Monday, January 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, aborted fetuses

As you may or may not be aware, today is the 33rd anniversary of the R0e v. VVade decision that opened the door for the sanctioned practice of abortion. From my point of view (that is, my office window), it’s a strangely commemorated anniversary.

There are both sides of the argument, roughly equal in number from what I can tell, marching around outside, carrying signs and in general just making things rather tense. In some cases, members of either side were yelling at their counterparts.

In my humble but accurate opinion, the great chasm between the two sides distills down to the basic question of whether a fetus, or even an embryo, constitutes life. I would venture a guess that most, if not all, so-called ‘pro-lifers’ would argue to the positive in both instances where are so-called ‘pro-choicers’ would not.

This seemingly small but fundamental difference, I believe, leads to the incredibly polarized opinions on the issue of abortion. For those on the ‘pro-life’ side who genuinely believe that a fetus is a life, it is perfectly reasonable for them to believe that the taking of that life is tantamount to murder, genocide, or some other malicious, inhumane practice. For those on the ‘pro-choice’ side who do not view the fetus as a separate human life, the practice of abortion should be no more objectionable than that of having a mole or tumor removed.

My opinion on the matter falls somewhere in between — though admittedly favoring the ‘pro-life’ side. I indeed believe that an unborn child constitutes at least some basic form of human life. Granted, it is not yet a ‘full’ human being to the extent that it cannot breathe air or ingest food, but a fetus does have unique DNA and there is evidence that fetuses are able to hear outside noises and experience sensations such as pain. Most importantly, however (at least in my opinion), a fetus grows and develops, a process that would not otherwise occur unless the fetus was living.

All that said, I just can’t bring myself to buy a ticket on the “Abortion is Murder” bandwagon, and the comparison by some of abortion to genocide is, at least to me, unsettling, if not borderline offensive.

I’ve never been one to favor the abuse of semantics, and this is no different. As I understand it, murder would imply that there was some sort of malicious intent on behalf of the planners and performers of the abortion — something I just can’t concede.

I have a similar reaction to those who would claim that abortion is genocide. Though the founder of Pl@nned P@renthood, M@rgaret S@nger, was a professed eugenicist and had some rather suspect goals in the implementation of birth control, it doesn’t appear to me that modern advocates of abortion are out to maliciously extinguish an entire race of people. Trust me, I’ve seen institutions of genocide. After feeling for myself the aura of death that remains in a place even 60 years after its liberation, I can’t help but believe that to compare abortion to genocide is to cheapen the meaning of genocide.

Rather, I think the practice of abortion comes from a gross ignorance and misunderstanding than it does from any sort of malicious intent. Legally speaking, it would seem to me that abortion would rise to the level of involuntary manslaughter, not murder and certainly not genocide. But I suppose “Abortion is involuntary manslaughter” doesn’t make for as good of a bumper sticker.

This is why I believe that if people were simply educated on the matter of abortion that its prevalence would plummet. I also believe, however, that so long as R0e v. VVade is “settled law,” we will never truly have this debate. This reality truly serves an injustice to our society.

Moreover, it’s incredible to me that, in the 21st century, abortion is still viewed as a viable means of birth control. In a time when there’s a pill women can take, a shot they can get, a patch they can wear and condoms people can buy among many other things, it is simply inexcusable that so-called unwanted pregnancies still occur. And let’s not forget, it is possible — God forbid — for people to refrain from having sex. It truly is the only form of birth control that’s 100% effective.

I will concede, however, that it’s entirely naive to think that this over-sexed culture of ours will ever accept the prospect of abstinence. But saving some cultural revolution contrary to that of the 1960’s, there are still plenty of things that render abortion obsolete.

Not only is the practice of abortion tragic and in many ways barbaric, it is becoming more and more outdated. While I have my doubts that R0e v. VVade will ever be overturned, it seems more likely that through education and other advancements in birth control, the R0e v. VVade decision, and abortion in general, will become irrelevant.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I belive that abortion is murder because life begins at conception. At the same time, I have pro-choice leanings because I think some people are better off not being born. If your parents hate you enough to want you dead, they're doing you a favor by pulling the plug on your life before it begins.

12:45 PM  

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