Friday, January 27, 2006

Some Common Sense On Abortion

Of course, what I see as common sense will probably infuriate some who disagree. I have already disappointed and angered some of my conservative friends because, although I will work tirelessly to reverse Roe vs. Wade, I favor no restrictions on first-trimester abortion. Some see this as a contradictory position, but perhaps they do not realize what the Roe vs. Wade decision opened up in this country, nor do they really understand what was in store for many women before abortion became legal.

I think that abortion, as a form of birth control and as a matter of convenience, is morally repugnant, and I am against it; but I want it legally available in the first trimester to emancipated females with no restrictions and no questions asked and available after that only in exceptional circumstances. I never want to see us go back to the days of back alley abortions with girls and women dying horrible deaths or being maimed from toxic shock and infection. This is what was thought we were getting with Roe vs. Wade, but aside from the fact that the Roe decision grievously distorted our Constitution and solidified the idea of judicial activism, this decision has led to a horrendous situation known as “abortion on demand”.

The problem is that Roe, which permitted no restrictions by state governments during the first six months of a pregnancy, was accompanied by another decision, Doe v. Bolton (1973), that defined “health of the mother” so broadly that states and even the federal government have been effectively restrained from enacting any restrictions at all. Recently Congress passed, by an large margin, and the president signed into law, a prohibition on partial birth abortion. This law has been completely stymied by various federal courts of appeal, and we have been reduced to arguing about whether a minor child’s parents can have any input or even be notified of that child’s situation.

I know that repeal of Roe vs. Wade would mean that some states might pass restrictions that limit even first trimester abortions, but 1. most states were already liberalizing their laws before Roe, 2. the larger, more populous states would almost certainly have very liberal abortion laws, and 3. if a few states pass laws the rest of us don’t like, that’s what a republic form of democracy is all about.

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