Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week:
We are already seeing some states move to change their abortion laws after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The Indiana legislature is on the cusp of making abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. In Kansas, the citizens voted to keep language in their state Constitution that keeps abortion legal before twenty weeks. In Wisconsin, abortion is already illegal except in cases where the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life and there does not appear to be any legislative appetite to change the law.
When the federal Supreme Court usurped the power of the states to regulate abortion, the public debate devolved into a robotic caricature of a discussion. Now that we, the People, will need to put in the heavy effort of deciding what our abortion laws should be through the rigorous legislative process, that debate should be joined in good faith with respect for our fellow citizens’ perspective. Herein I give explanation for why I oppose abortion in almost every circumstance and believe it to be the duty of government to protect people irrespective of their size or dependency.
Our nation’s Declaration of Independence set forth that we are all created equal and, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life.” Our United States Constitution went on to protect people from being deprived of life without the due process of law in the fifth and fourteenth amendments. Both documents are based on a fundamental understanding of Natural Rights.
Natural rights are universal and inalienable. They are not dependent on government, laws, customs, traditions, or societal norms. They are rights that are embedded in the very essence of humanity and are enjoyed by each individual irrespective of age, color, creed, nationality, gender, or station. The just duty of government is to protect those rights from being infringed upon by others and to regulate the outcome of when two rights collide.
The most precious Natural Right is the right to live. Life is the right from which all other Natural Rights flow. The only real question regarding abortion, then, is to determine when life begins, for once we have determined that a life has begun, it is incumbent on us to protect that life through the power of government.
Fortunately, here in the 22nd century, the mysteries of reproduction and gestation have been largely solved. Once an egg is fertilized, a unique DNA is created and cells begin to multiply until they form a human that we would recognize. Some would pinpoint the start of life at when the heartbeat starts, or when brain activity begins, or when the baby would be viable outside of the womb. Some would allow abortion even in the moments after birth under the argument that the baby is still woefully dependent on the mother. That is the same argument that could be made for infanticide well into the toddler years.
For me, the most ethical and logical point at which to mark the start of life is when that unique DNA is created. That is when there is a unique life. There is clearly nothing separate from the parents before that moment and there is someone unique after it. While one could argue that life begins at a more viable state, each of those benchmarks seem arbitrary. Our moral, ethical, and legal obligation to protect life should make us err, if we are to err, on the side of prudence. It is better to accidentally protect people’s pre-lives than it is to intentionally kill them.
With life beginning at fertilization, we must structure our laws to protect those lives. In the case of a mother not wanting a baby, we come into a conflict of the rights of two individuals. The baby has a right to life. The mother has a right to bodily autonomy. In such cases of conflict, we make laws to decide the best, least harmful, outcome. In no other area of law do we permit the killing of one individual to protect the bodily autonomy of another. Neither should we in this case. The consequences for the mother are significant, but the consequences for the baby are cataclysmic. In such cases, we must protect the life of the baby even though its very existence imposes obligations and consequences on the mother.
We must also remember that creating a new life is a joyous event — even when it is unplanned. A great many of us were not planned and we, and our mothers, went on to enjoy full, wonderful lives. If the mother does not want the baby after it is born, there are families ready to welcome a new baby and the mother can move on with her life. Any social stigmas of unplanned babies are largely extinct. Also, it must be added, that in an age of DNA, there is no excuse to not identify the father and ensure that he is equally accountable for the wellbeing of the child. Some of the best dads did not plan to be one. Both parents deserve to be treated with compassion.
The decision to have a child or not does not happen after conception. It happens before having sex. The decision to use birth control greatly diminishes the likelihood of creating another human, but there is still a chance. One must be willing to accept the consequences of that decision. Once another person is created, it is our moral, ethical, and legal obligation to protect that person.
I sincerely hope that Wisconsin leaves its current abortion law alone. It is correct. But if we are to debate changing the law, let us all engage with sincerity, respect, and reasoned positions. Wisconsin’s babies deserve as much.
Good to know that all the problems the woman will face post birth have been miraculously fixed with this article .
All the children are heathy , all the women are given the best and least expensive health care as long as the child lives with them and the Money to offset child care and all the dead beat dad’s pay up.
The women have 1 job . Have that baby under any and all circumstances .
When given a choice , how did Uber red Kansas respond ?
With all the sincerity and respect for that reasoned position they could muster .
Abortion Derangement Syndrome afflicts Maley. Pray for him.
My greatest problem with a constitutional defense of right to life and using it to defend a fertilized egg is that the constitution also allowed slavery in the beginning as well, even while giving their owners the slave’s votes. It took our bloodiest American war to fix that little problem and it needs fixing now to include/exclude the abortion debate as well. The original wording of the Constitution did not include anything concerning ‘in the womb life’ and any new interpretation is just a Frankensteinian attempt by either side to misuse it rather than actually solve anything through it. Currently it misses the crux of the debate and you said it yourself above. WHEN is the fertilized egg granted rights? It is simply not addressed in the constitution, hence it is irrelevant to the current debate and needs to be updated to account for it if/when anything is decided.
For instance, since the debate on when is a fertilized egg a life is largely aligned along religious beliefs and the Constitution is clear on separating religious beliefs from becoming secular laws, I feel I could make a constitutional argument that Government has no right to make a freshly fertilized egg a person. It should take an Amendment where 75% of the people agree, not just a law pushed by the religious right.
Further, in my opinion, a State by State determination is an extremely fractious decision that will just increase the void between right and left exponentially (and give politicians that much more power). I do not know how many States do or will have aborters held responsible if they had abortions done out of state where it is legal, but I see that becoming the large issue in the future.
Will a WI woman need to move to IL to have an abortion AND avoid prosecution? Or would WI see it as perfectly legal to leave the state pregnant and come back not pregnant? If the former, what good could possibly come from abortion legality by State? If the latter, what is the point of the law if all the woman has to do is drive a few extra hours and pay a bit more?
If an intruder is in a man’s house, he is allowed to use deadly force in order to remove the threat. But if an intruder is in a woman’s body, she is supposed to just patiently wait for that unwanted encroacher to leave on their own accord? Even tho there will be a bloody & body-damaging assault upon the woman’s body once that unwanted trespasser decides to egress, she is supposed to just put-up with the invader for almost a year umtil that happens? That doesn’t make any sense at all….least of all to those of us who are in favor of the Castle Doctrine.
That aside, using the presence of DNA to determine when life begins seems to imply that death doesn’t occur until there is no DNA detected. If that ain’t the case, then could someone in the “DNA=Living Being” camp please explain when they beleive death actually occurs? Thanks.
If an intruder is in a man’s house, he is allowed to use deadly force in order to remove the threat.
Your lack of understanding in Castle doctrine is scary and yet not at all unexpected. It matched your foolishness in many other discussions perfectly.
Jason, he’s trolling. Anyone who will not distinguish a baby from “an intruder” is short several cans from a case.
if an intruder is in a woman’s body
That’s a rabbinical argument totally inconsistent with the Noahic covenant. The term “intruder” sets up your conclusion, of course. If one chooses the term “guest” things change, don’t they? The rabbis will not argue about a “guest,” and have a very hard time squeezing abortion into the ‘intruder’ language.
After all, spreading the legs is an invitation, ain’a?