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« Blog, please | Main | Odd edit »

Nov 20, 2005

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Dave

Bravo, Ed. Bravo.

Like the majority of Americans, I believe I've already found that middle ground on abortion: that abortion is a moral travesty, that it's sometimes a necessary evil, and that we don't really know when "life begins," but there does seem to be some intuitive moral difference between taking a pill that stops cells from dividing versus sucking the brains out of a nine month old fetus. Those with a sense of history will remember that ancient Jewish and Christian philosophers didn't think that all abortion was the taking of a life, and that at some point beyond conception, the fetus became "ensouled" and was thus a human being worthy of the same respect as any other human being. I think that was a medieval way of describing the same dynamic that most people today also recognize: that at some point, what starts out as a clump of cells becomes a sentient being. We don't really know when that point is, but looking at things like viability, brain waves, etc, would be a good start.

Legally, this has been one of the most dead-end debates in the history of American politics. Roe v. Wade is a red herring. Even if we ended up with 5 Scalias on the Court tomorrow who decided that there was no constitutional right to an abortion, the legal question would just go back to the states, and there are less than half a dozen states that would ban all abortions. And even in those that did, people who wanted them would just hop in their car and drive across the state line. Overturning Roe would do nothing to reduce abortions. It's a silly battle, and I hope the issue is resolved very soon, as a lot of good politicians are basically unable to seek national office right now for having the "wrong" position on Roe for their respective party.

Personally, I don't think there's a right to an abortion in the Constitution. As such, a part of me hopes that Alito, Roberts, etc, vote to overturn Roe so that we can de-federalize this issue once and for all. Once the pro-life absolutists realize that pretty much no state is going to ban first trimester abortions, the wind will go out of their movement and good, pro-choice Republicans will no longer be disqualified from nat'l office. Conversely, once the NARAL types realize that most people really do want late term abortions banned, they'll shut up and go home too. And I won't have to hear either side screaming at me anymore. And that will make me very happy.

That said, I also wouldn't be surprised if Alito and Roberts both affirm the right to an abortion for at least the first trimester. If that happens, the Court will be 7-2 in favor of some abortion rights remaining in the Constitution, with 5 Republican appointees voting for those rights. Coupled with a ruling that allows states to ban late term abortions, both sides will once again realize that the battle is largely over. If President Bush couldn't appoint Justices that would overturn Roe, no GOP president will do it, pro-lifers will say. And pro-choicers will once again realize that most Americans want bans on late term abortions. Once again, people shut up and go home and I'm happy.

At the end of the day, the only thing that will truly reduce abortion is the development and availability of better contraception. When preventing a pregnancy becomes as easy flicking a light switch, you'll have no more unwanted pregnancies and, thus, no more abortions. As Feminists for Life like to point out, women deserve better than abortion. Hopefully they'll get it soon. And, once again, all the wingnuts on either side will shut up (notice a trend here?).

garrett

Bravo Ed.
Kudos to J.A.M. and Laurie K.

Abortions kills human life. That is a biological fact, not a theological tenet. The question that few have addressed is: When does human life (like a sperm cell) differ from other human life, like a fat 34 year old typing on his computer? Essentially, when is a person?

Couple of thoughts here. What would the supremes have done if the gestational period of humans was measured in any number of months not evenly divisible by three? What if it was eleven months? The fact that there is no logical progression should give you an idea of the wackiness and extra-Constitutional-ness of that court. Backruptcy law is determed state to state, driver's licenses are determined state to state, hunting laws are determined state to state, etc. The federal government should have no position on abortion.

Why is abortion not a big time issue in virtually any other country's politics? Because the elected representatives get to debate and decide. We don't. Again, Supreme Court wackiness.

Linguistics aside, it is abortion, not choice.

Oh, and as for that elusive middle ground here is some of it:

a. Parental consent. A 14 year old can not consent to having a tooth pulled, but they can consent to an abortion? More wackiness.

b. Spousal notification. Not consent, but notification.

c. Infrastructure (orphanages, a government push for adoption, etc.) to care for those that would have been aborted.

d. State or federal dollars for responsible birth control. Sure the social conservatives (and probably the GOP because of their influence) would not be behind this, but I don't remember any legislation from any lib offereing to pay for vastecomies, or tubal ligations.

e. Taxing abortions. If you want to make something rarer, tax it. We buy less gasoline because of the federal and state (and local) taxes on it. There would be fewer aboritons if there were a $10 or $100 tax on them.

f. Government protection of aboriton survivors. If a child is born alive after being suctioned out they should have the full weight of government requiring heroic measures to sustain that life.

g. Government regulation. Require roughtly the same level of government oversight and regulation from OSHA, the FDA, and the EPA that oil companies and drug manufacturers get. Also, require abortions that increase the survival rate of the unborn.

h. Counciling. Requiring every one that has an aboriton to read and sign that they understand that "there is a risk of pregnancy every time you engage in sexual intercourse."

i. Scientific study. Spend some NIH dollars and find out if abortions elevate risk of breast cancer. Find out if abortions are related to depression or suicide. Find out if the soon to be aborted can feel pain.

j. Informed consent. Explain to every woman having an abortion what the effects will be. Explain what their fetus development is.

media girl

The only way we'll have "moderate" positions on abortion will be when women get "slightly" pregnant.

The term of gestation is not an opening position for bargaining chips to be traded by politicians.

garrett

"The term of gestation is not an opening position for bargaining chips to be traded by politicians."

But isn't that exactly what the Supreme Court did? Trade some things in one gestational period, previously never defined, for concessions at other gestational periods?

Tom Grey - Liberty Dad

garret had some nice ideas.
Additional: require the women to specify who the father was.
TAX THE FATHER -- like 5% of his above average income for 18 years. (Poor, below average income folk pay 0 -- but are still recorded.) Similar financial commitment as to raising a child.

Legal abortion is a requirement for women to enjoy the same level of irresponsible sex as college men have long been enjoying. The mistake of abortion feminists is a willingness to change their behavior (and kill unwanted human fetuses), rather than making the men more responsible.

DNA testing is now cheap enough to offer this for all.

Amphipolis

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?

Being in utero is not a disease. Typically, it was through the mother's actions that the baby is in that vulnerable position. In the vast majority of cases, no one has forced her to be pregnant - it was part of the normal course of events, part of life. Unlike giving up a kidney. Unlike abortion.

And where does it end? A newborn infant needs care too. Is it OK for a mother to refuse to feed it?

Parents are not free to neglect their children.

kenshi

You might be interested in this discussion on abortion.

Daniel

I suspect that abortion -- which has divided this country internally -- will soon divide this country state-by-state. It's only a matter of time before the Supreme Court kicks at least some portion of this issue back to the states.

And I don't think that debate -- even polite, respectful debate -- is going to resolve this dispute. The lines are too deep and passionate. So we'll vote, and then we'll all live with the consequences. Those of us who live in the South are going to get to witness the results right up close.

When the economic development recruiters come back and say "Mercedes-Benz doesn't want to build its new production line here because they've got data that says they can't attract the workforce they want in a no-abortion state," people will say, "Well, good riddance." And when NC State isn't able to recruit the best engineering faculty anymore because people don't want to live in that kind of place, we'll say "Well, good -- who wants a bunch of liberal professors anyway!"

And when the biotech industry and the software companies and the nano-tech developers and all the other growth sectors of our 21st century economy settle in the blue states, we'll jeer them. We'll still have... what? Textiles? Nope.

Trucking, I suppose. We'll still have trucking.

garrett

Oh Daniel, get over it.

If companies were ever going to limit themselves based upon the abortion legislation of a state, they would already be limiting themselves on other social legislation. Why would Mercedes-Benz even care?

Nissan just announced that it was moving all of it's California facilities (including their American HQ, I think) from California to Tennessee. It is cheaper and the workers more productive in Tennessee.

Accords are made where? Is it Ohio? Camrys are made where? Kentucky? Lots of red state-ness there already, I really don't think that they are going to pull up roots and leave because one has a 22 week limit on pregnancy terminations and a different state has a 30 week limitation.

Oh, and I didn't want to leave out those fablous research engineers. IMHO, they are the biggest whores out there, they go where the money is period. That is not meant to be a slam, but research engineering is one of those things (like being a movie director) where you are absolutely dependent upon the largess of others. As long as UNC, Georgia Tech, MIT, Los Alamos Nat. Lab., Oak Ridge Lat. Lab, Poly Tech, et al. keep having the funding and the coolest toys they will continue to attract the best talent. And besides, professional engineer types are paid well enough to buy a plane ticket to friendly blue state X for abortions.

And as for those

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