Thursday, April 11, 2013

Person or Property - What's the Abortion Debate Really About?

Mom, Meghan and Dad three decades post-choice
A headline I saw recently announced that 694 anti-women's rights bills had been introduced in the past 4 years by evil Republican legislators.  You almost expect some bills calling for repeal of the right to vote or the right to drive cars or own property.  Every one, it turns out, is a bill seeking to curb abortions in some way or other.  Several of these "anti-women's rights" bills are about late term abortions, partial birth abortions or killing aborted fetuses that accidentally survive the procedure.

On the flip side of the debate, pro-lifers could say that 694 bills have been introduced to protect the rights of unborn children.

And therein lies the problem and the real core of the argument.  The problem with this whole debate is that it is basically a disagreement over a fundamental religious/philosophical belief.

When is it that life does begin? At what point does a newly conceived child get that "Get out of being arbitrarily killed" card.  At conception?  At six months?  When it shoves its head out of the birth canal successfully?  When it's two years old and can sass you  back as one NYSU professor has suggested.

It's a sticky debate and not quite so cut and dried as either side suggests.  Pro-life folk believe they ARE protecting rights when they support such bills.  Pro-choice folk believe they are protecting the rights of women to do what they want with their own bodies, especially where non-sentient bits of not fully formed human protoplasm are concerned.

If we were able to grow all of our kids in test tubes, so that reluctant mom's could hand them off to a lab somewhere and make them someone else's problem, things would be much easier.  Making babies would no longer have to impinge on the Mom's right to an uninterrupted career, to a stretch mark free abdomen, to avoid financial discomfort, to date guys without freaking them out or to avoid morning sickness.

Even the form of the debate is problematic. We're having a debate over what is basically a religious concept in a political forum and the loyal opposition doesn't want anything to do with religion. The trouble is that science will never be able to answer the question to anyone's satisfaction.  For all practical purposes, this issue is about when we say life becomes sacred.  God may have his opinions, but He doesn't shoot down flaming thunderbolts for individual acts that he considers evil.

Let's be clear about what we're arguing about.  We're arguing over when life begins. There is no consensus.  It's an important issue. For instance, if someone injures a pregnant woman and kills the child or "fetus" (if the idea of it being an unborn child makes you uncomfortable) then can that person be charged with murder or merely assault?  Does whether or not the murderer gets charged with murder depend on whether the woman says she wanted the child (fetus) or not?  What if she really was planning an abortion and didn't tell anyone and wants to make sure the blackguard pays the full measure of the law?  Should that power be given to one sex and one sex alone? 

If a fetus is not a person, then do men have the right to demand that a "fetus" which is half theirs be aborted if they do not want it. Do they have the right to withdraw their genetic material? It would seem that if indeed a fetus is an inanimate object and not a person, then that makes the whole issue a debate over right of ownership of the embryo. If so, then can a man prevent an abortion simply because he "owns" half the embryo? Are we prepared to go that far in depersonalizing unborn fetuses?

Sadly, this is one of those issues that God will have to decide and one issue which the side which
holds the minority opinion will have to live with when they are outvoted in this far from perfect world. I have a daughter (see picture above) that some panicked relatives told us we should abort because we happened to be in financial trouble at the time of her conception. I look at her face and am appalled that anyone could have suggested such a thing. It is why I will never be able to come to terms with abortion of any child who could have survived to become a Daddy's pride and joy. 

We have reached an impasse.
In a civilized country we would vote and be done with it.  After all, there's no other way to solve the problem than to decide among ourselves what the law will be and then to live our lives and at the end to answer to God for our decision.

I, myself, choose life!  Always life if a life can be saved no matter how small. What God does with that life is up to him. My job is to cherish the life that has been placed in my care whether I was ready or not, comfortable with the responsibility or not.

I'm just saying.

Tom King  (c) 2013


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Scientists involved in the "Study of Embryology" have now come to the belief that human life begins at conception. The Bible talks about God forming us in the womb.

There is a major black out on the News Media regarding Gosnell's Trial, who has been charged with murder for routinely aborting babies outside of the womb by slitting their spines in half while they are yet alive and breathing. Gosnell claims that this is routinely practiced in many abortion clinics, not just his.