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Friday, September 17, 2004

Issues, Part 2: Abortion

Nicolas said:

2. I am pro-choice. While this is a hot topic across the country, so I'd like to explain my view. I am strongly against in cases of incest, rape, or where the mother or the child is at risk. I am not for it in cases where it is used as a method of birthcontrol. Some people need to get off their lazy asses and and use contraceptives or just not have sex at all! If you're not responsible enough to buy a condom and/or have the female of the relationship on a birth-control method, then you don't need to be having sex. In my opinion, this is one of America's greatest downfall, its to layzie and needs to be pro-active in living it's own lifestyle. George W. in his first 8 month of office cut federal funding for abortions even in cases of rape, and incest! This is not the right thing to do. We need more counseling sure! We need to love the people in the center od theses cases because they are victims too!
My views on abortion are rather similar to Nic's. It is an issue that is troubling for me, because I cannot accept the idea that before birth a fetus is a thing but after birth it is a person. Pre-mature babies show this distinction to be farcical. On the other hand, as a libertarian leaning conservative, I am distrustful of government involvement in personal decisions, and obviously abortion is a very personal decision. This issue hinges on the status of when a fetus is a person, something that right now science can give us no answer for, leaving us to philosophy. Basically my personal compromise is that abortion should be legal in the first tri-mester, illegal in the third tri-mester and a line should be drawn somewhere in the second. I will add in that third tri-mester abortions should be legal when the physical (not emotional) health of the mother is at risk. Abortions due to rape or incest should be able to be taken care of in the time period before the line is drawn. This answer is not totally satisfactory to me, but it seems like the best compromise available at the time. Along with this, I would argue for support of pregnant women who choose not to have an abortion but instead want adoption. As to some specific points in this debate: Federal Funding for Abortions. Much like with stem cells, using tax payer dollars to pay for abortions is a different issue that permitting or denying the procedure. A certain amount of deference needs to be made to the simple fact that taking people's money and using that money for something they find morally objectionable requires a higher bar than allowing private individuals to make their own choices. This argument can of course apply to pacificists and military spending as well, but long tradition, and large majorities support spending in such a manner while the country is more divided on abortion. It is difficult to convince me that the public has a vested interest in providing abortions to people as a method of contraception. This applies to both foreign and domestic spending. Partial Birth Abortion. I find this practice to be disgusting. In my research, I can find no evidence that this is ever physically necessary for the safety of the woman, indeed partial birth abortion seems to be more dangerous to the woman than giving birth. I know that some doctors have claimed that partial birth abortions were necessary for the health of the woman on grounds of emotional/mental health but I have little patience for the idea of killing an otherwise viable human being for your mental health. The abortion lobby is dead wrong on this issue. John Kerry, who has constantly voted against partial birth abortion bans is also wrong. Abortion as a Fundamental Right. Was Roe v. Wade the right decision? I personally believe that how issues are decided, in other words who gets to decide, is as important as what decision is reached. One can make good arguments that the Supreme Court was wrong in taking this particular decision away from the states and that constitutionally this decision should fall under the realm of the 10th Amendment
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
I am not a lawyer, but my understanding of Roe vs. Wade was that the Supreme court used the 14th Amendment to get around this. This is relevant portion of that amendment
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
This of course is a hot debate among constitutional scholars but my gut feeling tells me that although this statement can be stretched to cover abortion, such stretching lets it cover just about anything, rendering the 10th Amendment moot. One could argue the merits of the 10th Amendment, but changing it should require the constitutional process, not the solitary action of the Supreme Court. Note that I have this concern, even though I agree with the substance of Roe vs. Wade:
(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician. (b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health. (c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
I will add though, that some physicians have, I think improperly, extend the preservation of the health of the mother to include mental and emotional health, which basically makes all abortion regulation illegal which is not what Roe vs. Wade said. On other subset of the abortion debate is to whether medical people/clinics should be required to perform abortions even if they find is personally immoral. I do not think that the government has any place in compelling people to do things they find morally wrong. One could possibly make arguments for this on the narrow issue of a doctor refusing to counsel abortion even when the mother is in physical danger, but on the larger issue of voluntary or contraceptive abortion I do not believe that the government should be involved. As to the candidates, I am obviously in between George Bush and John Kerry on this. However, since our current legal system is more in line with Kerry than I am, and I do not expect any sudden or radical changes, Bush's positions in general do not trouble me. As an aside, John Kerry has said that he believes life begins at conception yet he supports abortion, even as I mentioned above, partial birth abortion. I find this dichotomy incredible and indefensible. If you believe it is a life, than abortion is murder and should not be allowed. If you believe life doesn't begin until birth, than any abortion procedure should be allowed. John Kerry is not in the middle here, he is on both extremes at once.

2 Comments:

Blogger Random Gemini said...

Abortion is a hard issue for everyone.

I will say that I believe that most people are glad that the choice is there, even if it is not one that they will ever have to make.

Better that such an operation is performed by a licensed medical professional than on a kitchen table with a coathanger.

Would I ever want one of my children to face this choice? No.

Will I support them if they end up having to make that decision? Yes.

9/17/2004 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Cubicle said...

Would I ever want one of my children to face this choice? No.

Will I support them if they end up having to make that decision? it depends.

I think you are middle of the road here. Once thing that i have not been able to get around is, the federal goverment growth thing. If you out law abortion, some onw has to take the unwanted kids?

seondly, the federal govrement does have the right to protect it citistizens (that is why we fund the army and police)

i belive that abortion falls under that area of the goverments responsiblity

9/22/2004 07:28:00 PM  

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