade represents the second extreme position.
I actually took the time to read the Roe v. Wade decision earlier this year, and in fact it stakes out a moderate position. Overturning it is not a prerequisite to restricting late-term abortions, no matter what either faction says.
Personally, I agree in general terms with the substance of Roe V. Wade, but disagree with the process and the legal reasoning.
If we could shut out the noise from the extremists, perhaps a broad consensus could emerge. Alas, extreme voices are the ones that grab headlines; quiet moderation isn't news.

Jim,MtnViewCA,USA

A possible start for a middle ground:
Take the issue away from unelected judges, as Ed suggests and leave the issue to the people.
Let both sides work to win the hearts and minds of their fellow citizens.
Instead of spending tens or hundreds of millions to prop up Roe v Wade, let the pro-choice side spend millions supporting poor women who can't afford abortions, stop forcing pro-life citizens to subsidize abortions with their tax dollars.

szajic

This brain activity argument is interesting!

Brain waves are measurable around 8 or 9 weeks after conception. I'm sure if this was seriously proposed as a part of law, what kind of brain activity counted would be up for argument, but it's pretty safe to say that the embryo's/fetus'/baby's brain becomes active (at first slightly, then more fully) in the last third of the first trimester.

Some statistics: 50-60% of abortions are done at 9 weeks or less, and 85-90% of abortions are done at 13 weeks or less (i.e. in the first trimester).

Vladimir Makovitsa

If you consider the logic of Justice Blackmun, in Roe v Wade, it's striking in its lack of rigorous philosophic reasoning.

Blackmun's judgment rested on the conviction that the court needn't resolve the question of where life begins. "When those in the fields of medicine, theology and philosophy are unable to arrive at consensus, the judiciary is not in a position to speculate on the answer."

So, within that judgment, Blackmun asserts the fallacy that the presence of disagreement indicates the absence of truth.

This idea he posits, that the question of "what is a human life and when can it claim protection of the law" as if it's a question only of religious or theological weight and therefore one of private belief, is an assumption.

This assumption reflects a tendency in our public discourse to equate moral questions with matters of religious faith or private belief, which cannot be judged finally as true or false. It was as if the matter of abortion, as a profound moral question, was somehow cut off from the process of weighing evidence and testing arguments by the canons of principled reasoning. Justice Blackmun however, did not subject to the test of principled reasoning his own assumptions about the nature of the fetus and its standing in the eyes of the law.

szajic

Jim,

Would you be as upset about the unelected judges if they were ruling your way? As for leaving the issue to the people, the judicial system is currently slightly further towards the pro-choice side of the issue than the public - but only slightly.

The majority of Americans support the right to first trimester abortions - and as Eric points out, Roe has little to say about restricting late term abortions. In fact, a position arguing that most abortions after the first trimester should be banned doesn't even require overturning Roe - but merely a reinterpretation of it.

Finally, please don't forget that Planned Parenthood, aside from all of its political lobbying, actually does do the hard work of providing family planning resources all over the country. It already does provide these resources (including prenatal health care, birth control, and yes, abortions) to poor women at low cost.

Amphipolis

There is no more reasonable time to consider life beginning than conception. Think about it - consider before and after comparisons with any other benchmark moment. Any other threshold is based more on the convenience of the parents than on the facts of life.

Sorry, I can't compromise life. It's non-negotiable.

johnnyr

Ah ha! The INSTANT you claim abortion is a "complicated issue", you are making the case FOR LEGAL ABORTION. Period.


And anyone who thinks anti-abortionists aren't extreme don't understand their motives or expectations of complete annihilation of personal rights.

By the way, these idiots who claim life only begins at conception are being arbitrary themselves, sperms and eggs are ALIVE...life is forever evolving and messy.

penxv

If death is defined as

"The end of life; the permanent cessation of vital bodily functions, as manifested in humans by the loss of heartbeat, and brain death.

Then life should be defined as the begining of vital bodily functions.

The 28th ammendment should address the "beginning of life."

It wasn't an issue when the constitution was written. It is an issue now.

It would not overturn Roe, but it would end late term abortions.

Amphipolis

Oops - I suppose I should add "separate and distinct" whenever I use the word life. I guess I thought that was understood in this context.

big dirigible

You almost found something in that "middle ground" wish in this line -

"Lost in the shouting is any sense that people are making hard decisions and balancing their own internal moral conflicts as they think about the personal and public implications of abortion and the law"

- but didn't follow up.

The key point is that my "own internal moral conflict" is MINE, not yours, not the Supreme Court's. As a mature citizen as well-qualified to make decisions as anyone in the country, I can resolve it on my own without legal mandates.

And no, brain waves don't come into it. That's a legal mind talking, not a moral one.

Personally, I don't like the idea (though as a man I realize that, in the current cultural miasma, I have nothing to say about it). But the rationale for the government to exert its heavy hand, either pro or con, isn't as clear as people generally assume.

Pat Phillips

Mr. Cone,

This is a valiant effort on your part. Good luck.

The existing 'discussion' on abortion does seem to be deadlocked. At the risk of sounding somewhat 'techno-Utopian', I tend to think that the deadlock will persist until medical science gives women of all income levels so much control over their metabolisms that they can effortlessly eliminate the possibility of conception -- either before the fact or 'the day after' -- by doing the equivalent of blinking their eyes real hard.

Mike Koenecke

Re: "The key point is that my "own internal moral conflict" is MINE, not yours, not the Supreme Court's. As a mature citizen as well-qualified to make decisions as anyone in the country, I can resolve it on my own without legal mandates."

The trouble with that reasoning is that it could equally be applied to infanticide. Abortion advocates who are convinced that "a fetus is not a person" steadfastly decline to define exactly when a fetus *becomes* a person, and evade the question of whether there is another person involved whose rights might need protecting, besides the mother. My position is the same as Mr. Prescott's.

M Moeser

Not sure where a "middle ground" could be between having or killing a baby.

Oh, I know --- partial birth infanticide --- have the baby come to the "middle ground", part way through the birth canal and then kill it.

Laurie K

To me, abortion is a vile procedure that is sometimes necessary to save someone's life, end the life of a non-viable fetus, or to end a pregnancy that is the result of a sexual assault. In these cases, mercy would seem to dictate that this option be open to a woman. Abortions for the sake of convenience are, to me, sickening, and I wish they were not permitted. However, I cannot see the logic in a law that says, "This medical procedure is perfectly OK in these circumstances, but is EVIL in all others," regardless of how I might feel about it. Therefore, I generally classify myself as reluctantly pro-choice.

I must say though, that one of the things that finally drove this long-time Democrat from the fold was their obsession with destroying the unborn, as if this, over all, was the most important right that exists for women today! Same with the women's rights folks -- as a woman, it repulses me to see my sisters raving on, wanting, needing this "right" to destroy life -- lives that, in the vast majority of cases -- they play an enthusiastic role in creating. To me, it's sickening and it makes me rather ashamed that this is my gender's Big Issue.

Ken Mitchell

Roe V. Wade is _bad law_, because it cuts the "debate" out of the abortion debate.

One of the real problems is that abortion is either a "crime" or a "medical procedure", and in either case it ought not to be the business of the FEDERAL government. The States are competent enough to handle it, and I believe that Roe ought to be overturned - but WITHOUT any Federal "Right to Life" provisions. Those States (such as California) who choose to do so ought to be able to permit abortion, while those states whose voters choose to do so can ban it.

But if we MUST have a Federal standard on this, make it enough of a compromise that the extremists on both sides will scream loudly. Make abortion completely legal (including for sex selection or genetic defect) until the 5th month of pregnancy, and banned absolutely after that. That eliminates the "rape and incest" objections; presumably, she'd be able to figure out whether or not it was "rape or incest" and make her decision.

celebrim

I didn't see any middle ground suggested in your column. Nevertheless, there is middle ground.

1) Almost all Americans believe that it is tragic that there are 1.5 million abortions a year.
2) Almost all Americans support abortion as a relatively unregulated medical choice when the woman's life is in danger and the child could not be successfully delivered. This includes even the evangelicals and fundamentalists.
3) Almost all Americans support abortion as a choice in cases of rape or incest when the woman has clearly not participated in the choice to have the baby. This includes most (but not all) of the religious dissenters against abortion.
4) Almost all Americans are very worried about intrusion by the government into a woman's personal life, particularly in cases involving rape and incest. Most Americans do not want to put women on trial, and they don't want to see women who are victims stigmitized.
5) On the other hand, most Americans feel that abortion is an irresponcible means of reutine birth control.
6) Most Americans believe that fetuses are living organisms deserving of at least some protection, and there support of abortion wans as the fetus grows more mature and aware.
7) Most Americans believe that fathers and parents of minor should play at least some roll in deciding the future of thier children, though they are admittedly divided over how you balance these rights against protecting the mother from harm from a potential abuser.

I believe that those propositions paint a picture of how America will respond to the end of Roe v. Wade - and I believe that it will end soon because the law simply is too divisive and so poorly argued that even many of those on the Right that support abortion don't support Roe v. Wade. It won't be a simple matter of 'free abortion on demand' or 'all abortion is murder' because most Americans see those two positions as equally extreme and have views somewhere in the middle.

I believe that in many ways well designed government regulation could both make abortion more readily available to those that really need it, remove the stigma from seeking abortion, and protect a woman's privacy. If government regulation elimenated those sorts of abortions which society did not approve of, then society would know that those abortions which were performed were mostly or totally of the sort that most Americans feel to be a legitimate choice. Namely, first trimester abortions and cases of rape and incest or threats to the health of the mother. This would reduce the stigma of the abortion seeker as a 'loose woman' and 'bad mother'. It would also assure the community as a whole that someone was looking out after these delicate matters and that person could be held accountable. Simply put, most Americans don't trust an issue of this delicacy (the death of a person) solely to a private practice. It would also assure women seeking abortions that there was a place of shelter and refuge that they could seek, and that the agency could at their request bring the full force of protection of the government to bear if that was what was needed to secure her safety. And she would know that what she was doing had the full support of most of the public because the law would have been tried in the court of public opinion, and not created by a minority using the aristocratic authority of the judiciary. No, it wouldn't be perfect, but I think it could - done well - be better than what we have.

As for Planned Parenthood, I consider the organization one of the most extremist organizations ever to darken political discourse in America. A reading of the polical views of its founder in her own words should be in a perfect world enough to damn such an organization from our thoughts and consideration forever. Lets not pretend that Planned Parenthood represents mainstream America. In fact, Planned Parenthood has done more to rally mainstream America against abortion than any other single thing. There can be no middle ground if you consider Planned Parenthood to be part of it. It would be like inviting Abortion clinic bombers to the table.

Vladimir Makovitsa

Quoting Johnnyr: "Ah ha! The INSTANT you claim abortion is a "complicated issue", you are making the case FOR LEGAL ABORTION. Period."

So in Johnnyr's realm of logic, it is permissible, absolutely, to legalize any practice that is "complicated" by virtue of the issue being complex.

Would then, by this formula, it be permissible to commit genocide? ( It is afterall, a complicated business.)

Amelia

"And anyone who thinks anti-abortionists aren't extreme don't understand their motives or expectations of complete annihilation of personal rights."

*eye roll*

That is absurd, and is a perfect example of the kind of yammering on the subject that doesn't help. It's just as unhelpful as this comment:

"You prefer a an amendment to the constitution that would in reality tie this murder of babies to our constitution. It only exists because a left-wing court invented new language for our constitution allowing the murder of millions of our offspring. We replace our dead children by opening the borders of our country to illegals."

Until we can stop attributing malicious motives to the people who hold opposing opinions, the abortion debate will continue to be incendiary.

Patriccio

A message to the Pro-choice crowd: If you do not believe that life begins at conception, then I can only assume that you feel that it begins at birth. If this is true, then why do women who have abortions feel such a sense of guilt after the procedure? Why the sense of guilt for aborting something that wasn't defined as a "life" in your terms?

Until the pro-life side proves that abortion is NOT murder, the issue will never go away. Nor should it.

susan

My question is where does sperm fit into abortion is a female-only right. Half the equation is the male's DNA, his lineage, so why do females have total control over the end result. The focus of the debate has always surrounded the female and am wondering why males react supportively towards giving females this form of control. Is it out of a sense of guilt for having impregnated the egg? Perhaps, biologically his ability to easily 'plant his seed' allows him to forego the worry of survival.

Another question I've wondered, if the female's egg life is limited and her biological clock is determined why would she even consider aborting her off-spring?

Citizen Grim

Eh... an interesting thought, but probably would be more effective without the NewSpeak phrase "women's right to choose."

God bless the English language, but why not just call it what it is? "Abortion." The term is very specific. Much more specific than the vagueries of the euphemisms used to describe it, which is probably why those were developed in the first place. Politicians don't like to be pinned down.

Seriously, tho. Groups who oppose it can call themselves "anti-abortion," those who support it can call themselves "pro-abortion." Of course, "anti-abortion" has a sort of negative, chiseling connotation. But on the other hand, "pro-abortion" seems to suggest that abortion is the end rather than the means.

Which may be fairly accurate, in certain circles. Sadly.

newscaper

szajic --

As a solid "middle grounder" on this issue, I have examined the "reproductive information" parts of the Planned Parenthood website in depth. To a great degree it does provide information on a variety of topics and not just abortion.

HOWEVER a critical reading shows
1) that they clearly, though somewhat subtly, push abortion as preferable to adoption -- I find that really despicable.
2) it is interesting how in all of the sections on women's health and [wanted] pregancy in general, I did not find ONE SINGLE drawing (much less a photo) of the "fetus" inside a woman's uterus. Apparently can;'t have ANYTHING which might cause the potential customer the slightest bit of doubt. -- also despicable
3) they deliberately make a misleading distinction between "emergency contraception" and "medical aboriton" involving hairsplitting word games. The latter involves disrupting an implanted embryo. The former involves disrupting either fertilization itself (true contraception, ok to many) or preventing an already fertilized egg from implanting (what many religious people would view as "abortion").
I think it is again despicable that in order to protect the "morning after" pill they would be deceptive about some of its possible effects that some women might find morally
troubling.

Even if you thought Roe was on firmer constitutional ground, its impossible to see how PP finds a consititutional right for minor teens to not get in toruble with their parents, or a right for women considering abortion to not be exposed to anything whihc might make them decide against abortion after all.

For a lot of "pro-choice" people the term is reasonable, they are not really "pro-abortion" -- however on closer inspection PP is very clearly not just pro-choice but actually "pro-abortion".

Greg D

Here's the middle ground:

Roe v. Wade was an exercise in raw judicial power, that stifles debate, warps our political culture, and therefore should be thrown out.

In its place, the rule should be: The Federal Government gets no input on the subject of abortion. It's an issue for the several states to deal with.

Greg D

Oh, and possibly the key bit: If you don't then like your State's rules, move to a State with rules you like.

Jim,MtnViewCA,USA

Vladimir asks:
"Jim, Would you be as upset about the unelected judges if they were ruling your way?"
Unelected judges DO rule my way. I am pro-abortion, though squishy. I favor "safe, legal, rare" and would vote against partial birth if it was on a ballot.
In the spirit of Ed's post, I was stretching for my own personal middle ground. I am philosophically sympathetic to plight of pro-life people in the sense that their views are pre-empted by the courts.

Kyda Sylvester

What I really have trouble with is the idea that the "lifeness" or value of the unborn child...depends on the mental attitude of the mother towards the child...

Amen. In California Scott Peterson was prosecuted for the murder of Conner Peterson who, in the eyes of many, at the time of the murder was but a collection of fetal cells. What if Laci had been on her way to an abortion clinic with the intent of "terminating" Conner when Scott murdered her? What then?

I also must take issue with those who apparently believe that our highest societal value should be the ability of any female of any age in any circumstances at any time in any place to demand and receive an abortion without restriction. Indeed, many who hold this opinion deem those who do not unqualified to sit on any federal bench and most especially the Supreme Court.

Even if you hold that the Constitution guarantees abortion rights (which I do not), how is it that this particular "Constitutional" right is sacrosanct? Name another Constitutional guarantee (even those which are expressed) that isn't restricted in one manner or another. You can't.

I'm not much of a "middle grounder", but I would like to find some on this issue. There is one aspect, however, for which I seek no middle ground. The Roe v Wade decision was the worse kind of judicial activism and needs to be reversed. This is a matter for legislatures, preferably at the state level. It's the American way.

DBL

Ed,

I concur.

I don't think most Americans want to prohibit routine abortions during the first trimester. Maybe local majorities do in some states, but that's it. Most Americans probably would like to prohibit 3rd trimester abortions except to save the life of the mother or for other similarly grave reasons. I'd be happy to leave these decisions to the democratic process.


Roe v. Wade is a corrupt and corrupting decision in any event and ought to be overruled as forthrightly as possible.

Gabriel Sutherland

I'll give you a rundown of the responses I receive when I make an honest attempt to rationalize my position with feminists. I'm going to just the word feminists here, but I recognize that there are degrees of feminism.

Me: I believe that life begins at conception. Therefore, we are dealing in lives, not fetuses or non persons.

feminist: You have no right to control another woman's body.

Me: I'm not trying to control anyone. I'm trying to establish the value of life over the value of convenience.

feminist: Abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor. The government, especially men, have no role in this decision.

I won't parse words here. I'm against abortion. I do believe that our society has declined significantly in terms of understanding the sexual relationship. I'm not going to support more ways to prevent a pregnancy when it is the activity of sexual permiscuity that creates many more problems than just abortion. For this reason, you will find millions of Americans that oppose the Plan B drug, particularly the attempts to make it available OTC.

Roe is another story. I put abortion on two planes, the legal plane and the philosophical plane. Roe is an abberration in my opinion, along the lines of Plessy v Ferguson. I'd like to see Roe overturned so that legislatures can actually debate the merits of opening or restricting access to abortion. However, the "it's my body and nobody elses" argument dominates the LEGAL debate.

Chris Arsenault

What I have to say may appear harsh to many, but it is true. I will not speak in the abstract, but in reality.

In his article Ed said -

"I also believe that there is a window when a pregnancy can be ended without committing infanticide, and that within bounds set by the law this should be a decision left to a well-informed woman and her doctor."

Do you truly believe this?

I believe that the only time a medical procedure to terminate a pregnancy should be used is for an ectopic pregnancy or similar no-win condition. Such a situation is a far cry from being a 'choice'. There is no real choice or decision involved in it, should the woman continue to want to live and the medical procedure can save her life.

In every other condition abortion is life denying, not only to the aborted child, but to the rest of the world as well.

Take a good look at your children Ed. A real good look. Now picture in your mind Ed, your wife killing either one or both of your children. Is that right or wrong? That's Roe v. Wade. It's really that simple.

There is no middle ground. It is either darkness or light, life or death.
Little children are not confused by these things. We 'adults' clothe the issue with various constructs of language to try to dampen or soften the reality, but that doesn't change what it truly is.

True choice comes before conception. Getting "unpregnant" is sort of like trying to become a virgin again. You can't truly change what has transpired and return to the pristine state.

As with conception and death, there is no middle ground on this issue. Go tell your wife you settled for the middle ground in your marriage to her. Go tell your children you settled for them being born. Be hot, or be cold, but don't be lukewarm.

Other than children conceived in and raised through a marriage, every other approach to this issue devalues life and is the cause of great pain.

If you don't believe that's true, then go bury your children.

Because that's truly what you are stating you believe.

Think about it.

John

While I think Ken points out the "middle ground" upon which many American could agree, the "ground" is actually quicksand.

1. Abortions for Rape & Incest - What level of proof will be required before an abortion can be had for this reason? Will it be enough that a girl simply claim rape? If so, all girls get abortions just by claiming to have been raped, regardless of whether they were. What if the father claims the sex was consentual and wants her to deliver the baby? Will a trial be required? If so, the baby will most likely be born before the case reaches trial. What measures a girl's consent to have sex? Does "date rape" count, where the girl consents to sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but then regrets it later? If so, anyone gets an abortion who says they SHOULD HAVE said no, even when they said yes. At that point, people are getting abortions in cases of regret, not rape. This exception will include everyone who wants an abortion bad enough to cry rape until they get one.

2. Abortions for the Health of the Mother - Says who? How many doctors have to agree that the mother's life is at risk? If only one, then every town will have a doctor who considers EVERY pregnancy a risk the life of the mother. (After all, isn't it?) Does that mean a 8.5-month pregnancy can be terminated anytime any doctor thinks it is too risky to continue? This "exception" will include everyone who wants an aboriton and finds the right doctor.

There will never be a middle ground on abortion, because only the two extreme views (anytime and never) are logically consistent. The middle ground is full of hypocrisy.

Greg D

I've got a question for all those who think that there's a Constitutional Right to "control your own body":

What makes something a Constitutional Right?

Is it because We The People, through our elected Representatives, explicitly decided to limit the power of future democratic majorities by putting something outside the bounds of their laws? (Done so by passing a Consitutional Amendment that says something like "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.")

Is it because 5+ members of the Supreme Court decided to impose their will on the rest of us?

Is it because 5+ members of the Supreme Court think they can justify "interpreting" the words of a Constitutional Amendment to support such a "Right", even though no one at the time thought they were adding such a right to the Constitution?

How, exactly, precisely, does something become a "Constitutional Right"?

If you can't answer that question, then how can you possibly claim to value the rule of law?

If you don't value the rule of law, well, then, why should anyone who does listen to anything you say?

rafinlay

Life is full of hypocrisy, and the democratic method is the best we have for dealing with it in public. Of course, there have always been abortions for convenience, as well as infanticides of convenience. Anyone who wants to badly enough will disobey/ignore any law. But the legal structures we, as members of the same "community" agree upon help to mediate our conflicts. I would personally return the matter to the States, and would hope that the States would consider County-option. Yes, there will be communities which become abortion-magnets. But making it inconvenient may be more effective in the long run than making it legal. Remember when Las Vegas was the marriage/divorce capital of the nation? Are we better off now that the whole country is essentially Vegas?

J.A.M.

Check out Democrats for Life:

http://www.democratsforlife.org/

They have proposed "a comprehensive package of federal legislation and policy proposals that will reduce the number of abortions by 95% in the next 10 years." Regardless of the specific merits, they are to be applauded for trying to advance the discussion, and for defying the grip of the abortion industry on the party.

We have the most permissive abortion laws in the world. In all likelihood a substantial majority of Americans would support the legal-but-rare formulation if that accurately described reality.

M

The problem in the abortion debate stems from the struggle between individuality vs the greater good. Which one trumps?

Can you leagally command someone to support another living organism for nine months? If so, could I force you to give up your blood if I needed a transfusion? If you needed a kidney to survive, should you be able to force me to provide you one, even though doing so is detrimental to my health? That goes against the basis of our country.

At the same time, there's the whole "killing babies" argument.

The middle ground is when you realize that both sides are equally as valid and equally as unappealing.

What to do? Reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies in the first place. Increase sex education. Increase adoptions. If you really want to get crazy, fund scientific inquiries into creating a synthetic uterus.

Brett Bellmore

"I actually took the time to read the Roe v. Wade decision earlier this year, and in fact it stakes out a moderate position."

Well, yes, it does. The problem is that a few hours later, they issued a related decision, Doe, that snatched back all the reasonable aspects of the Roe decision, leaving only abortion on demand right up until the cord was cut. The way they did it was by declaring that a doctor's decision that an abortion was "medically necessary" could never be reviewed or challenged. So doctors are free to declare abortion "medically necessary" at any point in a pregnancy, for any reason or none, without any worry that their decision might be overturned. Practical result: Abortion on demand at all stages of pregnancy.

The eminently reasonable Roe trimester scheme was rendered a farce the day it was promulgated, by the very people who originated it.

Greg

Thoughtful, indeed. I'd quibble with you over Kaine and Casey, though. Kaine is like a lot of other Dems in saying he's "personally" opposed but as far as I can tell it has no bearing on his policy preferences. Casey's dad, remember, was Gov. Bob Casey, probably the last vocal pro-life Dem who (briefly) had the national stage (Zell Miller aside). The Casey clan is unequivocally pro-life, in law as well as personal life. I really don't give a damn about a politician's personal views - I want to know their policy views. I'll take a godless, anti-drug war, pro-life politician over the most saintly pro-choice Episcopalian any day.

Sean

How many people posting comments about this subject have ever taken the time to read the Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court? It's really not that long and probably does not say what you think it does. It surprised me a bit when I read it, being a pro-life guy I expected it to be crazy but it is not what you think. It talks about different rules for the three trimesters and so forth, pretty reasonable stuff and not at all like the debate that goes on today. Check it out, I dare you.

vladimir Makovitsa

Jim,

I believe you meant to quote the person beneath my post.

That would be szajic.

Patriccio

The problem with having a debate on abortion is that the pro-choice advocates refuse to commit to a coherent position on when life begins. If you ask a pro-choice supporter about when life begins, you will be given the runaround, accused of trampling on women's rights, called a bunch of nasty names, etc. But you'll NEVER be given a straight answer on when they believe life begins. This is crucial because it prevents an open debate on abortion.

Contrast that with the pro-life position: LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION. Whether you agree or disagree with that position, you must admit that it IS a position, and a very direct one at that. But where is the pro-choice position?

The aborion debate stalls less because of inflamed rhetoric and more because one of the sides refuses to participate in the debate to begin with.

So...I ask the pro-choice crowd: When does life begin? We await your response with high interest.

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