Copyright © 2006 Henrietta W. Hay
A New Abortion Proposition
January 13, 2006
Here we go again. An abortion Proposition will probably be on the Colorado ballot again in November.
The latest effort to chip away at Roe v. Wade is an initiative which is being circulated. If it gathers 68,000 signatures, it will appear on the ballot in November and keep the culture war hot.
The Proposition would make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion on a fetus that could live outside the womb with or without help. It would not apply if the mother was at risk of death or serious injury.
But all fetuses do not become viable at a fixed, unchanging time in every woman. According to Jeffrey Kahn, Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, In 1973 fetuses were viable at roughly 28 to 32 weeks. Due to technological advances it is now about 24 weeks. In words even I can understand, it is impossible to know exactly when a fetus becomes viable.
Although most abortions take place early in pregnancy, this Proposition creates so many unknowns that it would put doctors in adanger of prison, and it could be tragic for women with serious problems late in pregnancy.
But this Proposition is not really about abortion.
Abortion has been practiced since the beginning of recorded history, although I do wonder just how the women managed it. And the men have been arguing about for as long.
Now in 2006 it is still major political issue, the most inflammatory one on the political scene,and one with little respect for the rights of women. The number one question that candidates for any political position today is, "What is your stand on abortion?" That includes appointees to the Supreme Court.
Over thirty years ago John McCormack, long time Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, was discussing "the abortion thing. He said, "It's going to become a nasty issue before it's over. It's going to change the political landscape. It is something that government should stay out of." He was a very wise, highly respected and experienced politician, and his words were oh so true.
To many people it is a deeply moral issue. They believe that life begins at conception and they have every right to their belief. But for those of us who don't "know" exactly when life begins, we have rights too. The question of a woman s right to control her own body should be a personal, private one, not a political one determined by the state. In Speaker McCormack's words, "The government should stay out of it."
Dan Thomasson, writing for Scripps Howard wrote, "Possibly no other issue in the history of American politics is more fraught with emotional rancor and often peril than this one. The divisiveness that results from it has changed the political landscape and has fueled, among other things, battles over long-established doctrine over the separation of Church and State."
Abortion as a political rather than personal issue is directly related to the ongoing battle over the separation of Church and State.
Interestingly enough, the Conservative groups who have always advocated less government, now want to add religion to government -- their religion. It would endanger the freedom of all of us.
Americans want to be free -- free to live and think and worship and work and play. It is wrong to try to make personal religion into law.