I like to think that I’ve established my position pretty clearly on the abortion issue — I’m “squishily” pro-choice, on a purely pragmatic basis — but I gotta say that the positions evinced by the two Democratic nominees turn my stomach.
While in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama was faced with a bill that would have required that infants born after unsuccessful abortions be given medical treatment, instead of simply abandoned to slowly die alone and unattended. He not only voted against it, but worked hard to defeat it.Obama has offered several remarkable different explanations for why he acted thus.
And now Joe Biden, self-proclaimed devout Catholic, who has proclaimed that life begins at conception, in accordance with Catholic doctrine. But Biden also supports the right to abortion. I’ve been trying to reconcile the two, and I really can’t. I can’t find a way short of Biden saying that it is perfectly acceptable for a pregnant woman to murder the life within her.
There are perfectly valid arguments on both sides of the issue — if it was black and white, there wouldn’t be any debate on the matter. But neither of these men are making what I would consider valid arguments.
In Obama’s case, it seems that the law would not infringe on a woman’s right to choose. The baby’s out, so she has successfully ended her pregnancy. There are legal methods the mother can then use to sever any legal obligations to the infant, so she is not forever bound to it. There is absolutely no compelling need for the baby to die.
In Biden’s case, the argument over abortion has often hinged on when the fetus is, legally, “alive” and human and therefore entitled to basic human rights. Biden seems to be conceding the fundamental argument of the pro-life side — that life begins at conception — but doesn’t see any reason to have that influence on his stance on abortion. His stance suddenly reminds me of Wile E. Coyote — he’ s run off the cliff, philosophically, and is currently standing on empty air, having blown away the very foundations of his position.
The pro-choice argument has always thrived on ambiguity. When, precisely, does life begin? When does a fetus become a human being? At what point does the fetus’ right to life supercede the mother’s right to not be pregnant?
Hell, even the very name they’ve chosen shows the vagueness so essential to their movement. They very much want to focus on the word “choice,” and get extremely irate at any attempt to clearly define just what those choices entail. They don’t even seem to like to be described as “pro abortion right.”
As I said, I consider myself “squishily” pro-choice. But I freely admit that my position is based purely on pragmatic reasons — I don’t see any way to practically apply a legal ban and make it stick. I don’t even pretend to offer any kind of idealistic, ethical, principled defense for that.
Because, as Obama and Biden are showing us, such attempts almost always blows up in the arguer’s face.