Saturday, September 27, 2008


I don't see the logic in giving the woman the sole right to choose whether or not to have a child.

One of the great talents of the right wing Republican attack machine is the ability to frame the debate. First, they tell you what the topic is. Second, they tell you their position (always on the side of God, America, Children, Freedom, Victory,- you know, the little things). Then, they don't wait for you to respond- they tell you what your position is, what your beliefs are, what your arguments are-- typically either completely false or wildly out of context. Then they debate it, holding you hostage to the position they created for you, forcing you on the defensive (note how many times during the McCain - Obama debate you heard Obama plaintively exclaiming "I never said that"). For example: on the topic of Iraq, if you are John McCain, and you want to leave the American military in that five and a half year quagmire for another 100 years, with no clearly defined objective goals, then you are in favor of "VICTORY!" The rational person (i.e. Barack Obama) who wants to get out of there before more Americans die for no discernable purpose is labeled as "a cut and run defeatist who is willing to let brave Americans who perished there die in vain, forever tarnishing their sacrifice." Never mind that the rational person correctly predicted before the catastrophic decision to invade that it would be a disaster with no exit strategy. Or that there is no such thing as "victory" when we aren't even fighting an enemy but merely trying to stop criminal gangs from killing each other.

So it is with the abortion "debate." The cleverest thing about this debate is the choice of words from the right wing. They are "pro life!" Calling themselves "pro life" takes a lot of chutzpah from the political party in favor of the death penalty, the party most in favor of aggressive war, the party which has dismissed the loss of over 100,000 Iraqi lives as so inconsequential that it doesn't bear mention in any of the debates on the wisdom of getting out of Iraq.

And they label those opposed to their position as "pro abortion." Well, there you go again, as Ronald Reagan used to say. Those against criminalizing abortion in the first trimester label themselves as "pro choice," meaning that they want to give that choice to the woman, in consultation with her doctor, rather than letting the government choose. But you'll never hear the right wing even address that position in a debate. Instead, in the last few years, the right wing has upped the ante, conflating abortions in the first trimester with the rare (and legally, only when the mother's life or health are in danger) "partial birth abortion." In effect, the right wing has labeled pro choicers as being in favor of killing children just before birth, causing them excruciating pain. Here's a typical description from the National Right to Life (NARAL) website, quoting Republican Senator Sam Brownback:

"Unborn children can experience pain . This is why unborn children are often administered anesthesia during in utero surgeries. Think about the pain that unborn children can experience, and then think about the more gruesome abortion procedures. Of course, we have heard about Partial Birth Abortion, but also consider the D&E abortion. During this procedure, commonly performed after 20-weeks -- when there is medical evidence that the child can experience severe pain -- the child is torn apart limb from limb. Think about how that must feel to a young human."

Never mind that this is utterly bogus: women can't choose to have a late term abortion, and the use of this imagery is purely to provoke a visceral response rather than have a meaningful debate.

But the pro choice camp is less than consistent in logic and morality as well. The red herring argument on their side is "we need exceptions in the cases of rape or incest." My short response to that mammoth inconsistency is this: can a child morally or legally be killed after it is born because he or she is the product of rape or incest? Of course not. So why differentiate while the child is in the womb? We don't have bills of attainder in this country, where a parent's crimes allow punishment to his children. So this argument is just as bogus as the "partial birth abortion" canard from the right.

And my position? I am pro choice and anti-abortion. I don't believe in criminalizing abortions in the first trimester. And I am in favor of allowing the father of the child to veto it- after all, if the woman's right to choose is involved, then the person she chose to help potentially conceive a child should have an equal right to see his child born. I don't see this argument as being about a woman's right to control her body, any more than a mother has the right to kill her baby because her life is controlled by the demands of caring for a helpless infant. My position is that the government's role should be to reduce the number of abortions by promoting sex education, birth control, and adoption.


Post a Comment

<< Home