19 November 2004

The Abortion Issue and the Issue of Abortion

The Abortion Issue and the Issue of Abortion

Just looking at that word on the screen makes almost everyone cringe. For many people, it’s the one issue that “pushes the button” and sends folks into fits of incoherent rage. On both sides. If you will bear with me, and take everything in context and hear me out, maybe I can shed my personal light on these two troubling issues.

“Two issues?” you may ask. Yes, two issues: the Abortion Issue and the Issue of Abortion. “Sophistry!” you cry. Not at all. There are two distinct issues at stake here, let’s explore them both. So go refill your drink (make it a double) or get a fresh cup of coffee or nuke some popcorn or whatever you do to bunker down. I promise to try to keep this as short as possible, after all, I don’t have Bill Whittle’s bandwidth.

First, let’s explore The Abortion Issue, the campaign plank that all political parties have. “Where do you stand on the Abortion Issue?” Candidates across the board are asked that question ad nauseum. It has even filtered down to the infinitesimally local level. We have a family friend who is the elected Clerk of our municipality. Being a good incumbent democrat, the first line in her campaign literature is that she in a “pro-choice township clerk”. I am not making this up, if I could post the image, I’d scan in her campaign literature and include it with this post. But, alas..... May I ask a (not so) rhetorical question? What does the township clerk’s position on the Abortion Issue have to do with their ability to do the job at hand? Really, WTF? I don’t give a damn what the dog-catcher’s views on the Abortion Issue are, just as long as there aren’t rabid dogs roaming the streets of suburbia. The Clerk’s job is to properly register voters (a really scary thought based on personal experience), record deeds, and other clerky type activities. The last time I checked, medical procedures do not fall within the jurisdiction of the local Clerk’s office.

Which illustrates the point. The Abortion Issue is defining. It instantly polarizes the audience, chiseling a line into granite that is difficult for anyone to cross. And just because the example presented is of a democrat hawking the Abortion Issue, don’t be fooled. There are an equal number of republicans running for Library Trustee or whatever who prominently display their position on the Issue.

Here’s the deal. Both sides profit from the Issue. Refer back to the previously unpublished “Heywood’s First Maxim on The Big Issues” as follows:

Never base your vote on an issue on which both sides have a vested interest in the status quo.

Simple, concise, right to the point. I like it. “But what do you mean, Heywood?” Good question, allow me to explain.

Every election cycle, particularly a Presidential election, this Issue is front and center. And why not? It’s a big generator of cash for both sides.

You see, dear reader, the republicans go out campaigning, preaching to the faithful, that they are “this close to ending the scourge of abortion forever”. Yes, if the republicans are elected, they’ll work day and night to make sure that not another abortion is ever performed in this country. “Righteous, brother” the faithful say, “How much do you need?” as they reach for their checkbook.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the democrats are out campaigning that unless they are elected, the evil republicans are going to “take away the right to choose” and the nazi’s will take control and no one will ever be free to choose again. “Far out, man” their constituents say, “Dude, lemme write you a check”.

Both sides raise a tremendous amount of money hawking the Issue; if there was a way to quantify the take based solely on this Issue, I believe we would find that the two sides profits equally, dollar for dollar. Both sides would be financially crippled if the Issue was ever taken off the table. This is my point: if tomorrow the Issue was resolved one way or the other, carved in stone, and was no longer an Issue to be Campaigned Upon, what would happen?

Well, let me tell you what would happen. Both sides would see a ton of money up and disappear. Gone. Poof. Cash no more. “What, no more money? Whatever shall we do?”

Both sides would have to start coming up with realistic positions on real issues. Both sides would have to actually have to appeal to the collective voter’s logic and intelligence, rather that the collective Neolithic emotional appeal.

Since I bat from the Right side, I see this as being far more devastating to the democrats than the republicans. In my twisted world-view; no middle class working voter would ever vote for a democrat again, suddenly National Security / Defense, Education, Social Security, and relief from oppressive taxation would become real issues in a campaign, and quite frankly, the dems cannot compete in those arenas. Roughly half of the dems’ base is gone. Poof.

The republicans would suffer losses as well, although I can’t imagine on the same magnitude as the dem’s losses. Sure there will be the fundamentalist constituency who currently vote republican solely on the basis of the republicans’ stance on the Abortion Issue, who will start voting for the democrats because of their position on other social issues. But by and large, the people who vote republican because of the Abortion Issue are a smaller percentage of their base than the people who vote for democrats because of their position on the Issue.

I’ll say it again: Never base your vote on an issue on which both sides have a vested interest in the status quo. The current disposition on the Abortion Issue is the status quo.

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“But, Heywood” you ask “where do you stand on the Issue of Abortion?” Good question, I thought you’d never ask. I present you with the Ultimate Position on the Issue of Abortion (or at least my ultimate position on the Issue):

Go get yourself another drink, and bring the bottle back with you.

“We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

Familiar words, right? If not, go yea therefore to the next meeting of the School Board of the School District from which you graduated high school and beat senseless, with a shovel, the Members of the Board for failing you in your education. In my view, it is down-right criminal for schools to graduate students without a firm grasp of the concepts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. But I digress......

I define myself politically as a Constitutional Conservative. The Constitution of the United States is THE WORD in my world. Go read it now and be prepared to discuss at length.

OK, you’re back.

Constitutionally speaking, once Life begins, said Life is endowed with the Constitutional Rights that you and I enjoy. Therein lies The Question: When does Life begin? At conception? At birth? Somewhere in-between? My answer is an unqualified “Yes”. Let’s explore our options.

We can all agree that Life begins quite some time before birth. (If you don’t see it that way, chances are you stopped reading by the fourth or fifth paragraph. Fine. Skitter off back to the Democratic Underground and start a thread about what a dangerous Fascist nut job that Heywood character is. Make sure the shiny side is out when you make your tin-foil hat and ditch your cell phone because, you know, they track you when you use your cell phone.) OK, that should take care of the whole issue of late term abortions, which are Just.Wrong. A procedure that was rarely performed in this country but yet the republicans made a big splash with some of their constituency by making it illegal and the democrats made a big stink about how the fundamentalist republicans were taking away abortion rights. Yawn. This isn’t China, where the practice is common-place. Late term abortions were never an everyday procedure in America. Period. The republicans’ late term abortion ban was nothing more than pandering to a certain faction of their base, so they could show the faithful that they are doing something about the Abortion Issue. Please refer back to Heywood’s First Maxim on the Big Issues. Nothing to see here, move along.

Here’s the leap that some of my brethren on the Conservative side of the aisle will have issue with: As Life begins some time before birth, it also holds that Life begins some time after conception.

After.Conception. I know that for a lot of you that cuts against the grain. Accepted. I’ve been swimming against the current my entire life. While I might not agree with your emotion or theology, I respect your position. Scientifically speaking, half of the “conceptions” do not result in pregnancy. You know that, I know that, so this whole debate over “conception” is a gray area.

So when does Life begin? At the first heartbeat? At the first brainwaves? When they start kicking? After the ultrasound? I honestly don’t know.

This I do know. Life begins long before birth. Life begins some time after conception. Clear as mud, right?

There are a number of popular arguments on when Life begins put forth by both sides. I do not have the patience or bandwidth to list them all. The problem with most of these arguments (and their rebuttals) is that they are based in emotion, theology, or pure narcissism. None of the various arguments are based on science or the Constitution.

Therein lies the problem. Until we can scientifically define when Life begins, this debate shall continue.

Let’s sum this up before I drop my bombshell.

· Once Life begins, that Life is endowed with full Constitutional Rights.
· We cannot currently scientifically define the precise point where Life begins.

Here’s the payoff: since we can not scientifically define when life begins and, without such definition, the point at which said Life is automatically endowed with Constitutional Rights is in question, the current laws in place on the Issue of Abortion are the Law of the Land and they should be upheld.

Once medical science has advanced to the point where the definition of when Life begins can be carved in stone, I will fully support an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America permanently banning the procedure after that point. Those of you who know me know of the sacred place that I hold our Constitution and my long standing position that there is no issue that merits it’s amendment.

I know, this should have been broken out into two seperate posts. Sorry.


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