Wednesday, May 31, 2006

From the editorial pages...

One of the great parts about my job is that I get to read all the major state papers every morning. Occasionally they have stuff that I feel compelled to blog about, so I clip them and save them for later. Here's today's round-up (these are a few days old...I've been sitting on them):

From the Akron Beacon Journal : "Abortion is a matter of belief"
....we do not know when life begins and [I] am impressed that another physician admits this belief as a fact. I disagree with his conclusion that this fact makes aboriton unjustified.
From their religious and other life experiences, people believe differently about whem life begins. This belief can vary from the time of conception to anywhere up to the time of birth.
Also, the public has never come to a universal agreement on the question of if or when an abortion can be done. Since it is a fact that we do not know when life beings, one must make one's own descisions from one's own beliefs whether one has had an abortion or not.
Abortion is an emotionally disturbing and traumatic event. It is a decision not to be taken lightly. However, the procedure should be available to those women who would find continuing a pregnancy an overwhleming problem.

Well isn't that just peachy? Let's debunk here. First, we don't know when life begins. Well, OK. I guess you can have a point. I'm Catholic so we say conception. But if you don't buy that, or want to be medical, then let's look at is. It is when the heart starts beating? Well that happens pretty early on in fetal development. Brain functions? We know babies in utero can feel pain and they move around, so obviously there's some brain function going on. Babies have bodies, obviously, because they're born with one. Lungs are developed around what? 7 months or so? What is the exact criteria for life that an unborn child doesn't posses? Speech? Well there are plenty of people who can't talk. Higher brain function? Same thing. Are these people not human? I don't want to get into that, because some people (amazingly, horrifyingly) will say that they actually aren't. But really, when does life begin, if not at conception?

When I was in college I took a class called Psychology of Religion. There we learned about Paschal's wager, which basically said that it's better to believe in God just in case he actually does exist than to not believe in God and find out later that He does exist. It's sort of hedging your cosmic bets. So if we don't know when life begins, then shouldn't we be too cautious rather than not cautious enough? That seems to make sense to me.

As for "the public has never come to a universal agreement on the question of if or when an abortion can be done", if that was criteria for deciding anything, then nothing would get done! I work in politics, and I know! Geez! Enough of us can agree on enough that we should be able to move on. This is a democracy. Not everyone has to be in agreeement. We have majority rules in America, for better or worse. And the majority of the American people are against some, if not all, abortions. The AMA even says that partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary. So what else is this guy looking for? Americans don't all agree on capital punishment, either, but the last time I checked we still had it.

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