Tuesday, March 08, 2016
In Michigan Today? Vote Cruz!
But abortion is a difficult question. A woman has an inalienable right to choose what to do with respect to her own body. But is a fetus a person with a co-equal right to her/his own life? If yes, then the woman's right conflicts with the fetus' right, and there's no obviously simple, clear way to resolve this issue. If no, then when does the fetus obtain rights, when would it become wrong to kill her/him? At birth? If this is the case, then why not, then, five minutes before birth, since there's no fundamental difference in the being involved? Or if an abortion is performed a month before birth, and the fetus survives the process, should it be protected? Killed?
It's not unrealistic to imagine two adjacent operating rooms, one in which a late-term abortion is performed, and one in which an emergency delivery is performed. Imagine that in the first room, the procedure kills the fetus. In the second, while the doctors work feverishly to save the infant, someone breaks in and kills it. Murder?
Abortion is a terribly difficult issue. I know people who are on entirely different sides of the debate whom I find to be very good, very thoughtful people. I have never heard anyone give very good answers to my questions (I have some very hard ones for anti-abortion people that I've omitted here) and I find it doubtful to use abortion as a litmus test.
Actually, our current laws give parents "partial abortion" rights for years after birth. Parents can endanger the health and life of their child by refusing immunizations, withholding medical treatment, implementing quack treatment or imposing a bad diet. In all these cases, government intervenes only after the child is damaged or dead, if at all. I've just read about a Canadian toddler named Ezekiel who died because the parents tried to treat his meningitis with maple syrup. However, should we decide that, because government experts know best, government is to be legal guardian of all children? These difficult questions are an inevitable consequence of the mere fact that humans begin their life fully dependent on other humans.
To return to the abortion dilemma: Why don't Republican candidates say that they are against 3rd trimester abortions? 1st and 2nd semester abortions are a non-issue, because under no other circumstances is a human obliged to physically support another human. However, Republicans (with Pataki's exception) are against all abortions, except maybe when the mother's life is in danger. In the superpower leading the free world, one of the two major parties has made itself hostage to people who believe that a woman's life is not an end in itself but just a tool to bring other, more valuable lives.
"When I was pregnant with my first daughter, she would kick responsively, and then she would take naps. It seemed logical. This baby never stopped moving, but she never did anything responsive, either. The movements were so random... It was a morning appointment, and at the end of that day we met with the neurologist, who told us that our baby had Dandy-Walker malformation, the most severe presentation of the syndrome. It basically meant there were holes in her brain... The doctor said, “We expect your baby to have moderate to severe mental retardation; she’s going to have moderate to severe physical disability; she is probably never going to walk or talk; she will possibly never be able to lift her head; she is going to have seizures all of the time.” At first, I was thinking, “This doesn’t make sense, she’s always moving,” and then he mentioned seizures, and I understood... I had to think about a baby who was probably not going to live very long, and the longer she lived, the more pain she would be in. That realization – that I was more scared of her living than of her dying — is what made the choice for me."
I think that, in such cases, abortion should be allowed right to the due date. However, while currently the laws of many countries allow abortion of a disabled fetus at a stage when abortion of a non-disabled fetus is no longer allowed, I find this untenable. I think that we cannot allow the abortion of fetuses such as the described little girl unless we allow the abortion of all fetuses.