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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Abortion Difficulty

Abortion is murder, that is my position in a nutshell. I will not argue the position today but will direct your attention to the following article from the National Review on line. It is written by Jay Nordlinger. I would highly recommend National Review on line for some very thought provoking conservative political thought.

The Case of Baby Shanice,
By Jay Nordlinger

A few years ago, I gave a speech on abortion. It was a personal speech—even an autobiographical speech. It told of how I arrived at an anti-abortion position, when I was in my late teens or early 20s. There were waymarks on this journey (although journey is probably too grand or pompous a word). What I mean is, there were events, thoughts, articles: things that led me to my position.

I remember one summer when I was a camp counselor in Elgin, Ill. This was Camp Watagamie, aka Camp Want My Mommy. I read the Chicago Tribune, like a fiend. And there was this story of a man—a father—who had smothered his baby with a pillow 45 minutes after the baby was born. The baby had been born with some defect. And the man was charged with manslaughter.

A columnist—I can’t be sure of his name—pointed out that, if the baby had been “taken care of” a little earlier, that would have been an abortion, and perfectly fine. But this man was being charged with manslaughter—and did the 45 minutes make all that much difference?

I was reminded of this when I read about another case, here. A woman named Sycloria Williams went for an abortion outside Miami. She was almost six months pregnant, and she paid $1,200. At the appointed hour, she was in the chair, ready to go. But something went wrong: She delivered a baby girl. The doctor had not yet arrived; he was late.

I now quote the Associated Press: “What Williams and the Health Department say happened next has shocked people on both sides of the abortion debate: One of the clinic’s owners, who has no medical license, cut the infant’s umbilical cord. Williams says the woman placed the baby in a plastic biohazard bag and threw it out. Police recovered the decomposing remains in a cardboard box a week later after getting anonymous tips.”

Williams is now suing the doctor (for arriving late, I suppose). Her lawyer said, “I don’t care what your politics are, what your morals are, this should not be happening in our community.” I wonder what the lawyer’s problem is. I wonder what Williams’s is, too. She went for an abortion; she wanted the baby gone—and the baby got gone, one way or the other.

Did you notice a particular line from the AP report? The case “has shocked people on both sides of the abortion debate.” But why? Does five minutes make all that much difference—or 45, or an hour, or whatever? Is the moral gap that great? One minute, the baby is a “fetus,” and perfectly abortable; the next minute, he is a “baby,” and off-limits.

The gruesome cases make you think a little harder. But, of course, they’re all gruesome—some are just less seen than others. Sycloria Williams was shaken up on seeing her baby. The baby’s death was very messy—visible to those who were around. But the baby’s death was going to be pretty bad, anyway—just behind the curtain, so to speak. All nice ’n’ clinical.

The lawyer said, “She came face to face with a human being. And that changed everything.” Yeah, but why? The baby existed—same size, as a matter of fact—before it emerged from the womb. Williams had gone to the clinic to be rid of it. Afterward, she even named the baby (Shanice). Oh, cripe. You go in to get rid of your baby, then you catch sight of it and get all gooey? And the rest of us are supposed to go “Awww”? And penalize the doctor who did not quite get there in time?

Why not penalize you for scheduling the procedure in the first place? You’re the one who asked him; this is not Communist China, you know.

Perhaps abortion is too big and important a subject to bring up in this “breezy lil’ web column,” as I’ve called it for the eight years of its life. Abortion is too big for an “impromptu.” But the Miami case reminded me of that Chicago case, all those years ago—and the formation of my own abortion position. I grew up in a culture where abortion was regarded, not only as a right, but as a good. It represented female liberation—“choice” and all that. “A woman has a right over her own body.” (True. But, in a pregnancy, is another body involved?) “Hands off my uterus!” “A baby in its mother’s womb has no more standing than a hamburger in her stomach.” Etc., etc.

That was part of the music in Ann Arbor, Mich., when I was coming of age. I found I could not go along with it.
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