Thursday, November 22, 2012

Abortion Is a Right - But Is It Right?

In the United States of America there is a certain kind of tree frog that is protected by a federal law. If you kill one of these critters or decimate their habitat it could cost you a hefty fine and time in a federal penitentiary. This also applies to the destruction of unhatched eagle's eggs. Destruction of these eggs will land you up to a $250,000 fine and a minimum of two years in jail. In other words, kill or maim these creatures or their unborn offspring and you have broken the law of the land.

I do not have a problem with protecting other species that live on this planet. And, except for some very extreme cases under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Act, most of this oversight is a good thing because it keeps the planet a viable place for all life since every living thing is so intricately connected by that thread of life. Which begs the question. If killing the unborn, or yet to be born, offspring of non-human species is a federal crime what kind of society are we that allows the wanton destruction of the unborn, or soon to be born, human life residing within the womb of a human female?

Sure it's easy to hide behind the old cliche that a woman has the right to choose what she does with her own body, but does she have that same right over the life of an unborn human body that for the short span of none months is living in and off of her body? Does that unborn human life have any rights or do those rights only belong to the woman housing the unborn life? It is these questions that have plagued Americans well before the Supreme Court first held up the legality of Roe vs Wade.

Without sounding like I want to force everyone to live by my standard on this particular issue I will state that I do have an opinion to share about it and while I agree it is a woman's right to do with her body as she chooses (just as it is a man's right to do what he chooses with his), it is also a society's right to mandate that a person's individual right need not be the societal norm.

In a democratic republic the rights of the individual are upheld and even put on a pedestal as the highest form of expression for liberty, but, all organized societies also recognize the need for some kind of order, thus the need for limited government and laws. If a society mandates by majority decision that abortion is legal, as it has done in the United States, then it is legal and vice versa.

However, we all know that what's legal isn't always what is just and right. Is it right and just for a society to be so misguided as to go out of its way to protect a tree frog, or yes, even eagle's eggs, making it a federal offense to destroy these living creatures (some before birth such as the eagle eggs) yet make it legal for a woman to destory the life she has been entrusted to carry within her. Perhaps she should just destroy her eggs in the ova that way there would never be any need to destroy an actual forming life in her womb. Or, perhaps she could harvest those eggs for later implantation through in-vitro fertilization for future use in case she should ever decide to allow the unborn life to reach full term.

I wonder what rights an unborn forming and living human life has in America? Obviously not as much as forming living eagles still nestled in their eggs.


Disperser said...

Well, there are a lot less eagles.

But seriously, do you think it's a fair comparison? You can preserve eagle eggs, incubate them, bring them to term, so to speak, all independent of the originating organism.

And the comparison fails in other regards. In the wild, mates sometimes kills the offspring because of various reasons.

Also, if wild animals reject their young, there is no amount of "law" that will force them to take care of them (hint, hint). Yes, sometime they may join other family groups, but often you can refer to the above paragraph regarding their fate.

But most important . . . they are not exactly sentient. Actually, to the best of all definitions we have, they are not sentient at all.

The motivations for protecting endangered animals are not the same as the motivation for protecting unborn humans.

The arguments get a lot murkier. To that end, my first rule of discussion is this:

AFTER we can all agree on properly educating individuals coming to a fertile age, AFTER we provide them with both the knowledge and MEANS of avoiding pregnancy, and AFTER we do all in our power to make accidental pregnancies a reality, THEN we can sanely discuss abortion.

As it is, I'm pretty sure we are in no danger of running out of humans. Most of which, I might add, have no problem efficiently killing each other after the fact.

Samuel Sloan said...

First, the piece was dealing more with legal rights vs. moralistic right. Secondly, until the moniker of god can be accurately placed within the domain of humanity then the determination of who or what is sentient is still in question. To the preservation question, the same is true of the human egg, once it has been fertilized within or outside the womb. It too can be incubated and brought to term "independent of the originating organism" within the laboratory setting.

Again, regardless of the motivation, the protecting of non-human life vs human life was being discussed from a legal POV over that of a moralistic one. We already acknowledged that in the U.S. it is legal to bring an end to an unborn human life right up to its moment of delivery, but, is it morally right and just to make laws for protection of non-human species more of a priority than making laws that protect unborn human life? As of now, the majority of U.S. citizens and the Supreme Court appear to believe that regulation over destruction of the non-human unborn is of more importance than that of unborn human life. I believe that there will be, if not already occurring in our culture, a reaping of societal breakdown that will result from those seeds we have sown. Anytime values are denigrated to the point of a society unwilling to protect its most vulnerable (which unborn human life is exactly that) then the result is a society less sensitive to that which makes humanity more humane.

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