Abortion hit the news in a big way when the South Dakota legislature drafted a bill that would outlaw nearly all abortions in the Mount Rushmore State, and Gov. Mike Rounds signed it into law on March 6, 2006. The only exception to this abortion ban is to preserve the life of the mother. Allowing abortions for the health of the mother would allow abortions for mental as well as physical health reasons. South Dakota lawmakers also did not add provisions for cases of rape or incest. This state law now becomes the strictest anti-abortion law in the U.S. I am in favor of allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother, if the mother so chooses; these three conditions are commonly supported by proponents of anti-abortion laws.
But the liberal feminists neither want nor ask for my opinion on abortion because I am male. It’s all about a woman’s choice, and men have nothing to do with it. As I figure it, a man contributes 50% to every conception, but that’s my narrow-minded conservative philosophy talking, don’t ya know?
Some of the news surrounding this SoDak law is interesting. Here’s a sentence from a Washington Post article: “The bill was designed to challenge the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe, which in 1973 recognized a right of women to terminate pregnancies.” This is inaccurate; technically, the Supreme Court ruled that there was a right to privacy between a woman and her doctor. Abortions were widely legal before the 1973 decision, but each state had the right to decide whether or not it would allow them to be performed. And if you are familiar with your 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, that which is not specifically granted to the federal government or forbidden to the states and people is a right held by the states and people. If Roe v. Wade were tossed out by the current Supreme Court tomorrow, it would not make abortion illegal. It would only place the responsibility of determining whether abortions will be performed in a particular state back with that state, and the representatives elected by the people of the state.
This is alluded to in another section of the Washington Post article:
National abortion rights organizations said the South Dakota vote has set the stage for a new fight to keep abortion legal at the federal level and in the states. “When you see them have a ban that does not include exceptions for rape or incest or the health of the mother, you understand that elections do matter,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “We will be very active in ’06 and in ’08 in electing candidates that represent the views of most Americans.”
Keenan is talking about making sure that pro-abortion candidates are elected, but she doesn’t like it when representatives make decisions against abortion as they did in South Dakota. The irony of her statement is that elected representatives mean nothing to the abortion debate as long as the majority of nine justices in black keep Roe v. Wade upheld. Unless that decision is overturned, abortion will remain legal throughout the U.S. Feminists love Roe, viewing it as holy writ from the justices’ bench, but the Supreme Court justices are merely human and have made some incredibly bone-headed decisions before. I can name three examples off the top of my head: Dred Scott v. Sandford, which supported slavery; Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the practice of segregation under the phrase “separate but equal;” and the recent Kelo v. New London ruling that pisses on your right to own property.
The Supreme Court is not akin to Moses descending from Sinai with commandments from God. Nine appointed people give their collective opinion, and sometimes that opinion can be wrong, as proven by how later Supreme Courts have overruled past decisions.
Mark Levin wrote about this right to privacy found by the Supreme Court:
So the right to privacy means everything and nothing. It has no constitutional basis and no tangible form. But what is clear is that the Supreme Court, by usurping the legislature’s authority to set social policy, has seized from the people the power to make such determinations. A mere five justices are now able to substitute their personal judgments for those of Congress and every state government in the name of privacy rights. This quiet revolution against representative government has gone largely unnoticed. The exception is the occasional Court decision on “hot button” issues in which the attention is mostly on the Court’s ruling, not on its abuse of power.
I would prefer that issues like abortion be handled by the individual states. It follows the model specified in the Constitution, after all. With the states in charge, the people can choose what, if any, restrictions they want to place on abortion. This way it would truly be up to the will of the people, and not a group of Supreme Court Justices seeing a penumbra of an emanation of a right in the Constitution, as Justice William O. Douglas wrote in 1965 when the Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives.
Current supporters of abortion point to sob stories about women who must sacrifice to have an abortion. The Register Guard outlines one such example:
When 20-year-old Courtney found out three weeks ago that she was pregnant, it hit the single mother – already struggling with a 1-year-old – like a brick. She cried, she talked to friends and came to a heart-wrenching decision: She wanted an abortion.
Then the real work began.
She had to take off two days from her mechanic’s job in a small South Dakota town, find a ride and travel six hours one way to the state’s only abortion clinic.
“This is supposed to be a country of freedom. I don’t think you should have to feel humiliated about a choice that is best for your own life,” she said.
Notice that even Courtney admits this decision is what is best for her own life. It certainly wasn’t the best decision for the life of her aborted baby, but Courtney’s self-centered decision is not at all uncommon. A 2004 study found that over 90% of the reasons given for abortion were essentially matters of convenience — not being able to afford the baby, or not being ready for it, for example. Rape or incest abortions accounted for less than half of 1% of the responses. If it weren’t for the 6% catch-all category of “other,” I could say over 99% of abortions performed in the U.S. were for convenience’s sake. But what can we expect from our self-centered culture?
Let me close with a bit of advice offered up by my wife: if you don’t want to get pregnant, abstain.