Archives for posts with tag: pro-life

Some say that history repeats itself until we figure out what it meant in the first place.
Others maintain that history’s first ‘helping’ comes as a tragedy while the second becomes a farce.

Well, I’m afraid things are a little more complicated.

For starters, history doesn’t do anything.
History is nothing but a string of events. Considered noteworthy and written down by some of those who have survived the above mentioned events.
NB, ‘winning’ is not necessary. Being able to survive – and to write, of course, is!

It is us who consider some of the events we have witnessed – or read about, to be noteworthy.
It is us who attempt to draw meaning from what we ‘hear about’.
It is us who are arrogant enough to believe we have learned anything.

Which brings me to the next step.

We live in a huge reality.
But see only a small portion of it. Understand even less than that.
But consider ourselves rational human beings. We are convinced that what we do – the decisions we reach and then put in practice, are based on reason. And good will!!!

Day to day practice tells us that individuals make mistakes.
I’ll leave ‘alone’ the actual ‘criminals’, I’m going to consider – for the scope of this post, that all of us act in good faith, all of the time.
Hence we need a mechanism to cope with the ‘honest mistakes’ made by every one of us.
No matter how low or how high in the ‘pecking order’.
No matter how feeble or how power full each of us is.
How much decision power each of us musters at anyone moment.

We need a ‘procedure’, an ‘opening’, for each of us who sees something going amiss to be able to tell the others that ‘the emperor is naked.

That’s what ‘democracy’ is for.

But there’s a caveat here.

Like history, democracy is a human concept. A man-made ‘tool’!

Each of the individual members of the group using this tool is ‘limited’. Has a limited knowledge and a limited ‘processing power’. By definition… Otherwise, democracy wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place. If at least one of the individuals involved would have been omniscient, they would have – somehow, climbed to the pinnacle of the hierarchy.
The fact that all imperia – all ‘arrangements’ where one individual garners a lot of power over a complex system comprising many other people, have inevitably collapsed is a very powerful empirical proof of my assertion.
Further more, the number of individuals involved in any democratic arrangement is also limited. Also by definition. There’s no place on Earth – there are no humans living someplace else, for an infinite number of people. Hence even the aggregate understanding of things any democracy might reach is also limited. Fallible, that is.

Then even democracies need to follow rules. They just cannot ‘vote’ whatever their members wish to happen…

The first rule, of course, being the fact that you should not vote ‘against’ the rules of nature. You cannot, for instance, abolish Newtons gravity by voting it ‘unlawful’…
The second rule being that the individuals comprising the democratic arrangement have be convinced that each of them is equivalent. Not equal, that’s impossible, but ‘equivalent’. That each of them should be able to vote, that each of them should have only one vote and that each of them should have the opportunity to voice their concerns. In a nutshell, that all of them have equal rights and that nobody – no individual or a smaller number of people than the entire ‘congregation’, has the right to tell anybody else what to do. Or what to refrain themselves from doing.

Now, that I have reached this point, let be go back to history.

The first ‘democratic arrangement’ known to us was the Ancient Athens.
It had evolved, for while, as an increasingly democratic form of government. During this time, the city’s fortune and influence in the region had grown almost constantly until Pericles had ‘bent’ the democratic principles so that he could yield more influence. Almost two centuries of democratic ebbing on and off followed until Philip II of Macedonia had taken over entirely. As a consequence, Athens’ influence had waned and then disappeared entirely.
The second one had dawned in Scandinavia, during the Viking era.
That democratic seed had, in time, spread in Europe, America and, gradually, in many other countries.

In the US, for example, at first only the white men were involved in the democratic process. They were the ones who voted and who were elected into office. Gradually, the democratic ‘rights’ had been extended to the female portion of the society and to the ‘members of the other races’. These successive ‘extensions’ had been parts of the general improvement of the society as a whole. During this period – not necessarily due to but certainly simultaneously with, the entire population lived better and longer lives while the country as a whole had become more and more powerful. The energy and potential of the population – of an ever increasing proportion of the population, had been put to better and better uses.

Simultaneously, individuals – an ever increasing proportion of the individual members of the society, with the criteria of sex, gender and race gradually loosing the previously held power of discrimination, had enjoyed more and more power. More and more autonomy to determine their own fate.

Which brings us to the current developments in the US.

Some people, far from a majority of “The People”, would like to see the ‘other end’ of Roe v Wade.
‘These’ people seem to have somehow convinced a majority of the Justices sitting in the Supreme Court not only to hear their plea but also to ‘consider it in a favorable manner’.

In other words, a very small number of people – five out of nine, are going to restrict a previously granted right which had been enjoyed for almost 50 years by more than half of the American Population.

‘You have got it completely wrong!
Scotus isn’t going to prohibit abortion. Only the states can do that!’

Do you remember what the Civil War had been fought over?
Basically, the Confederates were claiming that individual states had the right to determine which people were to be considered ‘free’ while the ‘others’ kept maintaining that all people, regardless of their skin color, were free. That individual freedom was something which had to be determined at federal level, not by each ‘individual’ state.
Nowadays we have the very same thing. Some states claim it’s their ‘right’ to tell ‘their’ women whether, and in which circumstances, they may – or not, have an abortion.

Not a very ‘appealing’ proposition.
It opens the door for individual states claiming more and more ‘rights’ over their ‘specific subjects’.

The absolutely baffling thing about this whole development is the fact that those who want Roe v Wade to be repelled claim they do this in order to enhance individual rights (to live). I can understand that. I even sympathize with them. Ending a life, even that of an embryo, is not something to be treated easily.

But for a minority to impose their point of view – no matter how sound it might appear to some of us, to a majority… that cannot be, either, taken lightly.

“A person may choose to have an abortion until a fetus becomes viable, based on the right to privacy contained in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

This was how the United States’ Supreme Court was reading the US Constitution in 1973.

Pro-lifers oppose this view. Their main argument being that life is sacred and needs to be protected. Period. For them, abortion equals infanticide. Plain murder.

What we have here is a clash of absolutes.
The absolute right to life and the absolute right to dispose of your own body.

The United States Supreme Court has solved the conundrum by setting a time frame. “until the fetus becomes viable”.
Pro-lifers propose another solution: “make abortion and attempted abortion felony offenses except in cases where abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother“. (Alabama’s HB314/2019)

Let’s see where lie the differences between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.

Pro-Choice say that agency must be reserved for those who 1. are alive and 2. are directly implied in the matter.
Pro-Life extend the definition of ‘alive’ to cover everything they consider to be ‘living matter’ and thus take the final decision from those who are directly implied into the mater. And give it to those who have to decide the seriousness of the “health risk to the unborn child’s mother”.

In both cases the absolute becomes relative.
In the first case, the absolute becomes relative to the person directly involved in the matter.
In the second case, the absolute becomes relative to those powerful enough to insert themselves, and others, into the equation.

And both sides clamor they are acting in the name of individual liberty…

The two sides are fighting this tooth and nail.

But what are they really fighting for?

With the pro-choicers things are relatively clear. They want the mother to have the ultimate say about the fate of the pregnancy, at least during the first three months. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are condoning abortions. All reasonable human beings finds this is not a commendable method for birth control and most pro-choicers agree that it should be used only as a last resort escape out of an untenable situation.

With the pro-lifers things are a lot more nuanced. They insist that the life of the fetus is sacrosanct and must be preserved at all costs. Only those costs are going to be supported almost exclusively by the mother and/or by the child itself.

Let’s see some facts about the abortions that take place in the US

“• Half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these end in abortion.[1]

• About half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy, [2] and nearly 3 in 10 will have an abortion, by age 45.[3]

• The overall U.S. unintended pregnancy rate increased slightly between 1994 and 2008, but unintended pregnancy increased 55% among poor women, while decreasing 24% among higher-income women.[1,6]

• Overall, the abortion rate decreased 8% between 2000 and 2008, but abortion increased 18% among poor women, while decreasing 28% among higher-income women.[3]

• Some 1.06 million abortions were performed in 2011, down from 1.21 million abortions in 2008, a decline of 13%.[4]

• The number of U.S. abortion providers declined 4% between 2008 (1,793) and 2011 (1,720). The number of clinics providing abortion services declined 1%, from 851 to 839. Eighty-nine percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion clinic in 2011; 38% of women live in those counties.[4]

• Nine in 10 abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.[5]

• A broad cross section of U.S. women have abortions:[3]

First of all 1 million abortions is a huge number but it is decreasing. A 13% decrease in 4 years is no small thing, right? How about concentrating the efforts towards the prevention of unwanted pregnancies instead of trying to outrightly ban the abortions?

What would happen if abortions were to stop tomorrow? Besides some of the women traveling abroad and others attempting empiric, and very dangerous, measures to ‘obtain’ a miscarriage?

How many of the women in their 20’s will be able to go on with their lives, even assuming they will give up for adoption their ‘unwanted’ children? How many of those who already have children will be able to afford another one? Specially those that are unmarried/not cohabiting AND economically disadvantaged? What will be the fate of these children? And of their brethren?

I find it rather strange that those who insist on saving the lives of the unborn don’t realize that at the same time they insist on ruining the lives of people who are already living.
Hence my question.
What makes one life more precious than the other and how come the pro-lifers are so sure about their beliefs that they would empower the government most of them distrust with imposing a certain belief, theirs, on somebody else?
While all the costs will be supported by, you guessed it, that very ‘somebody else’, not at all by the proponents of the imposition.

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