Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On Abortion, Obama Offers False Solution

I agree with Dan Schinzel of Catholic Democrats for Nebraska (November 29 Omaha World-Herald Midlands Voices) that abortion isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, a partisan issue. What I found hard to swallow was his call to follow the leadership of Barack Obama to common ground on abortion.

Obama said signing the federal Freedom of Choice Act to wipe out state restrictions on abortion would be a top priority of his presidency. As a state legislator he opposed the Born Alive Act, which said a baby who survives an abortion should be cared for – not put in a room and left to die as was happening in Illinois hospitals.

So, the journey to common ground begins with a declaration of open season on preborn humans by someone who defends infanticide-by-neglect for abortion survivors.

I was surprised Mr. Schinzel cited President Clinton to support his argument. Clinton was a tenacious protector of abortion, including defending the procedure of pulling babies almost all the way out of the birth canal and then ripping open their heads and sucking out their brains.

The Clinton common-ground mantra on abortion was to make it “safe, legal, and rare.”

A similar approach was tried with slavery: restrict it and hope it dwindles. That attempt at compromise failed because it confused "common" ground with "middle" ground.

Common ground is where the most people are. It isn’t always the middle ground. There may not be middle ground, even between reasonable people of good will, when a fundamental human right is at stake.

Imagine having told abolitionists that the solution was for them to calm down and accept the status quo on slavery, with promises that efforts would be made to discourage it. Or this one: If you really care about ending slavery, abandon your divisive push for abolition and instead advocate changing the economic situation of slave-owners so they won’t resort to slavery.

In the same vein, Mr. Schinzel told abortion abolitionists to quit “posturing” and instead help the next president reduce the number of abortions with enhanced parental education, health care, job training, and child care. The problem is that even if we could look into the most wildly optimistic crystal ball and see a new array of government programs ending poverty and reducing the number of abortions by half, there still would be more than a half-million abortions annually.

I’ll keep “posturing” for abolition. When you see severed heads and limbs from dismembered fetal bodies positioned in proper-but-disjointed relation to make sure everything was retrieved from the womb, it’s hard to envision an acceptable common ground that permits such butchery.

I appreciate the desire to reduce the carnage by eliminating poverty as a factor, but I doubt it would make much difference. The formerly poor will still want abortion for the same reason middle-class and upper-class abortion protectors want it – birth control.

Abortion is legal because proponents want it passionately. It’s fiercely emotional and personal: You are not going to deny me something central to my ideology and way of life.

Mr. Schinzel paid lip service to the ultimate goal of eliminating abortion, but pro-choice leaders and major donors in his Democratic Party would squash him if he got serious about it. Anti-poverty programs are fine, but don’t mess with the right to choose.

By the way, plenty of people in my Republican Party wish I would shut up about abortion and related issues. It truly cuts across party lines.

The only way abortion will be eliminated is if the pro-life majority that existed prior to Roe v. Wade reasserts itself.

Mr. Schinzel said overturning Roe wouldn’t matter because most states likely would preserve the status quo or make abortion easier. I’m more optimistic. Before Roe, most states banned abortion. Since then, technology providing a window into the womb has helped convince people of the humanity of fetal life. I welcome the opportunity a Roe reversal would present.

Better yet, President Obama could call on Congress to put before the nation a constitutional amendment on abortion. It wouldn’t have to protect or outlaw abortion. It could say that abortion is to be decided by the people or their elected lawmakers. That’s how we find true common ground in our system. Reasonable people don’t always agree, so we count the votes and respect the result.

If that’s too ambitious, maybe all the pro-lifers who voted for Obama could at least get the president-elect to reject the Freedom of Choice Act and show mercy to babies who somehow emerge alive from the abortion death machine.


Eric said...

I didn't read Schinzel's piece (and it doesn't appear to be online), so I'm not going to comment on any of his arguments. But, I don't see how a pro-lifer can reject the idea that we should work to reduce abortions. Yes, we should continue to oppose Roe, FOCA, et al., but I don't see how the two are mutually exclusive. They're not giving us any ground on Roe, but does that mean we have to fight their attempts to reduce abortion? No, let's do it!

Going with your analogy, abolitionists worked to free individual slaves while still opposing the institution of slavery.

Anonymous said...

Very good article Chip, I agree with you. I am a registered Democrat but I totally disagree with the "pro-choice" influence in the Democratic Party. We need more true pro-life Democrats like the late Bob Casey Sr of PA, or former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. Both were pro-poor & pro-life.

OmaSteak said...

If there have been 20-25 million abortions since Roe, what proportion of those millions would have been raised in a loving, two parent home above the poverty line?
What about the tens of millions that wouldn't have been? I'm not saying you're wrong to work against abortion but let's take time to think about the consequences of "winning" the policy battle.

Eric said...

I know a lot of couples above the poverty line who would have loved the chance to raise one of these children.

Are we suggesting that 25 million people don't deserve to live because they'd be a drain on the taxpayer? That's pretty cold...

OmaSteak said...

IMHO, there's a diference between "cold" and realistic. We already have multi-generational problems related to governments' failed efforts to "solve" poverty. Can you even imagine what those problems would look like with tens of millions of more poor??? There's a huge difference between "lots of couples above the poverty line who would have loved the chance to raise on of these children" and finding suitable permanent homes for millions of such children. I'm not supporting abortion but what happens if it's outlawed again is all I'm asking. I doubt teens/young adults with solid convictions against premarital sex and abortion are the problem. It's the millions who have never or will never give it a thought that are of concern.

Eric said...

OK, so if life is expendable to make the world more comfortable for the rest of us, I think we could probably stand to lose quite a few more drains on our tax dollars.

There are certainly a lot more targets in the developing world, but the worthless among us in our own neighborhoods are easier to get to and throwing them off the life boat will probably have a more immediate impact for us. Where do you think we should start?

OmaSteak said...

I think we should start by stopping the government at all levels from supporting poverty since all their efforts so far have only produced more of what they are supposed to be eliminating. Then charities can get the resources they need to continue and expand their already successful programs. We also need to drop the socialist humanist agenda in our schools and teach kids that all decisions have consequences and that they will not be shielded from those consequences by the government. In the end, we are not going to solve society's problems by taxing/spending ourselves into third world nation status.