Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What is the Connection Between Abortion and Newtown?

This letter-to-the-editor, which was highlighted in the print addition, appeared in the 1/18/13 NJ Star-Ledger:

Sanctity of life   In the wake of the horrific school shootings in Connecticut, there has been much talk about school security and gun control. But one discussion no one seems to be having is about the 3,000 children slaughtered every day in the abortion mills of our nation.   What does legalized abortion have to do with the carnage in Newtown? Everything.   Proponents of abortion cite the mantra that it should be “legal, safe and rare.” But this presents a contradiction in logic because that which is “legal” will generally come to be regarded as “good,” because the purpose of the law is to ensure and protect the common welfare.   And what reason is there to believe something generally regarded as good will somehow become rare? Will those in favor of stricter gun regulation be content to merely embrace the philosophy that guns should be “legal, safe and rare”? The simple reality is that there can never be respect for life outside of the womb when there is no respect for life within the womb.   If lawmakers are serious about combatting the violence that plagues our nation, they should focus not on gun control but on the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. 
Michael Thomas Cibenko, Branchville

I left these rebuttal comments:

RE:“Sanctity of Life” Without Respect for Individual Rights is a Sham

The purpose of law—i.e., the government—is not to “protect the common welfare.” It is to protect individual rights, which belong only to actual human beings. And rights, properly understood, begin at birth. The most fundamental right is the right to life, which logically and morally includes the right to one’s own body.

A case can be made to legally restrict late-term abortion, when a viable infant is, for all intents and purposes, delivered; and then executed. But most abortions involve early-stage pregnancies when the embryo consists of a potential human being, not an actual human being capable of living outside the womb.

Never mind the religious dogma that claims that “life begins at conception.” Life, in fact, precedes conception, in the form of the egg and sperm—both of which represent a potential life.

A potential life has no rights. Rights are guarantees to freedom of action in a social context, such as the right to free speech, voluntary association, religious practice, etc. Rights are moral principles derived from perceptual observations of the requirements of human life and survival. Rights, in fact, are attributes common to all individuals. They are inalienable, meaning they must be protected equally and at all times for all people; i.e., a woman’s rights cannot be sacrificed to the fetus. Those who don’t recognize individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of the “common welfare.”

Likewise, those who violate individual rights, including the right to reproductive freedom, cannot claim to be defenders of the “sanctity of life.” Contrary to Michael Thomas Cibenko’s assertion, “respect for life within the womb” in the form of placing the “rights” of a fetus above the rights of the woman destroys “respect for life outside of the womb.” If a woman has no right to her own body, then on what basis does anyone—including those tragic children in Newtown—have it?

The destruction of human life begins with the destruction of individual rights. Rights are already being attacked on multiple fronts by the regulatory welfare state. We don’t need a new line of attack opened by way of reversing Roe vs. Wade. 

Related Reading:

Abortion and Individual Rights, Parts 1, 2, and 3


Steve D said...

The issue is not when life begins but when human life begins. The embryo is a living animal just not a human being, yet. It doesn’t gain rights until it becomes human. My best guess is that this occurs fairly late in pregnancy, at the point where the fetus would be viable on its own. (Not when it is born but when it could be born and survive on its own)

Legally, I would probably make my best scientific guess, drop back the date a couple weeks to give the fetus some benefit of the doubt and then restrict only abortions which occur after than date. Even then this restriction would not be total because even at this point the fetus still has no right to inhabit the woman and health reasons could override this restriction.

That would leave at least two thirds of her pregnancy (probably more) for a woman to decide to have an abortion. Does this make sense?

Mike LaFerrara said...

Yes, it does, Steve. I think the woman has a right to terminate the pregnancy at any time during her term. In the early stages, this obviously involves the death of the fetus which, as you point out, has no rights. Later, when a viable baby is delivered in the course of ending the pregnancy, that child acquires rights upon delivery, I believe. The only exception is in the case of a severely deformed infant, in which case judicial oversight should come into play.

Human procreation—the conjunction of an actual human being and a newly developed human being still inside the womb—is the toughest nut for individual rights advocates. My position is: The practice of partial birth abortion—the delivery and execution of a normal human infant—is barbaric. In the later stages of a normal pregnancy involving viability—a point to be determined by science—save the baby. The primary, clear-cut issue of abortion is relevant only in the early months of the pregnancy. Baring extenuating circumstances like the health of mother or child, this is the only time that unfettered abortion rights are to be recognized.

I dealth with this issue at length. See part 3 in related reading.