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July 5, 2004
My Position On Abortion

In order to clarify my post above on John Kerry's eye-popping statment in the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald yesterday, I will explain my position on abortion so you know where I sit.

I believe that life begins within minutes of conception, and that belief is based on science, not faith, although they intersect. Eggs and sperm carry 23 chromosomes, half of the genetic blueprint for human life. Even if other primates have the same chromosome count, the DNA encoding on human eggs and sperm is uniquely human. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, the separate DNA strands combine into 23 pairs of chromosomes and a unique blueprint for a unique human being. Once the cell divides on its own -- usually within a half-hour -- that being is alive, unique, and separate from, though dependent on, its mother.

Some have argued this point for decades. Phil Donahue, years ago, once said on television that a human being in the womb passes through stages where it becomes a fish, then a dog, and so on; this argument arises amongst the ignorant often. Science teaches us that this is folk-tale nonsense. Vertebrates in the womb all pass through similar stages of development, but we are encoded at conception as human, and human we remain from the moment of conception until our death. Our DNA and genetic composition is a fact, not a belief, and cell division demonstrates life, as any biologist will tell you. Facts. Not beliefs.

What to do with this life then becomes a question more of values than of faith. Do we sacrifice innocent human life for the sake of convenience or economics? Throughout the history of Western civilization, we have answered that with a resounding NO. We enact laws, construct family structures, and develop moral and social structures in order to protect and to nurture it. When we have devalued innocent life, Holocausts have resulted, such as the Nazi atrocities (even apart from the Final Solution) of forced abortions and euthanasia of the so-called undesirable elements, such as the sickly, the less intelligent, the handicapped, and the simply different.

Those who support abortion either don't recognize life at this stage, in defiance of the science, or simply bypass the question in order to focus on a woman's "right to choose". However, that argument supports a freedom from the responsibilities of choice in the vast majority of abortions (over 40 million abortions since 1973). The choice was whether to engage in sexual activity without effect contraception or not; the pregnancy results from a poor choice. Like so many other areas in our society today, adults campaign for the right to be considered children and take no responsibility for their own actions. Libertarians usually argue for legalized abortion, which amuses me no end, because they also argue that people can be responsible for their own choices and that they stand for the rights of the individual -- forgetting that the one function of government they support is the protection of the weakest citizens, which unborn children certainly must be.

Even having said all that, if America's elected representatives came together and legalized abortion, I would accept that, even while arguing against it. After all, as Kerry himself said, no one person or organization should be allowed to impose its beliefs on the majority. However, the majority has never been heard on this issue, because nine men in robes imposed their beliefs on the United States without benefit of debate or vote. The Supreme Court relied on emanations from penumbras of a Constitutional amendment against illegal search and seizure in order to proclaim that the founders really meant that women had an absolute right to abort babies, removing this issue from the reach of the American people for a generation and stoking the domestic hostility that the legislative structure was designed to keep under control. Roe v Wade is an abomination in law and morality.

I do not oppose abortion because I am Catholic; I'm Catholic because it comes closest to my beliefs on life and morality, and their consistent stand on abortion underscores that beautifully.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 5, 2004 7:23 AM

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Tracked on July 5, 2004 10:41 AM

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