Monday, March 16, 2009

Potentially THE major difference between pro-choice and pro-life

I know it's old news, and I don't necessarily think it's worth rehashing, but I was reading again, this morning, about Obama's opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and this piece of his testimony jumped out at me as being particularly illuminative of the attitudes involved:

As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has
determined, since they were performing this procedure that [the abortion], in
fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if this fetus, or child — however way you
want to describe it — is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues
to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication
that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they
would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make
sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. (

What really struck me about this was that, in his view, the optimal outcome, the hoped-for result, was the baby in question "coming out limp and dead." If that doesn't happen, something's gone wrong, and the question is whether an excess burden on the physician that would help to ensure that the child remained not "limp and dead" was too much to ask.

There are issue on which I think people who are pro-life and people who are pro-choice can agree, and then there are issues on which I think common ground might be a lost cause.

Between an unwanted pregnancy and no unwanted pregnancy, I think we'd both prefer no unwanted pregnancy. (The issue of how to ensure that is another matter entirely.)

Between an unwanted pregnancy where the mother chooses abortion and an unwanted pregnancy where the mother chooses life, I think we'd (mostly) all prefer an unwanted pregnancy where the mother chooses life. (The exception being those who insist that the abortion choice carries no moral weight and that neither option, thus, deserves any preference over the other.)

Once a mother has chosen abortion, between an abortion procedure that is successful and results in a dead baby and an abortion procedure that is unsuccessful and results in a live baby, I choose the live baby every time. That just seems like self-evident best outcome to me, life instead of death. The more I think about it, though, the more it seems that this would not be the case for people who are pro-choice. As much as they may want to - or at least may pay lip service to wanting to - reduce abortions, the mother's choice is paramount. Once a woman chooses an abortion, a live baby would be in opposition to her choice. Though they may say they want fewer abortions, do they necessarily want fewer dead babies?

(Apologies for the constant use of the phrase "dead baby" in this post. While accurate, it's also inflammatory and graphic, and something I try to avoid. It was inescapably suggested by the above quote, though.)

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