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PeterU's Journal
Posted by PeterU in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Mar 02nd 2010, 11:46 AM
...unsolicited as it might be:

Abortion rights proponents believe the issue to be 100% about the woman carrying the fetus. Abortion opponents believe the issue to be 100% about the fetus/unborn child. And each side will independently frame the issue as such, and as such there is almost a natural fundamental disconnect between the two sides where there doesn't need to be, at least to the extent of wanting to have an actual conversation and not just a screaming match. (And I think for some, they don't want an actual conversation and I honestly find that sad.)

The fact is that the abortion is neither 100% about the woman nor 100% about the fetus. The pregnancy process is an entirely unique one, unparalleled from that of any other medical process faced by living organisms. On one hand you have a woman who is required to endure significant biological changes throughout the process. On the other hand, you are dealing with a seperate biological entity with a seperate DNA, and oh yeah--one that is evolving on a daily basis into all the familar system that encompass a human being. So there really is a balance between the two interests. (And I'm not saying it is a 50/50 balance or a 70/30 balance or a 99/1 balance in either direction. But when it comes to taking an honest look at the abortion issue, one must admit that after peeling aside all the heated rhetoric there are two legitimate interests to be considered.)

I'm not really of the mindset that your "parasitic growth" analogy is all that apt--to me, that logic is too similar to the flawed "guns vs. cars" talking points espoused by NRA members (i.e. the argument that car accidents kill more people annually than guns do). There is no sympathy for a true parasite, such as a tapeworm. In all circumstances, it is viewed as an unwelcome intruder, and the uncontroverted medical course of action is always to remove it, and to remove it as quickly as possible. However, there is no black-white reaction like that during the pregnancy process. At least in circumstances where the pregnancy is viewed as a welcome thing, people will celebrate the embryo/fetus, even from the earliest stages. They will frame ultrasound pictures, they will talk to it and play music to it, they will press their hand up to the stomach of the mother to feel it kick. That is hardly how one reacts to a tapeworm.

But that's somewhat beside the point. I think the bottom line when it comes to the abortion debate is that each side is always shocked--shocked!--when they talk to someone of the opposing mindset and not only is there disagreement, but a total and undeniable disconnect. And that's because in the rush to frame the issue as friendly to what they think are the general public's values as possible, they've lost sight of what they are debating about. In doing so, they are denying thesmelves of the reality that there maybe some value to the opposing sides points, even if there is a general overall disagreement. In the meantime, abortion rights proponents will talk until they are blue in the face about personal soverignity and "keeping your laws off my body", and abortion opponents will talk about God and a "culture of life", and all of it--all of it--is a bunch of hot air which doesn't serve to honestly convince a single person of the opposing view point. It's all incredibly self-serving and truly a waste of words.

I think any talk of "end games" in the abortion debate is a difficult one. If each side is to be truly honest to both themselves and to the other side, then I don't see how wanting a situation where a)abortion is considered an unbreachable and unfettered right and considered to be the same as any other medical procedure or--alternately--b)abortion is to be prohibited in all circumstances no matter how prejudicial the situation may be to the woman. Now, to what extent should any restrictions go as opposed to the permissible right of action? That's the million dollar question and I wish I had an answer to it, but I don't. But that's why we need a real and honest debate on the subject taking into account all the interests at hand and why each side believes why they do, and not just a screaming match to see who can make their opponent look the worst.
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