I know I’m a glutton for punishment for making the topic of abortion a regular part of the diet of this blog.
But I think it is one of the great questions of our age and too often it gets trivialized. (If you look down at the comments section under this post, you’ll soon find a lot of stupid comments.)
Anyway, this morning allow me to point out a column from Jodi Jacobson on the website RH Reality Check. She’s a defender of the “pro-choice” side of the argument.
Her piece entitled “Life Begins At Conception. That’s Not The Point” offers a shift in the argument for people who support abundant access to abortion anytime during pregnancy.
“The question is not when life begins,” she writes, “That just obfuscates the real issues.
“The fundamental issues are:
- When does pregnancy begin?
- Does personhood begin at conception? Is a fertilized egg, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus a person with rights that trump those of the woman upon whose body it depends?
- Do women need “evidence” that if they are pregnant, odds are they are going to have a baby.
- Do women have the moral agency and fundamental rights to decide whether or not to commit themselves not only to the development of a life within their own bodies, but to a lifelong tie to another human being once a child is born?
“Pregnancy begins at implantation. Human life has to begin with conception, but conception is not the same thing as pregnancy, the latter of which reason, science, and medical evidence agree begins when a fertilized egg successfully implants in the uterus and develops into a healthy embryo. Fertilized eggs take between six to 12 days to implant in the uterine lining. There simply is no pregnancy until this happens, which is why any method that prevents fertilization or implantation cannot cause an abortion.”
That may sound like double-speak, but eventually what Ms. Jacobson gets around to say is that science is really no big deal anymore when it comes to the right to abort.
We concede life begins at conception, she essentially says, but personhood does not begin until the mother decides she wants the baby. If, say, a mother says ‘I want the baby’ at 3 months, but at 4 months decides she doesn’t, the so-called “personhood” of the baby is revoked on the whim of the mother.
I think I’m reading her piece correctly. You, of course, can make up your own mind.
What is happening, I think, is that as science progresses and makes mockery of the Roe v. Wade decision, the pro-choice folks are shifting their Luddite arguments away from science to the theory that the desire of the mother is the key and only factor and that can take place no matter the development of the child.
You will remember that Rep. Nancy Pelosi once took this concept to its logical conclusion by saying that a fetus is a fetus that can be terminated anytime up to the point the mother takes the baby out of the hospital. In other words, even after birth, the mother can count the toes and fingers and make the abortion call. I think there is some common ground on the abortion issue. It comes in the form of the idea that no matter where you are on scientific or moral arguments, abortion should be rare. Really rare.
A lot of people pay lip service to that idea, but their actions are to make abortion anything but rare.
What if government really believed abortion should be rare and treated it like, say, smoking.
It’s legal, but it’s a bad thing. A stupid thing. An uncool thing.
Then take it one step further to play up the virtues of taking the baby to term and putting it up for adoption. Portray that as true bravery.
That would be a great step toward making abortion rare.