The Burger Court, 1973, Roe v. Wade
"I simply do not think that yelling, swearing, threatening, or belittling will get you to the place you want to be faster than kindness, understanding, patience, and a little willingness to compromise." - Rachel Nichols
I am only writing about this again because the last time I wrote about it, I got slammed seven ways from Sunday. What's more, is I got slammed for taking a middle of the road position. If I get smashed again, and I am sure that I will, I am not going to repeat myself a second time. I was told that I was anti-woman, a near-fascist, and even a relic of times past. I was also called an unfeeling chauvinist and a weakling for not taking a FIRM position on the issue.While I will admit that from time to time, I can be a bit of an asshole; these remarks, I will not accept. First, I am not anti-woman. I believe that every human being on the planet deserves a fair shot to make something of themselves, and I am very adamant that women be granted access to the same jobs that men are, especially military service. Specifically, they should be allowed to take on combat roles. They are citizens too, and they deserve to prove that they are willing to put their lives on the line for the nation that they live in. Second, I am no Fascist. If you want see a Fascist, turn on the television and listen to the present field of Republican presidential candidates speak. There are a whole slew of them ready to say just want scared people want to hear. Third, a relic of the past? How so? Is it because I seek compromise over constant bickering? Is it because I believe in responsibility? Is it because I believe that each person in a given situation deserves to be treated fairly? If so, then screw it, call me what you want.
As for being unfeeling, chauvinistic, and weak; Please! Am I unfeeling because I do not wish to insult someone during a debate because they do not agree with me? If I did that kind of stuff, I would be unfeeling. Am I unfeeling because I think that people should take responsibility for their actions, both men and women? Am I unfeeling because I believe that in such a case as abortion, the father of the child should at least be made aware of the situation? Not so! I have spent my entire life in the pursuit of helping those who are not being treated fairly, and I will do everything in my power to defend anyone in this country that is being treated so, regardless of where they stand on the substantive issues of our day. I say this because I still believe in the power and importance of the United States Constitution.
I believe that despite the Founding Fathers inability to act on their consciences, an action that would have required them to delve into the realm of Natural Law, the Constitution is a living document that is designed to evolve with the society that it governs. I also believe that it is the job of the American people to ensure that as they evolve, they force their leaders to do the same. Each citizen in this country has a sovereign right to express their opinions free from persecution. It does not matter how repugnant their beliefs are to me, they still deserve the right to speak, and I will defend them in that pursuit. All I ask in return is that they have the common decency to back up their claims with evidence and give me the same respect that I would afford them. I take the basic intrinsic value of each human life, and their ability to freely express themselves, very seriously.
As for being a chauvinist, I am a male, there are going to be times when I do not necessarily present my best side on any given day, but that is true for women, as well. However, if a person is willing to discuss an issue with me in a peaceable manner, I will hear them out, and more, I will actually listen. Such behavior is supposed to be indicative of a genuine scholar of the truth. I am not going to accept anyone insulting me just because I disagree with them, especially when I made it clear that I would not do that to them. If that makes me a chauvinist, so be it. Further, if my position on abortion makes me a chauvinist, well then label me what you like. As for weakness, the ability to compromise does not mean that a person is weak. What it really means is that a person has intentionally taken the initiative to set aside the time which, honestly, could be productively spent on other pursuits, to view a given issue from all sides of the discussion and has chosen a middle path that will hopefully satisfy the greater majority of the people. Though, admittedly that is a very difficult thing to do.
In real government, compromise is necessary to getting things done, and you do not have to abandon your core principles to do it. Here is how I believe that I can justify such a stance. Reintroduce the concept of Natural Law. Now, some would call this God's Law, but I definitely will not. God, whichever one you believe in, does not have to tell a person what is fair and what it not. Human beings possess a natural sense, in the very core of their being, of what is fair and what is not. Some people are just quick to abandon this little pesky voice, but I am not. I will do what I can, in all instances, to stand by what I believe is fair for everyone. This does not make me weak. I believe that it makes me stronger. That may just be me, but on that point, I will not budge.
After having said all of this, I want to explain my position on the issue of abortion again, as clearly as I can. I do not support the My Body, My Choice campaign. Not because I think women should not have control over their bodies, but because I believe that in the case of reproduction, it takes to two to tango. Science backs me up on this one. At present, though, there is some very interesting and very remarkable research being to done to create the possibility of reproduction in same sex households. However, there is not yet a viable way for a pregnancy to be successful without the egg from a woman and the sperm from a male. This leads me to the conclusion that in the case of abortion, it should be allowed for the father of a child to be informed that the woman that he slept with is considering an abortion. I am not saying that the man has the right to stop said abortion! I am merely saying that he has the right to know what is going on, so he can have the Right to Choose where he stands on the issue. Further, even though you may not believe it, most men, when presented with such a reality, will be more interested in the needs and health of the woman than a debate over the intricacies of the abortion issue.
To provide myself with some back up, I would like to open my hymnal to the records of the United States Supreme Court. In the case of Roe v. Wade, and the companion case Doe v. Bolton, the Court did not rule that abortion is legal. Before you chop my head off again, allow me to explain. As I mentioned in a previous post, "Noting is Legal, Not Even Taking a Piss: A Few Definitions and Some Analysis," every single act that we take is regulated in this country. Is it acceptable to take a piss in an open air forum, where people go to relax and enjoy their spare time, while those very same people, including children, are watching you? No it is not, thus taking a piss is not legal because there are times and places where you will be arrested if you do it. It is, therefore, only Decriminalized. This goes for everything, from Abortion to the recreational use of Marijuana. If there are regulations governing the use of or the completion of a given product or act, it is not legal, but rather, as I have said already, Decriminalized.
The position of the Burger Court, the Bench that heard the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases, proves this. In these cases, the Court made five very clear rulings. First, for the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician. Second, for the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health. Third, for the stage subsequent to viability, the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even prescribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life and health of the mother. Fourth, the Court ruled that in the case of Incest and Rape, the woman has a right to an abortion, as long as her attending physician agrees that it is the correct thing to do. Finally, the State has the right to regulate who can or cannot conduct abortions. They ruled that the state has the right to limit the practice to qualified and fully licensed medical professionals, thus allowing women to avoid back alley death traps.
They also did like I did. They reviewed the history of abortion, admitting that it has been a common method of contraception throughout the entirety of human history. They also recognized, as I did that before modern medical advancements, abortion was a very risky affair, which routinely put the life of the mother at risk. They agree that this is why abortion was finally regulated in the 19th century. They argue further, just as I did that since the advent of modern medicine, abortion has become much safer. They end by saying that it is no longer feasible to outlaw abortion, in its entirety, because women now have a viable option to take advantage of that can allow them to decide whether or not to have an abortion and to do so with a medical professional that will ensure that the procedure does not endanger their lives.
Now, consider that the rulings that I quoted are word for word from the majority opinion delivered by Justice Harry Blackmun. In the text of the opinion, in now way, do they give a woman the right to an unfettered abortion. A women cannot even conduct the procedure herself if the pregnancy has gotten past modern contraception like the Morning After Pill or other available procedures. She has to, by law, go to a licensed physician to have the procedure performed. Further, the ruling gives state governments the right to regulate abortion after the first trimester, minus the caveats mentioned earlier. Another thing that court does is refrain from making a decision on 'When life begins.' What they did say is that if a child is medically viable, in that it can survive outside the womb, the State has the right to regulate the conduction of abortions, so long as the life of the mother is not put in jeopardy. This all means, essentially that abortion is not legal, but rather decriminalized because of the nature of the regulations that the Court placed on the procedure.
The most rabid of the proponents of the My Body, My Choice campaign would argue that a thirteen year old girl should be allowed to enter a facility and get an abortion without having to inform her parents. Who among us believes that a thirteen year old child is capable to making such a decision, and then living with the psychological aftermath? They would also argue that late term abortions should not be regulated. I have to call them on that one. From personal experience, I can say that it is now possible, through the advances of modern medicine, for a child born as early as the twentieth week of a pregnancy, to be capable of surviving. My son, who is now thirteen, is such a case. He was born so early because of complications with my ex-wife's health. He survived because Waco General Hospital was staffed with some pretty amazing and highly qualified physicians and nurses.
All I add to the decision is that the man that impregnated the woman be allowed to know that an abortion is occurring. This does not mean that the man has the right to prevent the abortion, especially if the mother's life is at risk. There are caveats to this, of course. If the man has run off and cannot be located, it is clear that he has forfeited his right to know what is going on. If the man that impregnated the woman is abusive and the woman fears for her well-being and the possible well-being of a child born to the man, she has a right prove her case that an abortion would be the most appropriate action for her to take, for her health and the health of the potential child. However, if the man is available for comment and is not found to be the kind of coward that would hit a pregnant woman or abuse an innocent child, then he should, at the least, have the right to know what is going on, so that he can deal with the issue in his own way. So, minus a single addition to the Court's ruling, I stand with their decision. Abortion should not be outlawed. The medical profession has made it safe. However, a woman should not be allowed unfettered access to an abortion. Late term abortions are a matter of morality, as well as, legality. Additionally, a woman should not be born with the responsibility of carrying a child conceived or rape or incest. If past the point of viability, the woman does not want the child, she should have the right to turn the child over to care of the State, admittedly, another minor addition on my part. Like it or not, this is where I stand on the issue. If that gets me crucified by my fellow left wingers; so be it, I am not ashamed. I will suffer my death with Honor and Dignity.
Before I end this honest attempt at self-defense, I want to mention just a few more things that will offer some more context for people to understand why I take the stance that I do on this subject. First, while the Supreme Court did not take a position on where life begins in their 1973 decision, in my last post on abortion, "Abortion, Is There a Middle Ground? An Honest Opinion From a Texas Liberal," I did. I am a Buddhist and a Celtic Spiritualist. With these philosophies comes the belief that life does not have an ending or a beginning. Life is more than just the body that we inhabit, it is also the energy within us that we share with the planet that gave us all life, Earth. Life is eternal, and it is the force that binds our people, and our world, to the rest of the universe. Thus, life does not begin at conception or at the point of live birth because life cannot begin or end, but rather it is a constant cycle that repeats itself over and over again. I got hammered for that, as well, and I am still not apologetic, in any way, for that position.
My second point is this. People from other parts of the country, other than the old South and Texas, need to realize what they are up against when they bring the Abortion debate down here. The first, and the most obvious thing that they will encounter are religious cracks that do not want to debate the issue. The only thing they are interested in is telling you how bad you are and how you are going to go to hell for killing babies. I am not one of those people. I stand with the Hindu family in Ireland that sued their government over the death of their wife and mother because the State would not allow an abortion that would have saved her life. She went to the hospital in the throws of a violent miscarriage, and had her Doctors not been bound by criminal statutes, they could have saved her life. Her case went to their highest court, and now Ireland allows abortions, when the life of the mother is in danger, as long as a medical professional is present to verify that that an abortion is the only method available to ensure the survival of the mother. My Celtic brothers and sisters in Ireland should be ashamed of their government for that death. It was unjustified, and her blood is on the hands of every Irishman and Irishwoman that supported the State's traditional position on the issue.
To conclude, my third point is this. You people really do not understand what life is like in the South, if you think, for one second that Abortion is just a two sided issue here. I would like to tell you a little story to give you a sense of what I mean. A number of years ago, while I was attempting to enjoy a meal with some friends at a local dining establishment in Fort Worth, Texas, I had the unfortunate honor of hearing one of the most egregious conversations that I can easily say was, most assuredly, one of the most disgusting conversations that I have every heard in my life. Sitting in the booth behind my group, was a mother and daughter discussing what the daughter should do about being pregnant. The situation between the two was tense, so I can imagine that this was the first moment that the mother had heard about her daughter being pregnant. She was, at first, speaking in a surprisingly calm voice, letting her daughter know that everything would be alright and that her family would always be there for her. She also said that they would do everything in their power to ensure that the father did his part, as well.
This was, of course, until the daughter told her mother who the father of her child was. She meekly informed her mother that the father was a young African American boy. It would be prudent, at this point, to tell you that the mother and her daughter were Caucasian. After this, 'bombshell,' the mother was silent for a few moments. When she finally came around to speaking again, she immediately told her daughter that she needed to get an abortion, and that she would help her get it. She also stated that she would make sure that no one ever knew that she was pregnant, so as to avoid the embarrassment! The girl asked her mother what their pastor would think about the situation, and her mother stated that it is was none of his business, which is true. However, she also said that God would understand! Please, understand that this very important bit of information, these are the same people, who the very next day after getting that abortion, would be out in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic calling women baby killers and asking the State to outlaw the procedure in its entirety.
The thing that makes it ten times worse, is the fact that the less enlightened of the citizenry of the Southern portion of the United States think that this sort of thing is acceptable. The mother did not recommend abortion because her daughter was not ready to be a mother. She did not recommend abortion because she believed that her daughter's health was in jeopardy. She told her daughter that an abortion was the best way to go because she did not want her family to suffer the embarrassment of having to raise a black child, and she justified her stance by stating that God would understand! If that is not about one of the most evil things you have ever heard, I do not know what else could be!!!!! Think on that a little, at the least, before you jump on people that want to take the middle ground on the issue, for both our sake and yours.