Friday, September 24, 2004
Over the past week, a few friends have asked me why I support the re-election of President Bush. Living in Boston, Massachusetts, I am somewhat of an oddity as a Bush supporter, which may well explain my friends' question. I begin here with my primary, though certainly not sole, reason.
There is no worse tragedy and injustice in the United States of America than the http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/abortionstats.html:40,000,000 unborn children who have died as a result of abortion since the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973.
Legal Aspects. Because of the Roe decision, no state or federal law may restrict abortion during the first six months of pregnancy. More significantly, however, any state or federal law restricting abortion during the last three months of pregnancy must have an exception clause for the life or health of the mother. Health is the dangerous term. Roe v. Wade was followed by Doe v. Bolton, also in 1973, which defined "health" as "physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age." Roe and Doe taken together mean that no viable fetus is safe, even up until the moment of birth, because a mother can claim her emotional, psychological, or familial health would be threatened by the birth. There are far fewer third-trimester abortions than earlier abortions, but by no means are they forbidden, as many people have been led to believe.
The Main Point. Abortion proponents consider the issue a matter of choice in reproduction and frame objections to abortion as examples of others forcing their irrelevant religious views on society as a whole, the equivalent of religionists working to outlaw tattoo parlors or body piercing. Such arguments entirely miss the core issue involved: whether the fetus is a person who has a right to live. If the fetus is, as abortion proponents say, merely "the products of conception" or a "part of the woman's body" and a baby becomes a person as it travels down the birth canal, then there is no reason to restrict abortion. It would be no different than if there were a trend to lop off one's ear lobes. People may differ on the wisdom of such surgery, but there is no compelling reason to legislate against it. If, on the other hand, the fetus is a person, then he is a human being deserving of protection, and moreover a baby. Is there any crime more heinous than to kill a helpless baby?
I am convinced that a fetus is a person. The difference between a nine-month old fetus and a newborn baby is an umbilical cord and lungs filled with air. I see no reason why either of those things should define personhood. Furthermore, I know of no clear breakpoint between conception and birth where one could say that a potential person became an actual person. Many may object that fertilized eggs and zygotes and blastocysts fail to implant and spontaneously abort all the time, but I would counter that old people also spontaneously die on a regular basis, but it is still criminal to kill an old person before he dies naturally. I would further point out that it is immoral to kill an old person even if that person makes life difficult or causes financial hardship or is severely handicapped or brings back bad memories to the caregiver.
So, let us not blather about privacy, choice, rape, incest, parental notification, and handicaps. These issues are all irrelevant. The one question that matters is whether the fetus is a person. If it is not a person, then it matters not to me whether a woman has a thousand abortions. If the fetus is a person, however, then all of the inconveniences and difficulties and circumstances in the world cannot excuse a single feticide. If you are not sure, then oughtn't you proceed carefully? Isn't it better to err on the side of caution than to be responsible for murder?
What Can a President Really Do? We had eight years of pro-life President Ronald Reagan and four years of George W. Bush, but abortion is still legal in the United States up to the moment of birth. Because the legal status of abortion has been cemented by a ruling of the Supreme Court, there are only two ways to reverse it: amend the Constitution or replace the judges. Though the president is not involved in the process of amending the Constitution, a pro-life Republican president can have a strong influence on an inconsistently pro-life Republican party. For the second way to rid the country of abortion, the president is directly responsible. Unfortunately, even a pro-life president does not guarantee good choices of Supreme Court justices. Case in point: Sandra Day O'Connor, who was appointed by President Reagan. On the other hand, it is clear that any justice a pro-abortion Democrat would nominate would only make matters worse.
One of the more direct things a president can do is what President Reagan started and President George W. Bush reenacted soon after taking office--the Mexico City Policy. By executive order, the president refuses to release federal funds to support abortion overseas. The United Nations Population Fund, which supports China's coerced abortion policy, is one organization that federal money cannot support. You can be sure that a Massachusetts liberal would rescind that executive order as soon as he were sworn in as president.
A Culture of Death. If there is a single issue that would decide my vote, abortion is it. There are many other reasons that I support President Bush, but his position on abortion is the most important one. Abortion is an unnatural crime. A culture that condones it manifests its own moral decay and begs for further decline.