Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Roe v Wade The Return to the States

I’m just thinking about yesterday’s anti-abortion demonstration, Judge Alito’s confirmation floor debate and vote, and an article about sonograms in the Wall Street Journal.  The abortion debate has undoubtedly divided the nation’s electorate and brought forth evidence of hatred and intolerance on both sides; not to mention the pandering to voters by politicians that consider them too stupid to think for themselves.  This issue will definitely come before the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade will be reversed if only on a limited scale.  The legislative authority for abortion regulation will be returned to the states; Judge Alito’s confirmation practically guarantees this.  So what?  Does it really matter?

The liberal side of the debate frames the argument as a right of privacy, a “woman’s right to choose” and as the definition of women’s rights in society.  This argument does not really stand up under today’s conditions. At this point nearly all scholars left and right agree that there is no right to privacy explicit in the constitution, reading between the lines is tricky and unreliable.  Further medical advances are making it a difficult “choice” because an accidental pregnancy is quite unnecessary, given the many prevention tools that are currently available; abortion must not be allowed as a method of birth control.  Technological advances are impinging on this problem as sonograms become more sophisticated and the evidence of a living human being waiting to complete its development is clearer, many women (and men) will hesitate before killing the baby.  The last part of the argument is specious.  Women can advance in their careers without abortion; to suggest otherwise is insulting and demeaning to women who want a career.  The interest groups promoting these arguments are now institutions and offer careers of their own.  I don’t know the answer to this question, but how many people are employed by NARAL to promote abortion?

The conservative view is presented in two ways: as a moral issue and as an issue that the voters in each state have a right to decide the question instead of receiving the answer as a court dictum.  As a moral issue I think the argument is accurate but weak in today’s American society; morality doesn’t seem to count for much even at the highest levels.  The morality part does resonate with me as the killing of defenseless people is reprehensible.  There can be no doubt that the fetus is a human being, even if its still in training.  Another thing about the conservative argument that has always interested me is the fact that the Pro-Life leaders are almost exclusively men, which to my mind weakens its credibility.  I don’t mean the credibility that abortion is inherently wrong, I mean that the motives of some of these leaders must be considered suspect.  The stronger argument is to let each state have its own view of the situation, which I think was the original intent of the Roe v. Wade decision.  The more liberal states will have a more liberal view and the same goes for the more conservative states.  Such a situation would actually help develop a greater sense of personal responsibility and “morality” as the people will be in charge of their destinies in this case.

No matter, until the voters get the power to decide this issue it will continue to burn brightly.  There are other forces at work as I mentioned but they will take time to have an effect.  Our country needs to get this divisive question behind us we are facing great threats and cannot continue to waste our time on this.  Unfortunately the two bases of the Democrat party; Afro-Americans and Pro-Choice voters will make resolution difficult, though it may still be a problem for the Democrats.  They are beginning to lose their monopoly on black folks, a single issue party is difficult to maintain.

No comments: