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Monday, July 11, 2005

Abortion V: The Debate Goes On …

With the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor from the Supreme Court, both sides in the abortion debate are jockeying for position in an attempt to influence the selection of O’Connor’s replacement.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is arguably the most controversial decision ever handed down by the Court. Supporters are wringing their hands that a shift in the court might result in Roe being overturned. Opponents are hoping for just that.

This missive is an attempt, feeble as it may be, to cut through the rhetoric on both sides of this debate and discuss this issue from an analytical viewpoint.

The term abortion, as used here, refers only to those abortions that do not involve pregnancies resulting from rape, incest, etc. or are performed in order to save a woman’s life.

I refer to those that wish to maintain the status quo as “pro-Roe” and not “pro-choice.” I find that term diminishes the gravity of the issue, reducing it to nothing more than a decision akin to plain or peanut. Of course, that is what supporters of that position prefer – promoting the notion that the decision to abort a pregnancy is no different than choosing a flavor of ice cream.

Likewise, I will refer to the “pro-life” position as “anti-Roe” as I honestly do not believe anyone is anti-life. I also assert that the anti-Roe side does a disservice to their cause when referring to the other side as “pro-abortion.” I will offer that none but the most insensitive, when faced with the decision, eagerly seek to have an abortion. Having no first-hand experience, I can only surmise that doing just about anything would be preferable to a visit to a clinic for the purposes of an abortion.

Just what are the pros and cons of legalized abortion? There are of course many cons, paramount of which is the death of a human being before he or she can draw first breath.

The pro-Roe supporters argue that a “fetus” is not a human being. This basically comes down to semantics, but I will point out that every one of those supporters was also a fetus at one point in time.

There is also little doubt that most women that have abortions, again other than the most selfish and callous, eventually suffer emotional repercussions. Their lives are forever changed. Two lives (at least) are negatively affected by every abortion.

Are there positives to legalized abortion?

The pro-Roe position is that legalized abortion gives women control over the reproductive decision and fear that a reversal of Roe v. Wade would restrict the right of a woman to choose when she has a child. The problem with this position is that women had the right and ability to choose long before Roe and continue to have that right today. That “choice” is made several months before a woman is faced with the prospect of an abortion, if you know what I mean. Legalized abortion allows a “mistake” that could have been avoided in the first place, to simply be wiped away. No fuss, no muss.

In the book Freakonomics, economist Steven D. Levitt makes the case that the legalization of abortion beginning in 1973 has a very strong statistical correlation and may explain the dramatic drop in crime rates in the 1990s.

Levitt cites studies that indicate that the women most likely to have abortions post-Roe were the women least likely to be able to provide a secure home environment for a child. It is children that grow up in such environments that are most likely to turn to a life of crime.

Levitt’s analysis, however, concludes that even if one could assign a value of 100 fetuses to equal the value of one newborn, the annual “cost” of legalized abortion is 15,000 lives, far more than the number of homicides “saved” by legalized abortion.

On balance, it would seem that the loss of life and the emotional scars carried by women (and their families) that have abortions outweigh the benefits of reduced crime (if there is a direct cause and effect) and the convenience of “cleaning up a mess” of a poor decision.

For all the rhetoric and hyperbole on both sides of this issue, there can never be a middle ground to the abortion debate. Those that believe that abortion is murder will never believe otherwise. Those that believe that having an abortion is a woman’s “right” and that a “fetus” is just tissue aren’t likely to change their views either, at least not until it is too late.

While it is undeniably true that many aborted babies would not be born into situations conducive to a full and productive life, the bottom line is that a society, such as ours, that values life is diminished when life may be terminated so easily.

By Jan Larson @ AmericanDaily.com

Next, let's take a closer look at Roe v. Wade ... What if Roe v. Wade were overturned in the future by replacement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the US Supreme Court?

More comments at ...


Blogger La Bona said...

email comment from Craig: -

In regards to the questions you presented me, I'd be more than happy to share my opinions/experiences.

1) "I am inviting your views on ABORTION in order to present a case to help those in the developing world."

By developing world, are you referring to Third World countries? I'll assume you are, and will address this preamble to your line of questioning.

2) I personally see abortion as a NECESSARY EVIL and that unwanted pregnancy is not only a personal problem and it is also a very real problem for the society at large.

I don't believe any evil is "necessary." This is thinking that is the result only of a fallen world...a world that doesn't recognize a higher authority to which they must answer for their actions. Therefore, evil is only "necessary" by those that seek to justify it for one reason or another.

Secondly, I don't believe there is such thing as an "unwanted pregnancy." Granted, some women may find themselves pregnant and don't wish to be, but there are plenty of people in this world that are more than willing to take care of the child that the birth mother does not wish to have. Therefore, no life that is created is ever, under any circumstances, "unwanted."

I agree that children that are not wanted ARE indeed a "personal" problem...not only for the mother, but the child as well. I've heard of testimony of abortion survivors that have had to struggle with the fact that their birth mother was willing to kill them, because the child posed a supposed disruption in their day to day life. I'd also agree that abortion is a problem for society at large, because society at large has allowed it to take place. As such, I believe society at large will have to answer for allowing abortion to take place in the first place.

3) Do you think it is right to burden say a 15 years old school-going girl with a new life when she is yet to have any economic mean to sustain herself and obviously, most girls of her age are not mentally ready for a family life.

I'd like to ask why the issue of adoption has seemingly escaped your notice. Why do you automatically assume that this girl that isn't ready to be a mother HAS to keep the baby, or HAS to have it killed? There are literally millions of people across the face of the globe that are more than willing to take in a child and give it a secure, stable homelife, where it will be loved and cared for dearly.

Also, was this 15 year old ever told that she doesn't HAVE to have sex before she's married, and old enough to handle the responsibility of having sex, and as a result, having a child? Has she been told that despite what many people tell her, that there IS such thing as "self-control", and that she can avoid the "problem" of being pregnant, by simply abstaining from sex until she's in a secure, stable relationship? People in modern society seem to have this pessimistic view that humans are no better than animals when it comes to the issue of self-control. They just automatically assume that kids ARE going to have sex, and that nothing can be done to prevent it. I patently disagree, as I'm a living example of controlling my urges until I was married, and able to handle such a responsibility. My wife is an example as well. And I can point out PLENTY of people that made the conscious decision to wait for such a relationship until they were able to maturely handle the consequences of such an action with another person. It's not about being "holier than thou" if that's what you may be thinking. It's simply a matter of self-control, and mature behavior. It CAN be taught to teenagers...and many teens WILL listen.

4) Furthermore, is it fair to rob her of her career, aspiration, dream etc., in the name of preserving a life that is yet to be fully developed?

Is it fair to rob an innocent human baby of life itself in the name of convenience? I would argue that life itself is more precious than a career, aspirations, dreams, etc. Our Declaration of Independence that ALL humans have the right to LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Notice that LIFE comes before liberty, and even the pursuit of happiness. When we denegrate the value of ALL human life, our society is headed for trouble (as already can be seen in our "civilization.")

You yourself admit that it is a LIFE that is being destroyed. Since when do we have the right to assign value to life based on stage of development? What gives us the right to say that a human life that hasn't yet moved to the other side of the birth canal has less a right to life than one that HAS been born? What sense does that make? Where is the line along human development that we say, "This person has the right to live and have that right to life protected, but this person doesn't?" What sort of twisted "ethic" do we use to determine that?

I don't think issues of "fairness" can be intelligently discussed until we agree that life itself needs to be protected...ALL life. I don't even remotely begin to understand someone trying to compare "saving a career" and "saving a life." To be, that smacks of the ultimate in self-centeredness.

Again, I'd like to encourage you to explore the wonderful world of adoption to answer many of the "questions" you seem to have regarding the "problem" of "unwanted pregnancy." My wife and I for one, are joyous that the birthmother of our foster son (and soon to be adopted son) chose to carry through with her pregnancy, and give Eban the chance of living life. She knew she couldn't support him, and take care of him. She also knew she didn't have to KILL him in order to take care of the "inconvenience"...that there were people around her that would be willing to take her child in and give him a chance at life in a family that COULD take care of him.

Thank you for allowing me the time to share with you my thoughts on the issue of abortion, and the preciousness of ALL life. I hope it gave you something to consider, and present to your audience.

In His Service,

10:25 PM  
Blogger La Bona said...

email comment from Jez: -

I don't believe in evil. I don't like abortion.

However, I believe in freedom of choice. Therefore abortion should be and remain legal.

I think pharmacists should do their job or not be pharmacists.



10:26 PM  
Blogger La Bona said...

email comment from Martin B. Brilliant: -

I notice that I did not make clear my position as a secular humanist.
Briefly, it is this:

If we declare that the mother and the fetus are both persons, we have
a conflict, because the relationship infringes the right of the mother to the pursuit of happiness without imposing a corresponding burden on the fetus. The mother might be willing to accept that infringement, or she might not.

I define a "person" as a party to the basic social contract of "I respect your rights, you respect mine." Each party to the contract assumes a responsibility to respect the rights of the other parties.

A fetus can't assume the responsibilities of a person, therefore it isn't entitled to the rights of a person.

If only one of the two, mother and fetus, can be a person, it's obviously the mother. The fetus will become a person when it's capable of living without having to burden a specific person, that is, when the mother can say "let somebody else take care of it/him/her."

10:31 PM  
Blogger La Bona said...

email comment from Eetion Narcisse

As for the abortion issue:

The only case in which an abortion might seem to be a necessary evil
would be rape. In the case of a rape, before advising someone to abort
a fetus, I'd suggest a gracious alternative to fetus-killing; under
the circumstances, the karma gods might love someone much more if
instead of aborting they did something a little less self centered -
something like putting the fetus up for adoption as soon as possible.

All advice aside, it's truly in the arms of the mother's discretion.
The phrase "it's your baby" never felt so unreal until she had to live
with the fact that she painted the walls red instead of looking for a
surrogate family. And the bitch of it all is for one lowly human to be
unnaturally mandated the responsibility of playing god.

On a lighter note:

wassssaaaaap la bonda. how was your day? mine was very very...well i
had a problem. i started to look at the clock while at work. and for
me, that means that i'm ready to GO GO GO GO HOME or maybe i'm just
ready to do anything else but work. how can a person go 8 hours a day,
7 days a week, and NOT LOOK at the clock while they're at work.

i'm looking for... advice! and not the kind of advice that I can
formulate on my own without much thought. help me out if you can

10:32 PM  
Blogger La Bona said...

email comment from Ashley Haavik

You want my views on abortion?

That's a first, even though I'm a sixteen year old female (detect the irony there)- you'd think my demographic would be questioned more often given the topic...

I feel that the subject boils down to faith. I mean Catholics assume the expected role of those who would would be opposed to abortion. Buddhists and Pagans are the antithesis, and would be in favor of it just to spite the catholics... Who cares about the topic of CONTROVERSY anymore? It all boils down to the perpetual dueling of faiths.

But you're talking to a teenage girl, who would drop dead before sacrificing her life and her youth in place of a newborn. I suppose you could call it a "necessary evil", but that title seems so harsh. How is it evil? Accidents happen and you can't control them. The world's overpopulated anyway. I'll have my children when I'm good and ready - at 35 years old.

Should I hit any bumps the road?

I'll have an abortion.

10:34 PM  
Blogger La Bona said...

email comment from Ting: -

The topic of abortion brought back memories of a biology lesson I had. In addition to the educational aspect of the subject matter, my secondary school teacher felt that she should make her views known. It was a simplistic one: Abortion should never be an option. Not under any circumstances. At that time, I wondered if she would hold the same opinion if the pregnancy was the result of a rape.

Abortions should not be denied to anyone because they might have personal reasons to choose to terminate the pregnancy. Maybe they are not mentally prepared to welcome a new life to the world. Maybe they do not have the financial capabilities to take care of the child. The latter, especially, would be relevant in developing countries where monetary aids might be harder to come by. It would not be fair to the parents or to the unborn child to forcefully compel the continuation of the pregnancy.

Furthermore, what is to separate the termination of a life if its continuation will cause harm to the mother and that of the case where the unborn is not wanted at all? If driven to the brink of desperation, the mother may seek unorthodox and potentially more dangerous means of abortion.

While the debate about when a life is truly considered "alive" rages on, it would be useful to take the perspective of the unborn itself. Would it be humane to have a child who will be despised by its parents or who will have to suffer in life because its parents do not have the economic means to sufficiently provide for it?

There are also societies that do not take kindly to single mothers. What will be the fates of these women who are shunned by the world they live in? And what will happen to the children they are forced to have because abortion is not a choice given to them?

All in all, abortion should be an option that is opened to all pregnant women. There is no sense in having a child when you cannot take care of it financially or emotionally. And no one should be pushed to continue such an unwanted pregnancy.

10:35 PM  
Blogger GrumbleGrouch said...

La Bona: in answer to your specific question, "What if Roe v. Wade were overturned?" Women would suffer injury and death as a result of illegal "back-alley" abortions, just as they did before abortion was legal.

To comment on two other remarks: "Leavitt [says] the legalization of abortion ... may explain the dramatic drop in crime rates in the 1990s" and "most women that have abortions ... eventually suffer emotional repercussions." Women who do not have abortions, and instead have children they're not ready for, can suffer more than emotional reprecussions. The crime rate that Leavitt cites is a very crude measure of family dysfunction. Unwanted babies are sometimes the source of unexpected happiness, but they are often the source of severe unhappiness. And, to respond to one of Craig's remarks, adoption also has emotional repercussions, for both the mother and the child.

Craig also asked "was this 15 year old ever told that she doesn't HAVE to have sex before she's married?" I'd say that's a moot questions. Law and psychology both recognize that teenagers are not fully responsible for their actions, because they are not fully capable of foreseeing the consequences of their actions. They are more inclined to take risks than mature adults, and it is our responsibility as adults to help them get past that stage and become successful adults themselves.

For the record, I totally agree that "none but the most insensitive, when faced with the decision, eagerly seek to have an abortion." It's always a hard choice.

8:36 AM  
Blogger The Senior Youth said...

Here's a thought:
At my local hospital there is a poster outside the xray rooms. It is of a little baby in the womb exclaiming, "Please, don't forget to tell them I'm in here!" It seems that when it suits us, the death of an unborn life is a tragedy, something that should be avoided. But that doesn't seem to get in the way when we decide that this life isn't convienant for us.

3:55 AM  
Blogger The Senior Youth said...

I also just read the previous comment by grumble grouch who suggested that teenagers are not fully responcibile for their actions. That is a very dangerous line to walk down and surely based on definitions and semantics rather than any real moral reality. If a teenager murders before their 18th b'day it can be argued they were not fully responcible, 24 hrs later, they are a fully responcible adult? Does that strike anyone else as weird? Removing responcibility for peoples actions, whoever they are, is one of the big contributing factors to a lot of the mess we've got ourselves in.

3:59 AM  

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WARNING: Blind obsession with prophecy can be perilous or even fatal, reader discretion is advised! Submitted to God as His worldly Activist on a non-exclusive basis since June 15, 2005 1:00 am ET. “La Bona” is a professional name inspired by God; it means "The Righteous", “The Virtuous” or simply “The Good” in Esperanto (a neutral international language). DivineTalk® is an Open Commentary Forum dedicated to God for His Children to engage in dialogue, discourse and debate on laws, standards and values on morality, lifestyle, ethics, business and just about anything else related to their life. God enlightened to have His Words improvised and updated with the prevailing circumstances so that the divine guidance, dogma and policy will evolve with time and stay relevant to His Children in the very era they live in as the way forward. La Bona is a Truth Seeker, Myth Buster, Freedom Fighter, Cyber Activist, Liberal Animal, Good Samaritan, Messiah Wannabe and in order to serve His Children of diverse backgrounds, La Bona is motivated and aim to eventually multitask as Divine Representative, Contemporary Prophet, Celestial Executive, Deity Clairvoyant, Holy Spiritualist ...

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