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Why is the abortion debate so restrictive?

I mean, considering the ever-present saliency of this issue in our country, why is the debate restricted to unborn babies only?

People make abortion out to be an impossibly irresolvable issue -- a war of combative values that, like the fighting between the Turks and Kurds, will continue as long as those values exist. Intelligent people fall into uncontrolled episodes of great emotional distress and wild fervor when someone mentions abortion, casting off any semblance of reason that once existed.

Fearing complete loss of control, people generally avoid bringing the subject up at all in order to prevent things from getting out of hand. The issue has become so touchy that journalists refuse to touch it; media “discussion” has deteriorated to commercialized public service announcements complete with such buzz-words as “pro-life” and “pro-choice.”

It’s time to cut the emotional rubbish.

Let’s step back and consider this volatile issue objectively. It only seems prudent that, to make a sound argument, one has to rely upon rationale and consider the practical advantages to each side.

With the sensitivity training behind us, I will, in my humble way, attempt to approach this debate from a purely practical vantage point -- without letting my personal beliefs get in the way. Although I hope to alienate no one, I apologize if anyone should be offended by what I say; I only hope to point out the pragmatic case that can be made.

Consider first that abortion is entirely about rights: an unborn baby’s right to live versus a mother’s right to choose. The question lies in ascertaining which person’s rights should circumvent the other’s. Just as in any other persuasive discussion, however, there is always middle ground that can be mutually agreed upon by both parties; finding it is a simple game of logic. Beginning at a point of common agreement is the first step.

There exists general agreement, for example, that human rights exist to the point that no one individual’s rights interfere with those of another. When questions arise as to where to draw the line, each side presents his or her case in court and leaves it for a judge to decide.

What if the plaintiff is a pregnant woman and the defendant is an unborn baby? The pregnant woman can present her case just fine, but who will represent the fetus?

Let’s fast-forward, say, ten years. Now we’re dealing with two people who can speak for themselves: the mother and the adolescent. The woman has now had a whole decade to get to know her child and thus better ascertain whether or not she still wants to exercise her abortion rights.

This is clearly advantageous; the would-be mother escapes the gnawing curiosity of what the child might have been like. Furthermore, in spite of the late proliferation of Planned Parenthood and other women’s clinics committed to the good cause of preventing parenthood, pesky feelings of culpability plague abortion patients. But this would be considerably lessened if women at least had direct experience in raising a child, to see whether they are cut out to be moms. If not, they can go ahead and file a complaint to get rid of the child as originally planned. At least they’d have the satisfaction of knowing they’d given motherhood the old college try before deciding it just wasn’t their thing.

Of course, if it works out, great -- keep the kid. It’s like a college student choosing a major; one sometimes relies upon “trial and error,” along with the process of elimination, in making a sound decision.

Among the perks of post-birth abortion for the kid, the most obvious is that he would have the means to defend himself prior to death -- which is far more than he would have in a pre-birth abortion. It’s simply not constitutional to put an individual to death without a proper trial, so the same should hold true for abortion situations. Just as in any other case, the judge can weigh each side to determine where lies that fine line between the mother’s right to choose and the child’s right to live.

Depending on his conduct, the kid may be allowed to live -- which presents the added benefit of a strong incentive for children to be on their best behavior. Falling crime rates, an end to school violence, an improvement in grades ... the possibilities are endless.

I think, too, that the realm of scientific evolutionary theory is not without its say on this issue. Darwin would be quite proud of such a concept as post-partum abortion. Unlike pre-birth abortion, it is natural-selection-friendly, and would provide an effective filter for society by sifting out the “bad eggs” before they become full-fledged adults. Indeed, there would be reason to believe that serial killers, terrorists, sadists and other such problematic people would be properly done away with before any serious crimes are committed -- in essence, much of today’s societal dilemmas would be nipped in the bud.

In addition, this kind of thinking opens up myriad new doors for discussion. Why, for instance, shouldn’t men, as well as women, be allowed to exercise their right to choose whether their offspring live? For that matter, it now seems silly and discriminating to restrict abortion to offspring only. Perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves why people don’t argue over aborting the life of other kinds of unwanted people, say, loud mothers-in-law, or unruly teenagers. And heck, why stop at humans? Annoying pets, for example, would be perfect candidates for abortion.

Notice how a practical approach to understanding abortion makes the issue more approachable and less inflammable.


Posts: 11 | Posted: 01:06 AM on August 29, 2005 | IP
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