Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Personhood Amendments and Me

Comedian George Carlin famously quipped:

Once you leave the womb, conservatives don’t care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers. 

Of all the issues that are emotionally charged on the political war front, there is no issue that is more emotionally charged than the issue of abortion as the pro-life and pro-choice camps lock horns in seemingly mortal combat. The abortion issue and debate is nothing new and has been intense for as long as I can remember. Decades ago, I had to write a term paper on "Is a Fetus Human" for a philosophy course.

That's the core of the debate.  Is unborn life in the mothers womb a human being?

From a zygote to a blastocyst to an embryo to a fetus, the current debate evolves around two central theories 1. a human being is created at the precise moment of conception and 2. the unborn are not human beings until they are expelled from the womb.  There are other theories as well, including the theory that once a fetus can survive outside the womb, it's a human being.  Human science is incapable of defining what an in utero form of life is and it's not likely that the issue will ever be resolved.

Still, the abortion issues remains a supercharged political issue.  The politics of abortion generally evolve around radicals at both ends of the spectrum and involve religion and ideology.  The radical pro-choice camp endorses abortion up to the moment of birth.  In other words, a full term and fully evolved fetus should be expendable at the will of the mother.  While partial birth abortion has been outlawed and upheld by the Supreme Court, late term abortion is perfectly legal.  Late term abortions methods are known to be gruesome and have included driving a spike into the skull of a full term fetus and spilling its brains.  The same radical liberal camp that asserts that capital punishment by lethal injection is cruel and inhumane punishment have no moral qualms whatsoever when it comes to inflicting cruel and painful punishment on an unborn fetus.

On the religious right side, the prevalent belief is that a human being is created at the precise moment of conception and, therefore, is a human being who is endowed with fully vested constitutional rights.  The 'human life begins at conception' folks are also heavily involved in the Personhood movement that is lobbying for state and federal constitutional amendments to define human life as beginning at the precise moment of conception.  Personhood constitutional amendments have actually made it on the ballot on several states, including Colorado where twice it was defeated by a huge margin and in Mississippi, a strong religious right state where it also went down at the ballot box.  A Personhood Amendment, if passed, would immediately classify anyone who had an abortion as a murderer.  In fact, a Personhood Amendment could even result in outlawing birth control because some birth control methods allegedly but spontaneously can abort a freshly fertilized egg.

What the 'human life begins as conception' folks really want is a federal constitutional amendment defining life as beginning at conception.  Such a federal constitutional amendment stands no chance of passing in Congress or even being ratified by 75% of the states.  Blue states wouldn't ratify such an amendment and it's quite possible that many red states wouldn't ratify it either.  But that won't stop Republicans from putting it in the Republican Platform.

First on CNN: GOP prepares tough anti-abortion platform
The Republican Party is once again set to enshrine into its official platform support for "a human life amendment" to the Constitution that would outlaw abortion without making explicit exemptions for rape or incest, according to draft language of the platform obtained exclusively by CNN late Monday. 

"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," the draft platform declares. "We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
I personally do not believe that a freshly fertilized egg is a human being.  It's a zygote and a form of life that holds the potential to develop into a human being as it grows into a blastocyst, an embryo and ultimately a fetus.  However, neither do I subscribe to the position that a fetus isn't a human being until it's expelled by the birth mother.  At some point after the embryo stage, we've got an unborn human being.  Of course, it doesn't matter what I think because it's an issue for the voters.

Where are the majority of Americans on the abortion issue?  By an overwhelmingly majority, the American people support the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy at the early stages (zygote, blastocyst and possibly embryo) or in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother comes into play .  The situation gets who whole lot fuzzier on the issue of late term abortion and many Americans do in fact oppose late term abortion without a very valid reason.

At the ballot box, the majority will prevail on the abortion issue, which is precisely why the social conservatives who are obsessed with Personhood Amendments will not only lose but will also drag down the Republican Party on the issue.

The Republican religious right is a total fraud that doesn't actually support human life.  In fact, Republican Warvangelicals are the strongest advocates for wars, murders, genocides and all the evil associated with the American Empire and it's endless campaign to murder folks all over the planet.  For the Republican Warvangelicals, the abortion issue isn't about protecting innocent human life.  Indeed, these psychopaths get off slaughtering innocent human life on a massive scale. For them, the abortion issue is all about control and forcing every pregnant woman to give birth at the point of a gun.

But these radical but murderous fake pro-lifers go even further.  Many have stated in no uncertain terms that women who have had abortions should be criminally prosecuted for premeditated murder, a capital crime that carries the death penalty in many states.    The American religious right strongly supports the death penalty and these folks cheered TX Gov. Rick Perry when he boasted of his execution record.  I totally 100% oppose the death penalty because I so loath the right of the state to kill anybody.  

It should also be noted that murder does not have a statute of limitations as do many other crimes.  It's entirely possible, even probable, that if the Personhood Amendment folks were to succeed, not likely or even close to probable, that they would indeed embark on a witch hunt to bring to justice as a murderer every woman who ever had an abortion.  This is not beyond the realm of possibility for these folks and I've personally heard them say it.

There are also profound legal problems with granting the unborn full constitutional rights.  Suppose you are driving down the road and accidentally rear end a vehicle with a pregnant driver/occupant?  Well, just just killed somebody and minimally, you can be imprisoned for the crime of vehicular homicide.  Heck, the same thing could happen pushing your grocery cart in the supermarket.  You could accidentally bump your cart into a pregnant woman, knock her down and if she loses the unborn life, you just killed somebody and will be legally subjected to the multitude of laws involving murder,  homicide, manslaughter etc.

Personhood Amendments are indeed legal nightmares with dire and horrifying consequences but that's precisely what the Republican religious right demands.

The outlawing of abortion will definitely not reduce the abortion rate.  It will merely drive the practice of abortion underground.  Rich women will be able to afford safe if illegal abortions but poor women will be driven back into the filthy backrooms of the dangerous abortions of yesteryear and coat  hangers.

I don't like abortion and never will but I would NEVER vote to take that right away from another woman.  I haven't walked in her shoes or lived her life.  I will not judge her decision because that's an issue that is between her and God and God is always the ultimate judge, not man and his laws.

If America truly wants lower abortion rates, we need to start by building a culture of life and that includes ending the worship of the state, the military industrial complex and its murderous wars.  Precisely because America no longer has the high moral ground on anything, Americans can hardly invoke moral superiority when it comes to abortion.

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