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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Time for the political discourse on abortion to evolve

With the GOP looking to reverse Obama's recent efforts to provide federal funding to abortion services, the pro-choice crowd is up in arms.

It goes without saying that pro "choice" advocates are working under the assumption that a woman's "reproductive rights" supersede a child's right to life.

Science has taught us a whole lot since Roe vs. Wade about when a fetus develops and how. It's time to cast away old euphemisms and outdated understandings to have a serious congressional debate as to what needs to be done about the abortion epidemic plaguing our country - our disenfranchised poor and minorities in particular.

The Left contends that the Right wants to "force women to have the baby of a rapist," turning her body into a "reproductive machine." Disregarding the misrepresentation of Conservative motivation here, let's consider this argument on its face for a moment.

If a woman is raped and impregnated, does she really need four months to figure out whether or not she wants to have the rapist's child? It's a legitimate question worth consideration.

Regardless, as soon as the fetus becomes a scientifically definable human being, the government is obligated to protect its right to life.

Saying a woman has the right to terminate the life inside of her because its her body that's doing the nurturing is like saying the 50% of the country who pay federal income tax have a right to terminate the other 50% who don't. Just because someone is dependent on you doesn't mean they forfeit their right to life - or that the government isn't obligated to protect them anymore.

And who's to say when a woman was raped and when she wasn't? I suppose that a baby's life is forfeit just because a mother - who suddenly decides she doesn't want to have a baby any more - knows enough about the law to tell the doctor she was "raped?" I support legislators' efforts to tighten the law in this regard.

Once past (and some would contend during) the first trimester simply saying, "I was raped, now terminate this pregnancy," is not - in and of itself - a sufficient condition for ending a human's life. I'm sorry, but it's not.

The time for pretending that only women who are raped, or at medical risk, commit abortions has come to an end. 50 million abortions (or 1/6 the current U.S. population) have been performed in the U.S. since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion - 10% of those (or 5 million) transpired after the first trimester (past when it has been scientifically proven that the baby feels pain). About one out of every three American women (35%) will have an abortion by the age of 45. In 2008 alone, there were 1.2 million "legally terminated pregnancies." That's 1.2 million American human lives snuffed out in a single year - or about three times the total number of casualties suffered by the U.S. in WWII. Where's their memorial?

The political Left insists that the government must provide a "safety net" for people's health care, education, food, unemployment, etc. But here we have an issue where millions of human lives are being prematurely terminated and the Left opposes government intervention? I'd laugh if it weren't so tragic.

A lot of pro-life ire is directed at a specific portion of the country (in 14 states, I believe), where later term abortions - a fetus from which has been proven to be sustainable outside of the mother's body - are legal. This is a process by which the fetus is sucked up with a vacuum, its skull is crushed and/or it's partially removed from the womb to have its spinal cord severed - all with nary a check or balance on the mother or doctor's claims that she was raped or is at medical risk. There is no intellectually honest argument which can justify this.

Sadly, its the poor - minorities in particular - who suffer most from the government's inaction on abortion. Abortion kills more Black Americans than the seven leading causes of death combined - and that figure isn't all-inclusive because not every state records abortions relative to ethnicity. My home state - Georgia - has the highest number of abortions among African-Americans.

It's just painful to watch the Left insist that the federal government "must" be involved in so many things that really aren't within its constitutional reach and/or authority. Yet, here, we have a clear-cut case of protecting American life, yet the Left says "hands off." We have the sixth highest abortion per capita ratio in the world.  When is it time to be "hands on?"

The 70s were a long time ago. It's time for the political discourse on this subject to evolve.

The GOP's goal is in no way to put the mother's life at risk, or to force her to have a rapist's child. The first priority is to stop federal subsidization of an act with which most Americans disagree. Beyond that, conservatives simply seek to make sure the government fulfills its responsibility to protect the life of the child. And if that means that a woman and her doctor have to fill out some uncomfortable forms to ensure no one's falsely crying "rape" or "health risk," I think that's worth a few million lives.

David Sidorsky, Columbia University Philosophy Professor, Discusses American Conservatism

This stimulating interview with David Sidorsky, a professor at Columbia University, was tipped to me by an online associate. It's a cerebral dissection and philosophical analysis of American Conservatism, and definitely worth a listen!

David Sidorsky has taught philosophy at Columbia University since 1959, and received his PhD in Philosophy at Columbia in 1962. His primary teaching and research interests are in moral philosophy and political philosophy, with secondary interests in philosophy of literature and the history of 20th century philosophy, including the history of American philosophy.

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