Even More Moderate View on Abortion

In past posts I have attempted to discuss and consider something that I could point to as being a "Moderate's View on Abortion".

Back in December of 2005 I posted a piece (see here) where I put forth that perhaps a compromise on when abortions should be allowed and when they should be prohibited might be reached by defining a point at which that which is growing inside a woman's body first starts to "think".

In February of 2007 I came upon evidence that led me to believe that this (that which is growing "thinks") does not happen in most cases, even intermittently, prior to 20 weeks gestation. I posted a piece (see here) that discussed my discovery.

Evidence is that the United States Supreme Court is now willing to consider some restrictions on late term abortion procedures (even if the uncompromising opponents in this issue are still unwilling to compromise). I am willing to take on the issue of when exceptions should be allowed to the "fourth month" line I have personally drawn as being the point a woman should be allowed unrestricted rights to an abortion. If some exceptions to the line drawn in the sand should be allowed, just what should these exceptions be?

Most arguments for ANY exception to ANY restriction on abortion procedures or restrictions seem to begin on these three exceptions. Rape, incest and life (sometimes health) of the mother. I am going to use these exceptions as a starting point for my own discussion.

First rape. Should an exception to the fourth month line be allowed for instances of rape? Perhaps some extremely rare instance could be identified for allowing this exception, however such an extreme instance would indeed be rare. My argument? In the vast, overwhelming number of instances the woman is immediately aware the rape occurred. If she is not murdered upon completion of the rape, she is left free to go on with her life, however difficult her life might now be due to the rape. After the rape happens, she still has four months to make up her mind whether or not she wants to give birth to a child that was conceived through the act of rape. Four months allows her sufficient time to obtain counselling, seek advice from whatever confidants she values, meditate etc etc and make up her mind. Instances where the woman is not granted this amount of time would be so rare as to be almost non existent. Even where the rare instance exists, the woman is held captive or something until after the fourth month of pregnancy for example, the rights of the "person" inside now come into play. While she might decide she would never be capable of loving and nurturing the child born of an action of hate, somewhere exists a couple who would love to give this infant person a loving environment and nurturing upbringing. So my opinion is: no exception for rape.

Second incest. Should an exception to the fourth month line be allowed for incest? I think the need for this exception would be extremely rare, however probably not as rare as the instances of rape. It is highly more likely that a father or other relative might impregnate an underage child through incest, and after the pregnancy is discovered, attempt to cover up the incestuous relationship. However even here the rights of the "person" inside the young woman needs to be considered. While there are justifiable reasons for why incestuous relationships are illegal, do all products (babies) of incestuous relationships REQUIRE destruction? Inbreeding within confined geographical areas and mini societies that set themselves apart already exist. Who would argue that all of these humans must be destroyed? If the 5 year old "person" or 30 year old adult that exists due to such an incestuous relationship, why should the destruction of the "person" who exists 5 months after gestation be allowed? Surely there exists people within our society that would love to give such a newborn infant a loving environment and nurturing upbringing even if they were informed in advance of the circumstances behind the conception. So my opinion is: no exception for incest.

I am going to break the last proposed argument for exceptions into two categories. First the "life" of the mother is at risk, and then when the "health" of the mother is at risk. First the life of the mother. While I do not think that every mother is going to reach the same decision when faced with an either/or dilemma... that being one or the other must die... I respect that the decision should only rest with the mother. I will even respect the mother's right to choose even if continuing with the pregnancy will probably (although not certainly) result in the death of both. Problems might remain even here as to just how much risk of death must the mother have to endure after the fourth month, however I do believe we will gain some headways by reaching the conclusion that when a mother's life is in endangered after the fourth month of pregnancy, the mother gets to decide. My opinion: mothers life endangered, exception allowed.

Now comes the most difficult and slippery exception to be considered. How do we get our hooks into the "health" of the mother is at risk? I am extremely torn on this one, and it is my opinion that where to draw the line on this issue is going to torment humanity until the ends of time. For example, if the woman carries the child through to birth, she is going to lose the ability to give birth to any additional children. Should she be forced to give birth to one and only one child when her desire is to raise a large family? I can give further examples. A mother, without health care coverage, is faced with giving birth to a child that will drive her already existing family into bankruptcy due to the medical costs required to care for the infant. The infant will be born into a life of pain and suffering with the only hopes for the infant being the prolonging of suffering through expensive medical care. I heard of one example where a mother was informed that, late into her pregnancy, what was growing inside her was co joined little girls. The girls were joined at the chest and shared one heart. After delivery, the prognosis for the girls was glum. Most certainly, both would not survive, and even with outrageously expensive surgery, probably neither would be viable. The mother decided on early delivery so that she could hold the prematurely birthed children and wrap them in her loving arms while they expired on her chest. Did this mother make the wrong decision? It is hard, if not impossible, to argue that she did. I do believe that this woman appropriately took into consideration the "greater good" as she came to her decision.

However pointing only to exceptional cases where the rights of the mother should be respected does not do justice to the other side of the argument. By allowing these exceptions we allow the loopholes that will be exploited by those whom many, or at least I, would condemn. While I tend to agree that mothers are those who are wired by nature (or God) to be most concerned for the well fare of their children and even the unborn growing within them, exceptions to the hard wiring exist. I could site the names of mothers who exist who have killed multiple children under her care. I will not seek to sensationalize any particular instance of where this has happened. Let me just state: it happened in the past... it still happens today... it will continue to happen into the future. Society has the right to intervene in the mother's decision when the rights of another created individual come into play. We can not trust that "all" women will "always" make the perfect decision. My opinion: restricted exceptions (with oversight) allowed when the mother's health is at risk.

I think it is unwise to insist that women (mothers) alone should be entrusted with this issue. I do not want to be forced to endure a "Girls Gone Wild" video on You Tube that addresses the abortion issue.

Condemn me if you will, however realize it is guys (and gals) like me that are going to decide this issue. An unwillingness to compromise is not going to win favor.


Post a Comment

<< Home