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An annoying abortion argument

Speaking of the Supreme Court, everyone seems to be buzzing about an upcoming abortion showdown. I'll wait until the case is actually decided before commenting on it directly, but I would like to say something about the discussion surrounding it.

I'm talking about the predictable pro-choice chorus about how a woman has an absolute right to control her own body. This annoys me. Not because I disagree with it, but because I agree with it. In fact, I think no further argument for abortion rights is even necessary.

What annoys me is that I'm convinced that most of the people who make this argument don't buy it themselves. How many of them, for example, would support a woman's (or a man's?) right to abuse her own body with recreational drugs, for instance?

Many people will object that society as a whole pays a terrible cost due to drug abuse, and that society's interest must be balanced against a woman's right to take controlled substances into her body. That's a valid argument, but as soon as you've made it you've conceded that women don't have absolute control over their bodies and that society (including aged, white, Republican males, BTW) has a legitimate interest as well.

So if you make the "my body, my choice" argument and also believe in the decriminalization of drugs, then God bless you; there should be more like you in the world. But for the rest? For the people who constantly lecture and nag us about what and whether we should smoke and where, what kind of cars we should drive, whether we should own a handgun or shop at Wal-Mart and what kind of jokes we can tell our secretaries, to suddenly start talking like Ayn Rand as soon as the topic of abortion comes up? Give me a break.


"What annoys me is that I'm convinced that most of the people who make this argument don't buy it themselves. How many of them, for example, would support a woman's (or a man's?) right to abuse her own body with recreational drugs, for instance?"

I would. I do. I have.

The ' slight' difference here is that, according to the right, drug users need to be protected from hurting themselves (and society less so) which is pretty condescending, whereas abortion laws protect other 'people' (embryos) from death. Comparisons between abortion and X are pretty problematic i think because it's such a unique issue.

Abortion certainly IS a "unique issue." It is THAT precisely because at some point (and people obviously disagree as to where that point is) it involves TWO separate and individually "OWNED" lives.

Certainly we all KNOW that the life inside a woman's womb was NOT created by herself alone, so therefore it CANNOT ever be considered to "belong" to her alone.

In fact, the only logical argument I can make concerning abortion is that, at least through the first trimester, since that life is not yet fully formed and able to survive on it's own, it can be aborted for any number of reasons, even the "convenience" of the parents.

Once that "life" CAN survive on its own, however, IT, like all living things "owns" its own life - its own self. To deny that is to condone arbitrary murder (the arbitrary taking of another's life), so long as it is convenient to do so.

For that reason, I have no problem with such things as "parental notification" and strictures against "late term" or "partial birth abortion." I can't imagine a logical or rational argument in favor of that.

JMK, it seems that you and I share identical views regarding abortion, which doesn't really surprise me as we tend to agree on most matters.

The argument that the pro-choice makes about a late-term abortion ban is that it doesn't take into consideration the health of the mother.

The problem I have always had with this is how and who, exactly defines what her health is and just how it is threatened?

Would this include a woman who decided she would rather abort and will be very depressed unless she does?

Honestly, I do not know.

The problem is that virtually all women work closely with their doctors during this time and, hence, I could see a doctor writing up a report with a less than convincing rationale (or an exaggerated one) at the patient's request. If that happens, is that OK or is there a review?

Again, I don't know.

It really is a gray area, probably kept intentionally so by its advocates.

That's the conundrum about the exception for the "health of the mother," ANY doctor can give that as a reason, even when there is actually no medical emergency at all.

In cases where septicemia or other systemic conditions endanger the woman's life, the primary life saving treatment naturally goes to the mother.

The reason the current Bill has no "health exception" is because Congress listened to testimony from many, many doctors who claimed there is never a medical reason to perform a partial birth or Third Trimester abortion.

Once a fetus reaches the point where it could be a viable life outside the womb, that must be the point where we consider it an independent, self-owning life and short of the most exigent of emergencies seek to save BOTH mother and child, whether she wants that child, at that point, or not.

In my view, once that child can survive outside the womb, the only decent, humane and viable option IS putting the child up for adoption, as it IS, at that point a separate, individual, self-owning life.

"The ' slight' difference here is that, according to the right, drug users need to be protected from hurting themselves (and society less so) which is pretty condescending..." (ortho)

Actually, most drug laws aren't posed that way at all ortho. They're couched more in terms of "protecting society," than anything else. Many proponents of stiff sentences for drug crimes believe that some drugs change a person's personality and can lead to violence. I'm not entirely sold on that myself.

Now, I tend to agree that the Rockefeller drug laws are insanely and wrongly draconian and result in drug convictions often racking up more prison time than violent felonies, which is absurd.

I'd prefer to see the Rockefeller Law's mandatory sentences applied to violent crimes and that "Three Strikes" law applied to three violent crimes, not just three felonies, so that a mugger, who also stole a car, doesn't get that "third strike" for shoplifting.

I'm no longer a supporter of legalization, or even blanket decriminalization, because I do believe that drug abuse, like alcohol abuse is usually part of a far wider pattern of self-destructivness. Drugs may not cause violent behavior, but the escalating costs, as one's habit increases, often drives people to steal and harm others in order to procure their drug needs.

I'd probably support a near "decriminalization" (perhaps a sentence of some mandatory drug treatment, despite the fact that it rarely takes) for USERS, but I'd still support prison for drug dealers and smugglers.

But before I'd get really jump onto that bandwagon, I'd prioritize the numerous laws that HAVE BEEN enacted to "save us from ourselves," from mandatory seat belt laws, to bike helmet statutes and such.

JMK you are straight conservative on the drug issue and i respectfully disagree with you. Lots of habits that are legal CAN cause problems if people are irresponsible. Where we draw the line between personal freedom and safety/public good is crucial and i don't think that line is behind marijuana BUT ahead of cigarettes and alcohol and ritalin. Some degree of decriminalization for the use of the most benign of drugs is really the answer that strikes a more reasonable balance.

I accept your position ortho, but I respectfully disagree, as you know.

The problem for the view that goes, "Marijuana is no worse than other legal drugs" (alcohol & nicotine), is that society has been getting increasingly tougher on alcohol and tobacco, alleviating the argument that goes, "Why are some drugs OK and others not?"

Tobacco and alcohol are increasingly viewed as "NOT OK."

Now, I might well agree that marijuana is no more harmful than nicotine and alcohol, but it is also true that nicotine doesn't inebriate and alcohol CAN be consumed in moderation without inebriation resulting. The entire purpose of the consumption of cannibus is to get high, or, in a sense inebriated.

For better or worse, we seem to moving to a more restrictive society in regards to all drugs, including alcohol and nicotine.

Knowing a fair number of people who've destroyed themselves through drug and alcohol abuse, I can't say that that's a terrible thing.

I fully agree that government cannot save us from ourselves, but declaring "the right" to be self destructive and demanding that others "not judge" their fellow citizens ultimately comes down to encouraging self destructivness and that tends to do a major disservice to those among us who are the most vulnerable and prone to recklessness and irresponsible behavior.

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