May 30, 2005

Pro Life

Armando has an interesting post up at dKos talking about why abortion is different from other privacy issues. I've linked to the story only version, but I recommend clicking through to the commented version for gems like this:

I respectfully disagree - there is a clear way ... to argue with the fundamental basis of their position. They base their entire argument on their belief that life begins at conception. As my emphasis highlights, this is their belief, more specifically it is their religious belief. It is a belief that my (branch of my) religion does not share. As a Conservative Jew, I believe that life begins when the soul is imparted by God and that this seminal event occurs at birth.

Which belief is the correct one? Immaterial. The fact that it is a religious belief is all that matters. The 1st amendment to the Constitution takes over - to (badly) paraphrase, Congress shall pass no law that codifies the beliefs of one religion. Any law that outlaws abortion based on the premise that it is the taking of a life presupposes that there is a life to be taken, something that cannot be known with any certainty. The closest we can come with science is to use the concept of viability - which is exactly what the courts have done.

I should also add that centuries-old (more like millennia-old) Jewish legal tradition grants a without-question alive person greater status than the potential life of a fetus and dictates that saving life is of paramount importance. So, should a pregnancy endanger the life of the mother, it is not only allowed, but required that the pregnancy be terminated.

Clearly any law that prevents the termination of a pregnancy without an exception for the health of the mother runs afoul of the 1st amendment.

by jsmagid on Sun May 29th, 2005 at 16:06:10 PDT

As to jsmagid's last point, this is exactly why the Republicans won't insert health exceptions in their late-term abortion bans. They know that legal enshrinement of abortion until viability, and only health, rape and incest exceptions following that point would result in ... (drum roll, please) ... almost exactly the same rate of abortion that we have currently. They don't want to allow that because their goal is forced pregnancy and social control of women through the fear of pregnancy.

An interesting discussion surrounded this comment about which position was better characterized as pro life, as well as an insistence that the argument was beyond reframing. I reserve the right to be amused.

Posted by natasha at May 30, 2005 12:29 PM | Women | Technorati links |

"I believe that life begins when the soul is imparted by God and that this seminal event occurs at birth."

Is that before or after the suck the babies brains out of its skull?

Posted by: JC Bob at May 31, 2005 10:56 AM

Do you read and consider these things, or just robotically spout platitudes that have the phrase 'little baby' substituted where needed? The Supreme Court standard is that there are no restrictions up until viability, and after that, the only constitutionally protected cases of abortion are typically for the exceptions of rape, incest, or the life and health of the mother.

A late pregnancy abortion is a medically risky procedure that happens less than 5,000 times a year in this country, with the vast majority of abortions happening in the first trimester when the fetus could in no conceivable way be viable outside the womb, nor especially resemble your vision of a cuddly, full-term infant. Late-term abortions are most commonly performed when the fetus is anencephalic, i.e. has no brain and will die within minutes of birth, is already dead and can't be delivered normally without serious risk to the mother, or when normal delivery would likely cause the crippling, sterility, or death of the full grown and definitely alive mother.

In fact, most of the gruesome pictures of aborted near-term infants that freakish protestors like to carry in front of clinics are pictures of anencephalic babies that were aborted to give their mothers a chance at health or life, and possibly a healthy baby sometime down the road. Sometimes this necessary medical procedure even has to be performed for women who very much want a baby, though the deck was stacked against them that time around.

Why don't you look for some of their stories instead of listening to people whose concern for women and children begins at fertilization of the egg and ends at the boundaries of the womb.

Posted by: natasha at May 31, 2005 09:29 PM