Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard
jmaynard

  • Mood:

On abortion

This one keeps coming up as a point of serious disagreement between Kerry supporters and Bush supporters. Instead of giving my views in a reply to someone else's comment, I'll break it out here so the discussion can happen in one place.

My view is simple, and will likely earn me no agreement from either side. There are two basic tenets:

1) A mentally competent adult woman has the absolute, non-negotiable right to terminate her pregnancy at any time. If the fetus dies as an unavoidable consequence, that's too bad. In that case, it was obviously not viable. This does not, however, give her the right to have a viable fetus killed. If the fetus survives the procedure, it thereby demonstrates the ability to survive independently, and thus becomes a baby, with all of the rights that go with that. This does not mean that she should be required to raise the baby, nor does it mean she should be held in any way responsible for any injuries or problems the baby suffers as a result of the early termination of pregnancy. This applies equally to sterilization procedures for both sexes, BTW: a mentally competent adult has the right to be sterilized upon demand, regardless of anyone else's opinion - and yes, that explicitly includes someone to whom they are married - in the matter.

2) Abortion is a medical procedure, with all of the same considerations as any other procedure. This means that it must only be performed with the informed consent of the patient. Obviously, this means no forced abortions. It also means that parental permission is not optional. The current law of medical practice is that a minor cannot, by definition, grant informed consent. As a paramedic, I couldn't even splint a 17-year-old girl's broken arm without parental permission, despite the fact that any reasonable person would grant that permission. It makes no sense to me that an invasive medical procedure with a nonzero risk of serious complications has less protection. For better or worse, the law grants parents complete control over a minor's medical care, and that should apply to abortion as it does to everything else. There are mechanisms in place to protect minors whose parents are not caring for them appropriately, and those mechanisms apply here as well.

Obviously, this conflicts with the platform of both major parties, although it does so less with the platform of the Democrats than the Republicans. It is far less important to me, as an issue on which to decide who to vote for, than economic issues or other issues related to basic freedoms such as the right to keep and bear arms. As bronxelf_ag001 is so fond of reminding me, it cannot affect me directly.

I do think that the massive importance placed on the issue in this past election by the pro-choice folks is overblown. I doubt that the Supreme Court appointments of either candidate would have differed in their rulings on the bench. Supreme Court Justices are notorious for not ruling as the Presidents who appointed them might wish; instead, they are very conscientious about ruling as they see the law of the land. It's impossible to predict how a Justice will actually rule on any issue once appointed.

I do understand why the religious right feels so strongly about it, though: to them, it constitutes premeditated murder, and they feel that it should be treated as such. I don't agree with them (as should be obvious), but I also respect their right to hold and act on that opinion. They're not bad people for believing that, nor are they evil for acting in accordance with their beliefs. Respecting others' right to religious beliefs of their choosing implies respecting their right to act in accordance with those beliefs, so long as fundamental human rights are not harmed in the process. (Sorry, but religions that advocate human sacrifice don't get to practice it on me. Any that try will get to meet Herr Glock, or Messrs. Smith and Wesson.)

I understand why it's such a divisive issue. I wish it weren't, but I see no real alternative. I also do not see that it will ever be otherwise.
Subscribe

  • Someone should print this poster

    In case you can't read it, it says: VINDICATION: When the loudest critic of your policies achieves his greatest success because of them. (hat…

  • Took him long enough...

    So, President Obama finally released his birth certificate. Now we can put the matter to rest. Personally, I've always thought that whether he was…

  • Fun fact for the day

    1337% of pi is 42.

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 25 comments

  • Someone should print this poster

    In case you can't read it, it says: VINDICATION: When the loudest critic of your policies achieves his greatest success because of them. (hat…

  • Took him long enough...

    So, President Obama finally released his birth certificate. Now we can put the matter to rest. Personally, I've always thought that whether he was…

  • Fun fact for the day

    1337% of pi is 42.