Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Abortion, the big debate. I was thinking about the debate over abortion when I was reminded of the Lacie Peterson case. She was murdered by her husband Scott Peterson who was convicted of 2 counts. You see Lacie was pregnant at the time and so this premeditated and intentional killing included the killing of a second human being, the fetus she was carrying.

I understand the standard used to determine whether the fetus counted for a second murder was that of a heart beat and brain activity. This seems to point out a shocking double standard. When a woman sets out to have an abortion, she ultimately designs to kill a human being.

I have thought a lot about this issue. I like to use a mental exercize where I suppose a cyst was found inside me that some how was developing molecules that it was discovered could be very useful to the human race. Although scientists, religious people, government officials and others may feel urgently that I should be compelled to allow the cyst to continue to grow within me for many months because of its beneficial possibilities, I still would reserve the sole discretion as to whether to have it removed. Especially if there was a credible threat to my life from carrying it. I am male. So this helps me understand, somewhat, what it might be like to face pregnancy, atleast in a social sense.

As a human being myself, I believe men, women who aren't mothers, women who can't have children and all other human beings have the right to have an opinion about abortion and even influence the country's laws regarding the matter. I don't want the government telling me how to use my body any more than a woman does. In the case of child bearing, however, there is no escaping the fact that another human being is invovled, a being with its own rights and destiny.

The fate of an unborn human being is closely entwined with the fate of its mother and with all due honor, its destiny is in the hands of its mother. I don't believe a woman should be allowed to choose life or death for a fetus without the same kind of consequences that follow choosing to kill any other human being, whether or not the fetus could survive on its own. I think abortion is akin to leaving a newborn on the side of a highway in the freezing cold with no food. Except that, in an abortion, especially a late term abortion, more must be done to end the life of the fetus than this.

Yet, There are so many intertwining issues. Women should not be socially left helpless to care for children they can ill afford. Also, proper medical care and food for a pregnant and new mother and perhaps her other children need to be readily available if there is to be an alternative course of action to abortion. Even if a woman were to give up her child for "adoption" once it was born, this does not ensure that society will help to bear the social and literal costs of carrying the pregnancy or childbirth.

In an ideal world women would never become pregnant unless they desired to be pregant with purpose and intent. For that to be possible, sex education, contraceptives and other social support needs to make a 180 degree turn and improve in major ways. Why isn't the prospect of killing a fetus undesireable enough for us to overcome any discomfort with sex education and birth control?

I would say to religious conservatives that if you want to respect life so much, teach children all about its processes with detail and clarity that is as great as possible as early as they can understand it all, which may be sooner than we would like it to be. Let pro life energy be put into sex education and contraceptive promotion to adults as well.

Rape is an illness whose root causes need to be socially examined and treated. To impose upon anyone the decision about whether to propogate the genes of a violent criminal is part of the violence of a rape that results in a pregnancy. I believe that emergency contraception should be available to a rape victim and that she should have the option of deciding to abort a child, hopefully as early as possible, if at all. Already I can see trouble brewing with this stance. What if criminal proceedings eventually find that there was not a rape committed. Also, If no other abortion is available, is the possibility of making a false claim of rape now a tempting option? I am not implying that this is a common way of thinking...but when women, desperate to abort a pregnancy (that may or may not have resulted from a rape) have gone to the length of using coat hangars in alleys, threatening their own lives, then many other similar things are possible.

When a woman's life is in danger because of pregnancy, she should have some legal options under a doctor's care.
A healthy woman who was not raped should not be allowed to halt a pregnancy once she has chosen to initiate one. It should be so because a woman should not be able to decide life or death for another human being. She has brought this being into existence by her actions and now has a social repsonsibility to this person, as do we all.

Somewhere in a reasonable public debate, we can all come to terms with the issues surrounding the propogation of our species. The path to pregnancy is full of conscious choices and so there are responsibilities. What is "my body" is my body, but what is someone else's body, even a body dependent upon my blood, is still someone else's and not mine. I should not be able to kill that being through premeditated intentional action.

Suppose abortion were outlawed with the exceptions mentioned. A woman's options are still her own. She is still free to choose not getting pregnant. She is protected by law if she should be raped or be medically threatened with death. Sounds simple enough. Though, I have found that nothing ever is quite so simple.

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