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Vote For Obama, Kill A Baby

I like to think that I've established my position pretty clearly on the abortion issue -- I'm "squishily" pro-choice, on a purely pragmatic basis -- but I gotta say that the positions evinced by the two Democratic nominees turn my stomach.

While in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama was faced with a bill that would have required that infants born after unsuccessful abortions be given medical treatment, instead of simply abandoned to slowly die alone and unattended. He not only voted against it, but worked hard to defeat it.Obama has offered several remarkable different explanations for why he acted thus.

And now Joe Biden, self-proclaimed devout Catholic, who has proclaimed that life begins at conception, in accordance with Catholic doctrine. But Biden also supports the right to abortion. I've been trying to reconcile the two, and I really can't. I can't find a way short of Biden saying that it is perfectly acceptable for a pregnant woman to murder the life within her.

There are perfectly valid arguments on both sides of the issue -- if it was black and white, there wouldn't be any debate on the matter. But neither of these men are making what I would consider valid arguments.

In Obama's case, it seems that the law would not infringe on a woman's right to choose. The baby's out, so she has successfully ended her pregnancy. There are legal methods the mother can then use to sever any legal obligations to the infant, so she is not forever bound to it. There is absolutely no compelling need for the baby to die.

In Biden's case, the argument over abortion has often hinged on when the fetus is, legally, "alive" and human and therefore entitled to basic human rights. Biden seems to be conceding the fundamental argument of the pro-life side -- that life begins at conception -- but doesn't see any reason to have that influence on his stance on abortion. His stance suddenly reminds me of Wile E. Coyote -- he' s run off the cliff, philosophically, and is currently standing on empty air, having blown away the very foundations of his position.

The pro-choice argument has always thrived on ambiguity. When, precisely, does life begin? When does a fetus become a human being? At what point does the fetus' right to life supercede the mother's right to not be pregnant?

Hell, even the very name they've chosen shows the vagueness so essential to their movement. They very much want to focus on the word "choice," and get extremely irate at any attempt to clearly define just what those choices entail. They don't even seem to like to be described as "pro abortion right."

As I said, I consider myself "squishily" pro-choice. But I freely admit that my position is based purely on pragmatic reasons -- I don't see any way to practically apply a legal ban and make it stick. I don't even pretend to offer any kind of idealistic, ethical, principled defense for that.

Because, as Obama and Biden are showing us, such attempts almost always blows up in the arguer's face.


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Comments (19)

My view on abortion changed... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

My view on abortion changed the minute I saw my first son's sonogram.

Although I agree about the "conception" part, I can bend to add "and implantation to the point of heartbeat" to allow for the "morning after" cases and rape treatment centers, and, of course, in cases where the life of the mother is in danger.

I don't support banning abortion completely, but I do think it needs for limitations. The idea that life can be ended for convenience's sake is appalling,

" When, precisely, does lif... (Below threshold)
retired military:

" When, precisely, does life begin? When does a fetus become a human being? At what point does the fetus' right to life supercede the mother's right to not be pregnant?
"

Dont ask Obama. I dont think he has found someone above his paygrade to give him his opinion on it.

Good post Jay. The empahsis... (Below threshold)

Good post Jay. The empahsis on the word "choice" serves many purposes, the most recent example that of Sarah Palin's and her daughter's decision to carry a baby to term.

Democrats focused on their "choice" not their decision, the reasons for their decision and the other details .
I would be interested if any of the writers here can comment on how abortion is playing out in the volatile polling of the last three days.

I mention this because of the comment above in #1 where goddessoftheclassroom notes her change in position....this seems to reflect much of what I see in my circle of friends.

The comment I would like to... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The comment I would like to make concerns Biden's religious belief. What kind of faith does he practice that allows him to end life because it is the political thing to do, not the right thing? I cannot find that verse in the bible. ww

I really was saddened by Bi... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I really was saddened by Biden's stance the other day - you can't ride the fence on this issue.

Sarah kept her baby. Trig w... (Below threshold)
Kelly:

Sarah kept her baby. Trig will happily grow up in a family that loves him unconditionally.


Sarah's decision only underscores Obama's disgusting position on partial birth.

Imagine a just-aborted helpless infant gasping for breath and Obama turns his back. That's exactly what he did with his vote.

That's who could be our next president. God help us all.

The Democrats: Dead babies,... (Below threshold)

The Democrats: Dead babies, not dead terrorists.

I think that Biden's commen... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

I think that Biden's comment and position resonates with more of the American public than you think. My wife and I are both Catholic and believe that life begins at conception, but we both wouldn't mind abortion (for others mind you) if it was performed within the first 10 weeks. I think you would find most of the American public would accept that premise if it were the law of the land. So dismissing Biden here doesn't work as well as one might think. Obama on the other hand is just plain sadistic when it comes to abortion. I cringe whenever I hear someone trying to explain and justify his previous and current positions.

How about this idea? A wom... (Below threshold)
Churt:

How about this idea? A woman has the right to have the baby removed from her body at any point in the pregnancy but can not have the baby "aborted". In other words, the baby must be cared for as a person when removed. The woman's choice is only to have the baby removed from her body not end the baby. Obviously before a certain point in the pregnancy the baby would not survive being removed. At least not with current medical science. This stance would allow the woman freedom of choice in regards to her own body but not choice over the babies life directly.

The down side of this would be the cost to the tax payer of course. Assuming the woman did not want to keep the child after being removed that is. I believe the details could be worked out. How many religious groups would throw money into the pot to save the removed babies? Granted, there would be more orphans out there. Not sure how many. Some would get adopted right away.

Some may still not be any more happy with the change I'm suggesting than what is currently done. But it is the best compromise I can come up with. I'm looking at it from a rights perspective. The mother has a right to make decisions about her own body but not about the babies in regards to life.

Churt,Actually, th... (Below threshold)

Churt,

Actually, there is a profoundly reasonable natural rights position that you could take.

First, a person owns their own body, and thus all the parts of their body. That is the core principle of natural law that leads to property rights and against slavery, among other things. (In fact, all economic theories of value start from that point.)

Second, a person has an absolute right to self-defense. It is always permissible to kill or injure someone trying to kill or injure you. (This reasonably is extended, in conjunction with point one, to a defense of one's property, but that's not really at issue here.)

Third, a person has a right to live so long as they can sustain themselves and have not forfeited their rights by infringing the rights of others around them. That is, no one has a right to demand that others sustain them, though we generally do so wherever possible, even beyond the bounds of practicality, out of human decency and compassion.

So an abortion would be reasonably defensible on natural rights grounds so long as the baby was either a part of the mothers body, or unable to sustain itself, or posing a risk of death or injury to the mother. (There are some definitional issues that we will get to shortly.)

By that reasoning, abortion to preserve the life or health of the mother would be acceptable. Abortion after rape or incest is pretty arguable; the argument allowing that would depend on the claim of psychological injury to the mother. Depending on the definitions of "part of the mother's body" and "unable to sustain itself," you could reasonably conclude that there are points early in the pregnancy where abortion would be a natural right of the mother, and points late in the pregnancy where abortion would be infanticide. I would argue that the sensible dividing line is when the baby has a statistically 50% chance of survival, if removed from the womb and given medical treatment. (IIRC, right now that's around 5 months gestation.) Killing a baby once born, even if that is a result of a botched abortion attempt that would otherwise be reasonable, is right out: it's infanticide, without any question.

Frankly, unless I have simply missed something in natural rights theory, there is a real hole around the status of children. A child cannot practically sustain itself for quite a while after birth. Without the protection of an adult, a child who is not yet at least 7 or 8 would have essentially no chance of survival, and until around age 13 or so, that chance would be somewhat slim. It is only once the child becomes fully able to provide for himself through labor that he becomes capable of surviving on his own terms. Not coincidentally, I think, that comes around the start of puberty, when most societies until very recently declared people to be adults. Does this leave children as property of their parents until puberty? That seems like an unfortunate theoretical result, indeed an unacceptable result, since it would allow the summary killing of, say, ten year old kids by their parents without legal consequence. But I am unaware of any natural rights theory that grants the right to life and demands of others that they sustain that life.

Now, all of that said, I think that abortion is morally repugnant and also none of the State's business. (Legally, the idea of the State taking the part of the victim of a crime is somewhat questionable; it is up to the victim or their survivors to raise charges. The ability of the State to do this is needed because we do not want to remove legal penalties for murdering someone with no family, but it is a power that should be used much more lightly than it is. In the case of abortion, since the victim's family would not raise the charge, should the State? I'd argue no, but there is a reasonable case to be made that once the baby is viable, the State could do so, in the same way the State could raise a charge if a parent killed their five year old child.) I suspect that puts me, for one of the few times that this is likely ever to happen, pretty much in Biden's camp on the issue. Though I suspect that he is, in reality, more amenable to abortion than his public statements indicate.

You know your a liberal whe... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

You know your a liberal when you have a bumper sticker reading KEEP ABORTION LEGAL right next to your SAVE THE REDWOODS,SAVE THE RAINFORESTS, bumper stickers You know your a liberal when you were in southern california weeping over the cut down trees

I'm also "squishy" pro-choi... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

I'm also "squishy" pro-choice... but Biden is actually admitting to murder with his stance (if he freely admits "life" begins at conception).
Obama's stance on late-term and post-unsuccessful abortions is just repugnant.

I do hope it comes up during the debates.

<a href="http://frankwarner... (Below threshold)
George:

Free Frank Warner covered this topic well.

From a scientific point of ... (Below threshold)

From a scientific point of view the matter of life is quite clear: both ova and sperm are alive, as is the single-celled embryo formed at conception. Ova and sperm are components of women and men, the potential mothers and fathers respectively, much like their astrocytes, endothelial and epithelial cells, etc. However, at conception, a new, living human being is formed with its own genome, etc. This is not a matter of faith, but fact.

Now, we can argue all day long about when that human being acquires rights, including a right to live. Indeed, our nation's laws have fairly arbitrarily assigned and retracted rights over the past 200+ years. But "when does life begin" is about as debatable as Brownian motion or the orbit of the Earth about the Sun. Empirical fact can't be trumped by opinion, except by liberals and "intelligent design" aficionados.

At what point does the f... (Below threshold)
Brian:

At what point does the fetus' right to life supercede the mother's right to not be pregnant?

Jeff,Well written ... (Below threshold)
Churt:

Jeff,

Well written response. Thank you.

I would like to comment on the sustainability of a child's life once outside the mother. There are many people who can not survive without help including infants, some elderly and some disabled. In my opinion, all of these people deserve the protection of the community. In other words, if the child is removed from the mother then the community should be responsible for helping it. Many would disagree with this stance asking why should we have to pay for someone else being irresponsible. How much do we pay to maintain prisons? By that logic shouldn't we just kill anyone who would otherwise go to jail? The answer to me is obvious. You don't execute a petty thief. That would be over the top. So why is it alright to execute a child that is removed from the mother early simply because it will cost the tax payers money? My opinion is that it is not.

As far as the right to life goes I give you the following quote:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

The one thing that still needs to be reconciled in the law is when does that mass of dividing cells constitute a person? I was attempting to separate the two issues of a woman's choice over her body vs the babies right to life. It may seem like I'm just changing one word for another but I think removing vs aborting to be an important difference. Having the baby removed from her body should always be a woman's choice but the life of the baby should be the responsibility of the state just like any other person in need. One would hope that the child would be adopted quickly and taken off the hands and budget of the state. I might argue rather state is the proper entity here but you get the idea.

I realize that everyone has a slightly different opinion on this, many of which may be more well thought out. But that's my take on it at the moment.

There are many things regar... (Below threshold)
sshiell:

There are many things regarding the Abortion issue that confounds me. the following examples are just the beginning:

1) A 12-year old child, during a normal school day, walks into an the School Nurse's office compaining of a headache. The child cannot be given an aspirin without Parental consent. That same child, later in the day, has an accident on the playing field requiring stitches and pain medication. Again, parental consent is required.

But have that same child walk into an Abortion Clinic seeking an abortion. Last time I checked, an abortion is a medical procedure. Parental consent? Even Parental notification? Not a chance.

2) A preganant woman is attacked and seriously injured by her attacker. As a result of the injuries, the fetus aborts or is born dead. Murder charges can be made against the attacker. Remember Scott Peterson? Convicted of murdering both his wife and unborn child.

Somewhere, there is a major disconnect in our society today. I do not believe in a complete ban on abortion but I do believe in some level of sanity in the way the law is upheld. For someone to claim they believe "life begins at conception" but takes a political stance on abortion is the height of hypocracy. And there is absolutely no defense of infanticide that Obama supported.

I'm having trouble with the... (Below threshold)

I'm having trouble with the logic here:
There are perfectly valid arguments on both sides of the issue -- if it was black and white, there wouldn't be any debate on the matter.

So, the personhood of black people and their 'obvious' inferiority which designed them for slavery, the whole Dred Scott case- that was because there were perfectly valid arguments on both sides, because if it were clear cut that black people are human and deserve the same human rights as the rest of the population, then obviously, nobody would have argued otherwise?

Jeff Said: Third, a person ... (Below threshold)
Brian Walden:

Jeff Said: Third, a person has a right to live so long as they can sustain themselves and have not forfeited their rights by infringing the rights of others around them. That is, no one has a right to demand that others sustain them, though we generally do so wherever possible, even beyond the bounds of practicality, out of human decency and compassion.

I think your logic goes a little off track here. Just as natural law dictates every person has a basic right to life, it also dictates that every parent has a responsibility to care for their children until they are old enough to care for themselves. Our current law reflects this parental responsibility. If a mother and father who don't want their newborn baby abandon him (instead of giving him to a relative, putting him up for adoption, etc.) and he dies, they will face criminal charges even though they didn't directly harm the child.

If we recognize that an unborn baby is a human being, we can offer no philosophical reason why his parents have a right to kill him - we can only rationalize pragmatic ones as Jay Tea pointed out in the original article.




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