Shots Across the Bow

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The Ultimate Political Answer

Wes Clark is being attacked for flip flopping his position on abortion.
Democratic presidential contender Wesley Clark on Thursday sought to clarify his comments from a day earlier in which he told a Tennessee voter, "I don't believe in abortion."

"I would hope that it would be done only on rare occasions, but it's a woman's right to choose. It's a private matter and I support the Supreme Court. I support Roe v. Wade. And I support a woman's right to choose," Clark told reporters as he campaigned in the state.

The retired Army general created a stir in New Hampshire with a series of comments on abortion, telling a newspaper's editorial board that he was pro-choice and "life begins with a mother's decision."


So, on the one hand, he is personally against abortion, but he supports the Roe V Wade decision. Sound familiar? It's a very common American attitude. I can't count the number of times I've heard a woman say something similar.

"I'd never get an abortion myself because it's wrong, but it's not my place to make that decision for some other woman."

BULL!

And to prove it, simply ask any woman who says the above why it would be the wrong decision for her. I've done this several times, and invariably, the answer boils down to something along the lines of,

"I couldn't kill my baby."

So why on earth would you allow other women to kill their babies? That is the simple hypocrisy inherent in the pro-cjoice movement. Individually, women accept that the fetus is a baby; it is only collectively that they can deny that baby it's essential humanity.

We've taken our natural tendency to respect other's privacy and warped it into tacitly acepting behavior we know is wrong.

Now, let me back up and clarify for a moment. If you truly believe that a fetus is not a person, until it's brain passes intact out of the mother's body, and you support abortion rights, then you are not a hypocrit. I disagree with your belief vehemently, but respect your consistency. If, on the other hand, you believe in your heart that a fetus is a baby, a human person, and find that abortion would be wrong for you, yet still support the right to choose, then you are either a coward or a hypocrit, who refuses to accept the conclusions of your beliefs, because they are unpopular. You are condoning what in your heart you consider the murder of infant humans because it is unpopular to oppose it, and that, folks, is reprehensible.

You can't have it both ways on this one. Either a fetus is a person, and therefor protected, or it's a lump of tissue, and there should be no more guilt or remorce at excising it than removing a wart.

Which brings us back to Clark.

He makes very clear in his comments that he believes abortion is the wrong choice, yet he supports abortion rights. Most telling is the final quote of the story.

"...life begins with a mother's decision."


Oh really? So now, according to this would-be President, a baby is not a baby until its mother decides it is.

How ignorant! How arrogant!

How typical. Once again, Clark is spouting political puffery, fed to him by his campaign, while he obviously hs only limited understanding of the issues involved.

"Umm, Mr. Clark, does the father have any say in this process? After all, this decision has a profound effect on his future as well. How about, you know, doctors? Do they get any input? Or is it just at the mother's sole discretion? Just asking, you know, since you're running for President, and might actually be in a position to appoint justices and stuff."

Fortunately, we really don't have to worry in hs case, since his campaign is over. He's still in the race, but he has as much chance of winning the nomination as Dave Marcis has of winning Daytona 500 this year.

And he's retired.
Posted by Rich
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I'm a vegetarian, but I believe in letting people choose whether they want to eat meat or not. Are you saying that I should join PETA and rescue animals?

There are people who don't watch pornography, but support the rights of other people to both view and produce it. Also, there are people (some God-fearing Christians) who are straight who have no desire to sleep with someone of the same sex for a variety of reasons, but believe in homosexual rights. There are lots of people who believe in the 2nd Amendment, but don't have any desire to own firearms.

I'm not sure how you see abortion as any different than those and many other examples of people believing in rights that they don't wish to exercise for a variety of reasons.
Posted by Manish  on  02/06  at  07:26 PM

If you personally believe that a fetus is indeed a human being, but you support the right to choose, then you are condoning a form of murder, based not on the ethics of the situation, but the pragmatics.

Let's take this attitude to an extreme. There are those who believe it should be OK to withhold support from babies born with birth defects, including food and water. The argument goes that they'd be better off dead, and since they are incapable of feeding themselves at that age, feeding is treatment, and treatment maybe withheld. Now I happen to disagree with that position, but what gives the state the right to interfere with a paren't right to decide what's best for their child? Simply that once born, a baby is considered to be a person with rights and that obligates the state to protect those rights. If you believe that a fetus has a similar status, yet fail to hold the state to the same obligations, there is an ethical inconsistancy in your position.

Most folks tend to ignore that inconsistency because it's damned inconvenient, and it's pretty easy to ignore, particularly if you don't have daughters.
Posted by rich  on  02/06  at  09:02 PM

Well, what if you believe that the world was created in 7 days and what not? Some people take this to mean that everyone should believe in creationism and that the words evolution should be struck from all textbooks. Others beleive that they can have the spiritual belief in creationism, but still allow evolution to be taught in school.

There is nothing wrong with having a set of beliefs and also beleiving that you shouldn't impose your beliefs on other people. Similar to my own belief that killing animals is wrong.
Posted by Manish  on  02/06  at  10:45 PM

I suspect that most Americans have a similar opinion to mine. I don’t claim to know if a fetus is a person. My uncertainty causes me to be conservative in my personal life. I would prefer those close to me would choose something other than abortion, and I would nudge them in that direction if it were appropriate. However, my uncertainty also causes me to understand that people may form different, and possibly valid, opinions on the subject. So as a matter of public policy I think choice makes sense.

Also from a pragmatic point, choice makes sense. Clearly the criminalization of abortion does not stop the practice. It merely sends it underground into dangerous settings. And if we could wave a magic wand and prevent all abortions in the U.S., a significant number of the 1.6 million new babies would be put into terrible circumstances since there are only about 20,000 adoptions a year.

Personally, I wish more of the energy of the anti-abortion crowd was invested in persuasion (like the “Life is a Beautiful Choice Ads”). If the problem were treated like a public health issue (such as smoking or drinking and driving) and energy was invested in persuading more women to choose not to have an abortion, there could be significant changes in the numbers. Such a campaign can only be successful, however, if the message is soft-pedaled so the audience understands it is about choice and not laws. Otherwise it will just raise the hackles of too many people the campaign should be reaching, and it will be rejected out-of-hand.
Posted by Patrick  on  02/07  at  12:48 PM

What if I believed that my religion forbade my children to see a doctor? I would not force those beliefs on others, but would others have the right to interfere with my beliefs by forcing me to take my kids to the doctor?

That's the mirror issue of abortion. If you believe the state has the duty to protect children from dangerous beliefs of their parents, and if you believe that a fetus is a human being, then the only logical conclusion is that you believe the state has a duty to protect the rights of the unborn.

Manish, your examples fail to deal with this very clear dichotomy. Instead of introducing flawed and irrelevant analogies, deal with the specific issue. If you believe that a fetus is a human, then how can you support other's rights to kill? Accordingly, if you don't believe a fetus is a person with rights, then abortion up to and including Dilation and Extraction (partial-birth)<i>for whatever reason</i> is perfectly acceptible. However, that also means that a pregnant woman is due no additional rights or protections based on her pregnancy.

You cannot have it both ways.
Posted by rich  on  02/09  at  11:36 AM

<i>but he has as much chance of winning the nomination as Dave Marcis has of winning Daytona 500 this year</i>

Or Dale Earnhart.
Posted by Barry  on  02/10  at  03:23 PM

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