Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Duh Headline of the Day

Browsed over to yahoo for a sec and saw the following headline on their News section:

"Battle over Nominee May Center on Abortion"



Never realized that issue was particularly controversial....

In case it is not clear to new visitors, everything above this sentence will require that we build a special sarcasm Ark for all of the sarcasm dripping down.


Sexynerd9297 said...

out of curiosity, what are your views on abortion?

pacatrue said...

Nothing like a good controversial subject to make some who don't know me well label me forever, eh sis? I will stew on answering this one, but don't be mad if I decide it is more of a phone conversation topic, than a blog one.

kristybox said...

You are leaving your readers unfulfilled, just so you know. Then again, if you ever want to be on the Supreme Court - you probably shouldn't write it down in a public forum.

Unfortunately, I'm guessing that my views are all over the web anyway, so I'll probably never get picked as a Justice. (I am a lawyer, so it's a long shot, but a possibility. I'm very optimistic.)

pacatrue said...

Alright, I have decided to bite on this, so everyone be nice. I am going to answer it for a couple reasons. 1) I almost always explain myself better in writing than in speaking, and 2) well I'm pretty much a push-over.

As always, my explanation will be wordy.

I might start with a story. I once took a class, during a master's degree, on medical ethics. It covered abortion, patient consent, euthanasia, and the like. Fun, happy stuff. We had to write a term paper in the end on the Roe V Wade decision. I, like far too many people, jumped into it, looking at issues of viability, embryonic development, the rights of life and their importance, etc. About 15 pages later, I looked up and realized I had left someone out, namely the mother. I ended that class (this was in 1995 or so and I was 21 or 22) deciding I should not be the one to decide. Specifically, I as a man could never really understand the relationship between a woman and her unborn child, and I should let women wiser than me decide. This was partly a cop-out, but had a bit of wisdom in that it is always easier to decide for others what they should do, but the issues always seem different when it is you at the center.

Anyway, the following is what I think now: I do not believe in the ghost in the machine, meaning I cannot get any real grasp of the idea of some eternal soul placed inside a developing body. Instead, our souls develop both as our bodies do and as we experience life. The first means that I think life is in the end biological and the latter means I believe in free will and the traditional Christian doctrine of the veil of soul-making. All this leads me to believe that the fertilized egg is not a human in the same way adults are. However, by birth, babies do have rights to life largely equivalent to everyone else. However, there is nothing about birth that makes this transition. There is some point during development when the unborn child has gotten a pretty strong right to live. So let me say that again, since it might surprise a few. There is some point in fetal development, where there is a baby who needs to be protected. I have no great wisdom on exactly when this is - where in between a fertilized egg and birth - but the concept of viability seems the most promising to me. If I remember correctly, this is actually what the original Roe V Wade decision says, but I would have to check to be sure.

However, my argument is not complete yet. I have only spoken about the nature of the child. (A fuller discussion would talk in much greater details about the cognitive capacities of unborn children, etc.) The next topic however is what is the relationship between this child and the mother in which it lives? It is this question which I think separates me the greatest from an "extreme" pro-life position. To put it bluntly, if your position on abortion is the same whether or not the fetus develops in a woman or in a box, there is some problem you need to work out. Unborn children are not simply children in a test-tube that walks about. They are somehow part of a woman still.

I think it is both of these things which confounds many of us. (Actually, I am wary of anyone who doesn't see this as a difficult issue.) 1) We have to define life, when really we cannot; and 2) there is no exact parallel in the rest of human life for one person being part of another. There are some vaguely similar situations. Extremely sick individuals who are totally dependent upon another for their care is one. (This could be a child with large medical problems; a parent with Alzeimer's etc.) It is something like it, but not exactly the same. But in those cases, don't we often think there are some limits to our duties to the one who needs care? If so, then there must be some limits as well to a mother's duties to her unborn child. "Limits" means legal abortion.

I guess my final little bit on this is that I am not particularly pro-choice, if pro-choice means that we think a certain abortion is wrong, but we will allow it anyway. Even if you take a quite libertarian view of government, where government stays out of everything that isn't harming another, well, government would still play a role in this decision, since the outcome would be the loss of a life. So, if we really think a particular type of abortion is killing a human (AND that it outweighs the expecting mother's relationship with her child!), then government should be involved. However, due to the fact that souls don't come at conception and that an unborn child is part of a person, it seems that many types of abortion should remain legal and safe.

Well, I could keep going, but it's enough. As always, the thoughts are long, but incomplete. One hopeful thought is that if abortions are ties to the idea of viability, then babies who were not viable 2 generations ago, often are now, with neonatal care. Perhaps, that is a way eventually out of this conundrum. On the other hand, it will of course introduce a new problem. If medical science can raise a child only developed by one month, imagine the adoption needs.