Monday, September 01, 2008

A Hard Look At The Issue Of Abortion

Despite the hopes, dream, and I suppose you could call them prayers, of Don Fowler and Michael Moore Gustav did little damage and so far no reported loss of life in N'awlins. Thank God.

The Republican National Convention got underway today, on schedule, but with a slightly altered opening day. Again, thank God.

I now turn to a more weighty issue. Weighty not because of the story that brings the subject up, instead it's a weighty subject simply because it has sat around for years and gotten fat. No one bothers to pick it up and exercise it. Either that or it's too scary to pick up.

I've had three different Mothers-in-law, nothing scares me anymore.

The story that starts this story has been repeated untold thousands of times in the History of the world. I would hazard a guess that your family has a similar story, if not numerous versions of it. It's the story of a young woman, in love or in lust, who finds herself pregnant and unmarried. A woman less than the legal age of majority. In this case the young woman's child will find itself to be only 9 months or so younger than her youngest uncle. One of the things unusual about this story would be if your family does not happen to share a version of it. Oh, and this unborn child's grandmother has only days ago been announced as a candidate for the Vice Presidency.

Other than that last little fact, the story itself is completely unremarkable. But that last little fact IS a fact. And that's why I'm beginning this story with that story.

AnonymousIsAWoman (somebody sell her a space bar, please), Karen Duncan, has written about this story today as well. And like me, the only remarkable thing about the story that moved her to write about it is that last little fact.

Karen presumes to tell us that the young Ms. Palin would be better off not having that baby. Perhaps. I'll agree, as I'm sure her parents do, that it would have been better not to get pregnant at 17. But Karen also sees and accepts the possibility of altering that fact even now, rather than before the conception. Karen also preaches to us that her parents should have taught her more than abstinence. Now Karen, we don't know just what her parents taught her, do we?

Worse than that, Karen then uses this rather common occurrence to somehow accuse the future Vice President of forcing repeats of this story on the rest of us. Or the rest of you women, actually. She never mentions the fathers.

I'm finally getting to the weighty part of this story. The part no one else will share with you, but like I said, I ain't scared.

Karen, pray tell me what, exactly will happen next Tuesday if Roe v Wade is overturned tomorrow? If not next Tuesday, next month? Or next year?

The unfortunate answer to that question is, for the most part, and for most of us, absolutely nothing will happen. Abortions will continue to be performed. Abortions will continue to be legal. And abortions will continue to be performed as an Ex Post Facto method of birth control. The regulation of the procedure will fall back to where it has belonged all along, the state.

Sure, some states will move to a much more restrictive abortion law than currently exists. Some states (California? Massachusetts?) may move to make abortion legal until some time after birth. But on the whole, should you find yourself pregnant Karen, rest assured you will still be able to kill that little bundle of inconvenience.

Rather than blame your president, or vice president, or congressman, or U.S. senator, you need to look to your state's legislators, for that is where this battle, if you wish to call it that, will occur when Roe v Wade is inevitably overturned. Yes, like in the Dred Scott, Plessy, and several other decisions, the Supreme Court does eventually get it right. Roe v Wade is widely believed by legal scholars to be a badly flawed decision. It will eventually be overturned.

More accurately, the battle will not be fought in your state legislature, but among your neighbors. Currently, and this has been true for some time, the majority opinion in America is that abortion in the first trimester should be legal, at least in most cases. Even in Louisiana, considered the most abortion unfriendly state in the Union, 52% of respondents in an October, 2004 poll stated that abortion should be 'sometimes legal', 31% 'never legal', and 13% 'always legal'. So no one state can be considered a "slam dunk" for anti-abortion law proponents.

While I'm sure there will be loud raucous arguments in statehouses all over the land, politics will prevail. At least until the hearts and minds of the American people change.

In case you're wondering by now, I am avidly pro-life. I do realize that an abortion is sometimes considered to be a necessary medical procedure, but even then it is still the taking of an innocent life. At that time it a choice between the life of the mother and that of the child, a tough decision certainly, but one that sometimes must be made. I also believe the father, whenever possible, should be a partner in making that decision.

Whatever other factors figure into the decision, it should never just be an after-the-fact form of birth control. Regardless of how inconvenient that birth may be.

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