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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Friday, February 03, 2006

The pro-life moment?

It may soon be that the U.S. Supreme Court will actually put abortion regulation back in the hands of the states. For some, this can only mean abortion becoming illegal and women facing jail time for merely practicing their " rights". Their rhetoric has ratcheted up each time another less than liberal justice is appointed, but what will really be the outcome? Also, how far should we, who are pro-life, take the opportunities that could be available within the next decade?

Let's first deal with the warnings of those who feel their uterus gives them complete sovereignty over another innocent life. Roe vs. Wade being overthrown will not result in abortion being completely illegal in all fifty states. Considering the red/state blue state divide or more accurately the red to purple to blue county distribution of voters on various sides of this issue, it should be obvious that some states will severely regulate the practice but others will be extremely liberal with shades in between elsewhere. Some states may even become more "pro-choice" in law, to act as a counter balance to states that regulate or ban the procedure.

For those on the side of life for the preborn, the opportunities must be acted on cautiously and with much consideration. Grasping further than wisdom would counsel, could merely result in the pendulum swinging back in the other direction at the next election. By this, I mean that we should not forget how many people have grown up under the Orwellian spin that killing the preborn is a right. We still have a media that will paint just about any abortion regulation as being extreme or find other ways to report the matter that skew perceptions against the pro-life side. Under such conditions, old habits and reflexive beliefs will be hard to dislodge and may become even more rigid if some act too impulsively and without careful deliberation.

While it is true that some states can severely restrict and perhaps even ban abortion with strong support from their residents, they should also consider several parallel actions when that time arrives. In my view, it would not only be wise, but also compassionate to also increase funding for prenatal care for the disadvantaged and provide funding to crisis pregnancy services. I wouldn't mind my taxes being raised for that and I suspect many others would feel the same. There may be other, creative methods for financing the services, with charitable giving being an important aspect. The cultural change to respecting life and being responsible for one's actions when an innocent life is in the balance, need not be only about banning but also about loving not only the preborn child but also the mother who has been deceived for so long, to believe that the death of her child is the only option.

For states that can't go for an all out ban, other tactics can still help move the pro-life issue forward. Any regulations proposed for pro-life crisis pregnancy centers should also be required for Planned Parenthood. Well founded accusations of Planned Parenthood violating the law and not reporting statutory rape, should be thoroughly investigated and when appropriate, charges filed. Parental notification, even consent may be pursued legislatively and partial birth abortion could easily be banned in most states. Funding might be denied to abortion providers and abortion itself could be regulated on a number of levels without completely banning the procedure, yet still result in moving the culture towards a respect for innocent life in the womb.

Of course, once laws are proposed, sanctions for breaking them will need to be determined. The punishments can range from community service to fines to jail time or a combination thereof. Women who seek an abortion for the first time should not have the harshest punishments but it would be reasonable to increase the sanction for repeated offenses, especially if the context includes the availability of prenatal care and crisis pregnancy services. The strongest measures should be applied to those who would provide whatever level of abortions are banned, with the longest jail times most definitely applied to those who would endanger a woman's life with unsanitary conditions or lack of a medical license etc. As we work through what would be appropriate laws and punishments we must not fall into the temptation of hating a woman who is still driven to seek the abortion of her child but instead, love them both.

Historic change may occur on this issue within my lifetime. But, I hope and pray that it is not change that is rushed to so quickly that it only sows the seed for its own destruction. I would rather move slowly and deliberately, where needed, and always with compassion. It would be better that I leave this life knowing that more and more people are moving in the right direction for permanent change and that it is no longer considered extreme to value the innocent child. Better to know that dismissing a life simply because it temporarily resides in the womb is seen as indefensible and the momentum is relentlessly moving forward rather than, the pendulum violently swinging back to where we are now.

If our actions do not result in changed hearts and minds, we will have nothing but a momentary victory that will be followed by an extended defeat, with the lives of the innocent savaged and destroyed all the more. Humility, wisdom and love must be foremost in our minds should history grant us the opportunity we have so long awaited and because so great an issue is within our reach, foolishness and pride must be resisted. No matter how loudly some may agitate, their shortsighted protestations only blind them to the greater future that would be possible if only they would stop, think and yes, even pray.


Previous posts:

Theocracy - Abortion
Another potential stem cell source
What Kool-Aid do GOP Senators drink?
Embryonic stem cells - Narcissism unleashed
I see - pro-life people :-) part I
I see - pro-life people :-) part II
Stem cell research
Abortion - no consequences?
Stem cell research
Another interesting contrast
Knee Jerk Arguments
Interesting contrast
Fundamental Issues

Please take the time to check out these other blogs:

Jo's Cafe has a TGIF open post
Don Suber has Best Posts For Friday
third world county has Missing the point /OP has an Open Trackback post
Basil's blog has Picnic 02-03-2006

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