Abortion? A Question of Rights or Morality?

July 10, 2009

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.



The Problem with Utah’s Immigration Law

April 10, 2009

What is wrong with Utah’s new immigration law

That isn’t a question, it’s a statement that I want to explain.

Utah’s legislature passed a new law with some sweeping impacts aimed at undocumented aliens. Under this law, police jurisdictions would have to confirm the citizenship of confined foreign nationals (read that Asian or Hispanic since we assume white people are citizens). The creation and issuance of ID cards to go only to citizens and legal aliens – this includes school ids. Negotiate with the Department of Homeland Security to allow the state to enforce federal immigration and customs laws. Deny employment to undocumented aliens and provide for sanctions for companies that hire. Companies competing for government contracts would have to validate their employees. It would also prohibit local authorities from interfering with government attempts to communicate with the federal government to determine someone’s citizenship status. Also is would make it an offense to to transport or harbor an undocumented alien for commercial or private gain.

The controversy today is that some jurisdictions are refusing to enforce the law because they feel that it requires them to racially profile populations and would decrease community cooperation with law enforcement. Probably two valid points.

But I want to talk about what is essentially wrong with this law. I will shy away from what, to me, appears the obvious racial motivation for the law. People in Utah know what I mean, whether they want to admit that or not. I am also not going to dwell on the unproven economic theories that illegal aliens have a negative impact on the economy. Especially since Utah has one of the consistently strongest economies and one of the fastest growth rates in the nation. Obviously any negative effects to the economy are not substantial, in fact the economy is probably strongly supported by the immigrant labor pool, especially in a housing market that supports the spiraling growth rate. I am aware, of course, that the housing market has suffered greatly from the current recession, but that is not linked to immigration issues. Finally, I am not going to dwell on the obvious unenforceable nature of the law.

What I will focus on are two points – one is the criminalization of a portion of the population and the other point is the efforts to ‘defend’ our sovereignty from the inescapable reality of immigration – both legal and illegal – from the South, rather than to find a way to embrace and benefit from that fact.

Many would argue that this population is already ‘criminal’ in that it illegally entered the US. But what I mean is that we have a population that, for the most part, is law abiding and seeks only to succeed in society. This in order to provide for their families here and possibly in their home countries. I doubt that many of them would choose to be here rather than in their own familiar homes, but are here out of necessity or desperation. Many have risked their lives to be here and have lost what little they own more than once. It is absurd to think that the threat of prosecution would somehow overpower their instincts to survival and success. But when we take what is probably a fairly large population and turn them away from schools, services and jobs,we begin to create an illiterate, unemployed and unsupported portion of the population. We drive this now criminalized population to seek its survival by other means. We create unwelcome children and adolescents with little to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. We have, in effect, created a far worse problem than any we have faced up to now. We will create a new class of people on the streets in Utah that are also divided from the mainstream by language, ethnicity and religion. Sorry folks, but that is a recipe for disaster in many ways.

The great writer Ryszard Kapuscinski once observed in China that besides the Great Wall, the Chinese had, for centuries, built walls in their country, their cities and even between private homes.

He wrote in ‘Travels with Herodotus’, “The worst aspect of the wall is to turn so many people into its defenders, and produce a mental attitude that sees a wall running through everything…an evil and inferior part, on the outside, and a good and superior part on the inside.”

Utahns to some degree have been accused of this already over the years. Perhaps it is easier for us to envision the world in those terms. Many of us can accept this sort of internal wall and we would rather spend our time, energy and money to defend that wall than to find a place for everyone in our society.

My family’s name is on the wall at Ellis Island. They came here a poor desperate people. Other parts of my family fled famine and poverty in Scotland. They may have come a more circuitous route to the US. America did not create their success nor give them opportunity, per se, they created America and the opportunities we all benefit from. America isn’t really an idea or notion – it is, after all, people who embrace those ideas and notions. American’s have always found a way to discriminate against those newly arrived be they Irish, Greek, Chinese, Hispanic. But those populations have forged on. It’s too bad that our legislature can’t spend more of its energy to figure out how to help those populations succeed – a success which benefits everyone. Quite a few proposals were laid out with those ideas. But what we turned to, after all the debate, was a wall, not a bridge.