2021 July 14

     Abortion is a hot button these days. I'm a libertarian-conservative who is pro-choice on this issue. In a sea of Facebook liberal garbage I'm disappointed to see the same sort of garbage from the conservatives on this issue. There are social, religious, and political reasons to be on the choice side of abortion.

     Let's put some emotional banter out of the way. First, "Life begins at conception. An embryo is alive." Yes, it's alive, and life begins a long time before conception. After all, the gametes that meet to form a zygote are alive. I'll point out the broccoli I ate last night was alive. The wood in your desk was alive. It sounds noble to preserve life, but it's not terribly practical never to kill anything anytime.

     Second, "A fetus has a heartbeat." We kill lots of things with heartbeats. The steak you ate last weekend had a heartbeat, so did the chicken from last night's dinner. The eight-point buck you shot on your last hunting adventure had a heartbeat, too. Even the rats we call exterminators to kill have heartbeats. A heartbeat isn't a good standard for universal prohibition against killing.

     Third, "A fetus sucks its thumb and acts otherwise human." Do we know that fetal chimpanzees don't suck their thumbs? Again, this isn't a good standard for universal prohibition against killing.

     Fourth, "We transplant organs to and from the pre-born." We transplant organs from pigs. Biological similarity is not itself a sign of sanctity. We need something more.

     Fifth, on the other side, "My body, my choice." If a woman were forced to carry a two-year old in a backpack, then we wouldn't argue she can kill it because it's attached to her body. I'm sympathetic to the notion that pregnant women should have more say in the abortion choice than other people but the issue is the sanctity of fetal life, not who has to carry the unborn fetus to term. Besides, if we're going to argue about choice, then doesn't a woman have the choice not to get pregnant?

     So here's the deal. The legal issue is the preservation of human life in a free society. So when is life human and how should a free society deal with it?

     I'll point out that the Facebook-meme argument that abortion is "killing babies" is just as stupid as the memes saying I'm "stingy" because I don't want to feed somebody by taxing somebody else. If a fetus is human, then we shouldn't be allowed to kill it and, if not, then it's not a baby. We need to find a good, universal, freedom-respecting legal definition of when a fetus becomes human. Is that hard to understand?

     When is life human? A practicing Jew, Christian, or Muslim has a simple answer. It's in the Book of Genesis, the most primal source, Chapter 2, Verse 7. Adam became a human being when God breathed life into him. This is interpreted by Talmudic scholars through history that first breath is when a pre-human fetus becomes a human baby. Jewish practice is not to mourn a stillborn fetus and Jewish practice goes a little further in that a baby less than a month old is not mourned as we otherwise mourn the loss of human life.

     One not bound to biblical law might feel differently, but science has no answer for when humanity begins. There is no science that tells us whether or not an eight-cell blastula, an eight-week embryo, a twenty-four-week fetus, or a full-term just-unborn is human. We have different points of view and a free society with good free law has to find a solution that protects people with their different points of view.

     How should the law deal with ending fetal life? You may feel fetal life is sacred as human, even embryonic life. I may agree with whoever wrote the Book of Genesis that first breath is a good division between non-human and human. I'm comfortable it's human once it's a breathing baby and should be protected by law. One who ends the life of a biologically-self-sufficient baby is a murderer. As there is a large body of well-accepted thought supporting birth as a dividing line, our American society should "round up" to the most free choice. If a community of people wants to agree among themselves that a fetus, or an embryo, or even a blastula, is sacred human life, then I'm okay with that. I'm uncomfortable having the force of government decide, for all Americans, humanity begins before it's a breathing baby.

     I understand your point of view if you're pro-life on this issue. I certainly believe that government should never violate that by funding abortion in any way. It's not a matter of who is right, it's showing some respect for those who regard the unborn as human. I don't think they're wrong, only that the universal law of the land should not enforce their view. I would not be uncomfortable with a requirement that a removed late-term fetus be given a chance to breath and, if it does, then it's a baby, human under the law.

     Roe v. Wade is bad law. It suggests there is some constititutional mandate that abortion is okay. There isn't any such mandate in the Constitution. A free society leans toward giving people as much choice as possible, but if an individual state's population wants to ban abortion, the Constitution of the United States of America insists the federal government take no position. (In 2020 March I stood in the room where the twenty-six senators passed the Bill of Rights, including the Tenth Amendment. There were no anti-abortion laws in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was signed.)

     So where do I stand on Planned Parenthood? That's easy, they're an organization founded on the most vile principles of eugenics pseudo-science and racial hate. Margaret Sanger's vision of a kinder, gentler genocide through forced sterilizations and abortions is not nice and not proper in any way. I can be pro-choice on abortion without condoning the history and heritage of the Planned-Parenthood institution. (So long as they take no government money I have no problem with private citizens supporting them. I'm told they do good things in this century.)

     Whatever its moral justification, or lack of it, I'm told Roe v. Wade in 1973 was followed by a dramatic drop in crime by 1993. I believe unwanted children become unwanted adults, so there is a social reason for abortion. It's not a justification for killing human babies, but given the scientific and maybe religious ambiguity on the issue, voluntary abortion has been a positive social thing.

     Here's the tougher question: Would I reject a conservative platform because I disagree on its position on abortion? Absolutely not! We can disagree on one or two issues and still have a consensus on a platform. I have given this issue considerable thought with considerable intellect, I wish more conservatives saw it my way, but it's not going to stand between me and a community that respects America's fundamental values and stands against a community that flagrantly does not.




     2022 June 24, Friday. Now that the United States Supreme Court has overturned their earlier Roe-versus-Wade decision, two interesting things stand out.

     First, the immediate first response has to be protecting the lives of Supreme Court judges who made the decision. When Republicans lost their stolen elections, they left peacefully, no revolt, no violence. When the Democrats lose something they care about they react with violence and hate. When Trump won in 2016 they painted swastikas on Jewish graves. Our first reaction has to be managing the expected violent retaliation from the left.

     Second, there will be no rational discussion, probably from either side. If abortion is murder, then murder is a state issue and there is no Constitutional issue. (If a decades-old Supreme Court decision said it was a Constitutional issue to prevent the killing of specifically Hungarian Americans more than six feet tall, would we believe it? If it were repealed, then wouldn't we expect the states to protect these people from murder just as they have been expected to do all along? If an unborn fetus is not human, then why create a specific Constitutional mandate not to protect it?) I don't believe abortion is murder, the Bible doesn't believe abortion is murder (at least some of it, at least the part we call "Torah," the law), but it's a state issue in any case.




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