Abort the Noise

Damn me for a Philistine, but I sometimes weary of the pro-life,  pro-choice political debate.

The onset of my abortion ennui actually came long ago during the Johnson and Nixon years. The primary cause celebre in those days was Vietnam, very engrossing — and top-notch teevee fare with  60 seconds from Khe Sanh, 60 from Berkley,  exciting violence everywhere in living color, brought directly to your parlor. 

But even that palled as the months and years passed. Teevee news viewership fell, and Walter Cronkite decided it was his duty to elevate the American consciousness in wider fields.

So he found some folks willing to camera-rave about a woman's bodily sovereignty and others demanding secular authority, for religious reasons, over every zygote enwombed.

It was interesting enough, if too noisy, and on Jan. 22, 1973 the body-sovereigns won, Roe V. Wade, leading some to believe that the debate (to debase an honorable word) would quiet down, just a little.

Backwards ran that thinking. Roe spawned what could be, after slavery/secession, the greatest wedge issue in American history. It created the direct-mailers  who  glommed power and riches by identifying Roe as the demon that would open fundamentalist wallets everywhere.  

It also created their opposite, the Emily's List and its emulators in that lane of the one-issue freeway. Blinders required. 

Bad enough, but worse followed. A chorus of experts, millions of voices, appeared, each one shouting the ultimate truth as deduced from a Cosmo article or  as revealed in sacred scrolls.

The ratio of self-proclaimed experts to arguers quickly approached 1:1 and hasn't varied much  since.

Citizens who concede lack of knowledge and thus reserve judgment on, say, hard versus fiat money are easy enough to find, but  bring up abortion and everyone is an authority. 

“Life begins at the instant of conception and terminating that little ball of cells is murder. ” Could be, as far as I know. Could also be that life begins with exo-womb viability, or at some other point such as, perhaps,  the beginning of personality, or proto-personality if there is such a thing.  Define “life” and maybe we can be more specific.

What seems certain to me is the harm we do our society with a political compulsion to milk the abortion issue for every dollar and every vote the traffic will bear. 

Not to mention the dangerous idiocy of millions of votes cast solely on speculation that this candidate or that will or won't appoint Supreme Court justices who will or won't vote to overturn Roe. 

The issue is important. There is some sincerity on all sides. But as a national compulsion it is Kool-Aid lunacy  when our horizon reveals Iraq, the 97-pound weakling we call a dollar,  the  question of eating our grain or burning it up in our  Yukons.     

On substance, it's reasonable to conclude that abortion is a wretched birth-control device and to personally find it cruel, to oppose it.  On a personal level I do.  On a political level I take refuge in wishy-washy agnosticism.

So here I am, heartily supporting Ron Paul who is convinced that life occurs the instant an ambitious sperm penetrates a consenting egg. How come?

It isn't that as a medical expert in reproductive matters he knows more about it than I do, though he certainly does.  It is that he's very reluctant to insist that 300 million Americans agree with him.

And so he embraces replacing the Roe decision with 50 decisions in 50 states whose sovereignty in such matters seems to be a sound Constitutional conclusion.

Here I find myself wishing that Mr. Pinckney  had asked Mr. Madison for one more edit. “Jim, put in a little something about not passing any laws we can't enforce.” 

Which takes us to a couple of young ladies experiencing periodic anxiety, to the moonlighting barber who needs a little extra cash to satisfy his also-anxious bookie, and to the coat hanger, intricately bent with infinite hope that the internet instructions were correct.

The most serious flaw in anti-abortion zealotry is the illusion that a pro-life Constitutional amendment means  no more abortions, or at least hardly any. 

Illegal abortions in great number existed pre-Roe. Negate Roe via the pro-life amendment  and they will continue in great number.

Young women who find themselves in distress due to copulatory error  can conveniently be divided into two classes.  One has money. The other shops at Family Dollar; she's never owned a bank  balance containing a comma.

The luckier troubled lass will discover a plausible reason for an immediate Swiss skiiing vacation. She will return to Lake Forest rosy and unburdened. Her sister under the skin will Google coat hangers or ask around for the barber. This unlucky Judy O'Grady may never return at all.

A sneer is to be expected here, disbelief that things ever occurred — or were merely great rarities — before 1973. I refer such illusionaries to a pool of retired guys who happened, before 1973, to be beat cops and cop-shop reporters.

They'll assure you that the girls were found in the allies, and not all that infrequently. They'll advise that it is wrong to believe that police reporters never vomit and cops never cry.

With state policies on abortion in control,  as Dr. Paul suggests, the monied lady can still visit permissive and scenic foreign locales while Judy discovers choices other than risking all on butchery. If she lives in a no-abortion Kansas, well, the sanitary clinics with real doctors and nurses in Nevada aren't that far away, certainly more accessible to her than Zurich.

I suspect Dr. Paul gave this matter considerable thought at moral, professional, and political levels. His solution, however imperfect some may find it, harmonizes with a great  ideal of liberty.  At the same time it offers some comfort to both sides.   

Beyond that we should be making the larger case.  When moral issues with political implications are insoluable by national consensus, the reasonable choice is to make the decisions as near to the citizen as possible. 

It's probable that the founders discussed this and concluded that some citizens would be vexed at the laws of their states and therefore created the Tenth Amendment. One can move, and it's easier to change states that change nations.

The Tenth nicely accommodates our stated notions of federalism and local control which a pro-life Constitutional amendment would not do.

More practically, it gives poor Judy a fighting chance to live on and conceive again, to give herself and the world a child who, from zygote to beaming graduate,  is wanted and loved. 


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