Abortion? A Question of Rights or Morality?
Like any mature issue, the question of the availability of abortions in some situations has lines that are clearly drawn. On the Right, are the foes of allowing abortions who equate the practice to murder. On the Left are the proponents of Choice who feel that preventing access to abortion limits women’s rights to control their bodies.
Are either of these the REAL argument? I will examine three threads – legislating morality; what is behind the Right’s argument; and, who really controls women’s reproductive rights?
We can legislate morality, it is true. But should we? Let’s take two examples – murder/capital punishment and sex/prostitution.
The first problem with morality is that no two people have the same morality. There are certain morals that we think of as universal, murder or theft. But do we codify these behaviors in law because they are immoral or because they break down the proper function of society? Or is that what morality really is? Rather than an inherent evil?
We must regulate murder and not condone or accept it. Not because it is BAD, per se, but because but because it interferes with another person’s right to life, liberty and happiness. Only through due process can those rights be abridged. This is why capital punishment is not equated with murder, because society, through the courts, have taken away the guilty party’s right to their life and liberty (no doubt their happiness too).
Prostitution is against the law in most states because the states have regulated sex trade. Most states’ regulations do not permit the performance of physical sex acts. The sex act between the prostitute and the John is not ILLEGAL. Two consenting adults can have sex legally. It is the introduction of the unauthorized business transaction that constitutes a crime.
So what do we get legislating the morality of abortion? First we have to agree that abortion breaks down the proper function of society. I think the number of abortions over the last 20 years would indicate that abortion has no real effect on society. Certainly it has an effect on women and families that have to choose and deal with that option. But beyond that, there has been no real adverse affect identified to society, except the lost votes, taxes, membership of the non-born.
The Right’s Argument:
Is the Right correct to try to save the innocent lives of the fetuses? Is the goal of the Right to actually save the unborn or protect human life?
In the US about 28,000 to 30,000 babies die before the age of 12 months. Is it moral to let these children die due to inadequate diets, poor health care, poverty? The hue and cry to correct this and improve health care in the US has not been a focus of the Right. One would expect to see strong calls for improvement in health care if there was a real concern about human life. Also perplexing is the total silence on poverty in both the US, Europe and the 3rd world. It would seem that saving the lives of the living would be paramount.
Is a fetus a citizen? We don’t record pregnancies as vital statistics. A spontaneous abortion differs little from an induced abortion. There is no effort to record where a child is conceived or where it travels to on the way to birth, we merely record the birth and the birthplace. Citizenship is an accident of birth not conception. As such, rights and citizenship do not begin to accrue until birth.
So what does concern the Right? The white race in the US is slowly being diminished by the Latin and Asian Americans and their children. We could accuse the Right of trying to impose the birth of more White children. Infant mortality rates in the US support white births second only to Cuban.
Is this silent racism also behind the ignorance of improving health care to the poor and immigrant families? Or even the health care, poverty and hunger of the 3rd world, most of whom are not White?
One would hope that is a misreading of the facts. The proof of the assumption could only come with increased efforts on the Right to cry for the value of ALL human life, born and unborn. That is not happening.
Is Abortion then the matter of Choice? What a woman wants to do with her body? Certainly an abortion is an exercise of right and choice. Those rights should not be denied in those cases where the fetus is not self-viable. And in those later cases, there should be checks and balances before late term abortions on self-viable fetus are allowed.
But what this really boils down to is control over women themselves. It is interesting and frightening that the White male-dominated religious groups are the most vocal against abortion. These same groups that have often in the past been the deniers of other rights to women. The bottom line of allowing abortions to be available is allowing women control over their bodies. Laws limiting abortions could also pave the way for the precedent to induce abortions or control reproduction in other ways.
No one is Pro Abortion. The last choice any woman wants to be confronted with is abortion. But if you would LIMIT abortions, look to the causes, but first, let’s help out the living who are in need right now.