Thursday, December 13, 2012

Please allow me to elaborate.

I read this article by the Huffington Post Religious section, and Tweeted that it was the most bullshit I have seen in one article.  But, Twitter being what it is, is not effective or proper for giving such a response, and as a writer I realize that such comments are often not well received.  I have come to realize that criticism is not as easy to dish out once you become subject to it.  So let me take the article apart. 

First the idea that the Republicans lost based mostly on Abortion is absolutely silly.  With unemployment hovering at right around 9%, $16 Trillion in debt, and $1 Trillion+ a year in spending deficits it is pretty clear that Abortion was or should have ranked pretty low on the list of issues important to voters.  I'd also like to point out that a grand total of two republicans made truly boneheaded comments, but somehow this was used by media outlets in Print, Cable, and Internet to bash the entire Republican party.  Despite this, and despite the fact that Abortion was never really in question for most Conservatives, who wanted to make the election about the economy, Liberals kept up this "War on Women" drumbeat that made little if any sense to Conservatives.  In a post election analysis, despite the win it makes even less sense, for the reasons previously stated, unless the effort was to distract from the poor handling of the economy, and most foreign and domestic policies.

The actual issue of Abortion is one of the few issues where the usually cerebral arguments Conservatives favor over the visceral arguments the Liberals favor actually reverse. . . sort of.  You see a Conservative can sit here and explain the law of unintended consequences, and cite factoid after factoid about how the Affordable Care Act might actually increase the price of healthcare, and a Liberal will usually take about a tenth of the time by citing some horrific exception as the norm, not the exception it really is (IE: Little Jimmy had cancer and I couldn't get insurance).  There are usually deeper reasons as to why this exception is so horrific, and why it's the exception, but when presented as the norm, people tend to react in a knee jerk fashion. 

With Abortion, it is Conservatives that react in such a fashion. Yes, often religious justification is cited over legal, and for most Conservatives, that is enough.  The idea that a child could be killed, is abhorrent, to most human beings.  On a purely personal not, having seen death, and dismemberment in a warzone, there are very few arguments for abortion that overcome the sheer revulsion I feel at the idea.  The religious argument, minus the actual scripture quoting, is pretty simple.  Life is sacred.  A Human being is formed at conception.

Now in Jesus' time there were ways to chemically abort a child, there were even surgical procedures, though any surgery in that age was always seen as an extreme measure.  The concoctions that would induce a woman prematurely, or cause a spontaneous miscarriage were not the sort of thing that just anybody could get their hands on, they were expensive, and thus usually open only to nobility.  That being said, a person admitting that they had had an abortion was so rare that they were just never spoken of, indeed in an age when having a large household was a boon, and infant mortality hovered right around 30% it would be hard to justify almost any abortion.  The exception would be for a pregnancy caused by adultery (Israelites were not tolerant of perpetrators of rape, and had more societal protection of a raped woman than say Arab, and by extension Muslim women, but that is a whole other debate).  In cases of adultery a woman would literally be stoned to death.  This was stopped by Jesus, in the "let he who is without sin" passage. 

I am not a religious scholar, but there are ample times in the new testament that Jesus refers to the sanctity of life and how children are a blessing.  It is easy to see why Christians use religion when defending their positon on Abortion.  The simplest truth is that there is there are abundant numbers of passages that could refer to abortion, even in the case of incest or rape, and most major central figures in the various Christian denominations essentially agree that Abortion is not a good thing.  But the article is right there rarely are legal arguments against abortion. 

Allow me to make a few.  First.  NO ONE VOTED ON ROE V. WADE.  Say what you will but that right there shoudl bring everything to a screeching halt.  Article III makes clear that the SCOTUS can not make law, and Roe, is effectively, if not technically the law of the land.  Think about the reaction you would get if the Patriot Act were to suddenly come into being, just from a ruling (and a rather flimsy one) from the SCOTUS.

Now, before Roe V. Wade, the states had the right to outlaw abortions if the people felt it was an important enough issue.  Despite dramatic depictions of back alley abortions or coat hangers, there were no laws on the books that said a person could not go to a state where abortions were perfectly legal and have one.  Again the ruling or Roe even seems to suggest that a state had every right to outlaw late term abortions, and many of the restrictions Conservatives have tried over the years to place on Abortions are also perfectly acceptable (like have the parents notified in the case of a minor.)  On a side note Jane Roe has recently come out and spoken publicly expressing extreme remorse for what has transpired post Roe V Wade. 

Again from a purely legal standpoint, there is also the matter that if I were to murder a woman who is pregnant, even in her first trimester (and thus I might not even know she was) I can and most likely would, be charged with two murders.  If I were to kill a paramecium, no one would charge me with murder.  If I remove a cyst, which is just a "clump of cells" no one charges me with murder.  But if I end the life of a mother before the fetus is viable, then there is precedent to charge me with the murder of said child.  The law can not function if it recognizes person-hood in one circumstance but not another.  It must be always a person, or not a person until [insert metric here].

From a purely medical standpoint there is actually a very good reason that Abortions are never completely "safe".  Its the same reason that any woman whose had a C-section is at greater risk during follow on pregnancies.  Scar tissue compromises any organ.  The muscular structure of the Uterus is such that scar tissue can cause labor to be even more dangerous, essentially meaning, have a C-section once, you'll have to have them again.  That is if you can get pregnant again. 

There is also the minor mater of hemorrhage.  The Uterus during even the first trimester has the blood supply increased my an order of magnitude.  It takes weeks for it to go back to normal.  Postnatal bleeding is common, and despite the fact that there can be a lot of postnatal bleeding that is considered "normal" a woman can go into shock and die quickly if said bleeding is not monitored by trained healthcare professionals.  Even a first trimester chemically induced spontaneous miscarriage carries with it extreme risks.  The medical risks associated with abortions are somewhat glossed over when the politicians are talking about it, but they're there and its not something that any woman should take lightly.

While I could go on I want to point out something.  Liberals keep on touting the "even in cases of rape and incest".  The only major exception I personally (because I don't speak for everyone) will grant is rape.  I don't like it, and I think the punishments for rape should be made more extreme so as to do a better job deterring this.  But incest?  I need to ask in all seriousness just how many cases of incest were actually reported in the United States in the last decade.  Nationwide with a population of over 300 million, you would be lucky to find a few hundred actual cases of incest.  This particular sticking point goes back to what I said at the beginning of the article this is using the exception as the norm.  It's not an "extreme" to treat exceptions as just that. 

Abortion is not going anywhere.  Sadly.  This is something we're going to have to live with.  I think if Liberals ever stopped to wonder why Conservatives feel such horror, they might actually start to share that horror.  Actually I think Liberals need to stop demonizing Conservatives as a whole, because this tact has from 2000 till now, absolutely polarized the nation, and destroyed any chance for civility on any issue.  Our system depends on compromise.  Go look at the Virginia and New Jersey plans.  We took the better parts of both plans and framed a 4 page document that has lead this country for over 200 years.  Look at Adams and Jefferson.  Madison and Hamilton.  If we do not work together we will all suffer.

1 comment:

Pat said...

What the Dems and MSM did in 2012 is change the message to make anti-abortion extremist in nature. In previous years the theme, so to speak, was late term abortions, tax payer funded abortions, and abortions for folks who should know better. Good, bad, right or wrong, changing it to extremism was effective. Not that it cost the Reps election(s), but I think it did lose them some votes from the center. ymmv