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Before I launch into this article I’d ask you to read it to the very end. You will find something there you will not expect. Now on to the topic at hand…

With nationwide same-sex marriage still stinging those who oppose it, followed shortly thereafter by the undercover video of a Planned Parenthood executive speaking indelicately about the sale of fetal tissue, there has been a marked increase in the national discussion about abortion. Accordingly, let’s take a look at the issue.

Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 and prohibited the states from banning, or significantly impeding, a woman from obtaining an abortion. By the U.S. Supreme Court voiding state laws banning abortion it became something that is lawful in America.

Of course shortly thereafter states enacted laws requiring a certain percentage of women to undergo abortions. No? States didn’t enact such legislation? Hmmm. Well, then I guess despite Roe v. Wade no woman need ever obtain an abortion – unless she chooses to do so. It also would seem millions upon millions have so chosen, and continue to so choose. That should tell abortion foes where the battle is. Yet it seems the lesson is lost on them.

One of the things I find detrimental to a rational and realistic discussion of abortion is when people refer to it as “murder”. Such a characterization is a sign of a sloppy and lazy intellect. Murder is a legal term. One cannot be prosecuted for murder unless “every elements of the crime” is fulfilled. Without here attempting to reconcile the minute distinctions from state to state in the legal definition of “murder”, a solid working definition is “the unlawful taking of the life of another with malice.”

In the decades since 1973 I have never once heard anyone – even the staunchest foe of abortion – claim that a mother chooses abortion out of malice toward the fetus. And, as noted above, since 1973 abortion is a lawful act. So, the two primary characteristics of murder – unlawfulness and the presence of malice – are not involved in abortion.

The reason people stupidly call it murder is they believe doing so stakes out the moral high ground for themselves and places their opponent in the awkward position of having to defend murder. Since calling it “murder” is a transparent and immature tool for manipulation, as well as a sign of stupidity, it does neither of the things the person calling it “murder” believes doing so should accomplish. But it does accomplish one thing. It let’s the opponent know he is debating a person of low intellect who employs childish manipulations.

NOTE: Even if you’re now irritated, please read the article to the end. That’s where you’ll find the unexpected.

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Casting aside the misapplied appellation of “murder”, is abortion “the taking of a life”?

Many people mistakenly believe that is the pivotal question at the core of the abortion issue. It isn’t.

Abortion foes assert that “life begins at conception.” That’s a pithy line that strikes a chord in most people. It’s also short enough to play well on protest signs and Facebook memes. But is it true?

The relevant fundamental question that controls the abortion issue is; when do we – as a society – give life protection?

Perhaps we should ask Terrie Schiavo. Her case had similar themes to the questions relevant to abortion. The primary question being; when do we say it’s OK to terminate a life?

Terrie’s parents felt that despite her being diagnosed as in a “persistent vegetative state” she was still self-aware, and conscious of her existence, and it would be wrong to end that “consciousness”. In fact, they held out hope for some level of recovery.

Her husband believed she was brain-dead and had no self-awareness or consciousness of her existence. He felt Terrie would want the feeding tubes removed.

In the end, the law permitted her feeding tube to be removed and she died. (Schiavo’s autopsy showed much of her brain had liquefied and the entire brain was inoperative. The autopsy conclusions demonstrated a number of “highly respected medical professionals” had no idea what they were talking about when they pronounced that Terrie was “aware”.)

Many of the same people who opposed the removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube are the same people who oppose lawful abortion.

NOTE: Even if you’re now irritated, please read the article to the end. That’s where you’ll find the unexpected.

American society has no particular love of “life”. That may be a hard statement to swallow, but it’s true. Compare, as an example, the number of people killed by police in the U.S. versus just about any other western country. Some of our fellow nations are in the single digits each year. America is in quadruple digits. How about the death penalty? Lots of people who are “pro-life” are also ardent supporters of the death penalty. Clearly then they are not opposed to “taking a life”. They don’t want a life taken when their opinion is that it shouldn’t be, yet they’re all for it when they like the idea. It doesn’t seem to me that such people are particularly fond of, or protective of, “life”.

What about U.S. military action? Researchers say the total civilian death toll (direct and indirect) from the U.S. invasion of Iraq is 1.2 million. Many of the people who are abortion foes were/are quite supportive of America invading a country that had never done a single thing to America or Americans. They have no issue at all with 1.2 million dead civilians. How do I know they’re OK with it? Because I never hear a word from them condemning it. I guess their take on it is that if U.S. bombing killed a 1-day old Iraqi infant, that’s cool. (We know it’s cool with them because they never say a word about the Iraqi infant.) But when a doctor removes several thousands cells from a woman’s womb, THAT’S a problem. Interesting perspective.

Our society doesn’t protect all life. In fact, society is all too happy to take a life when it approves of doing so. That approval is almost always subjective. In other words, whether taking a life is acceptable is a matter of…opinion.

As the Schiavo case illustrates, whether a person has “awareness of self” – a consciousness – is a critical factor in society deciding whether ending life is acceptable in regard to those who cannot speak for themselves. That would aptly describe a fetus.

There are approximately 37 trillion cells in a fully developed adult. At the moment of conception there are two. Then growth begins. The numbers of cells increase.

Do two cells have an “awareness of self” – a consciousness? People can give whatever emotionally driven fanciful answer they like, but the factual answer is ‘no’. How about 100 cells? Again, the factual answer is ‘no’. 1,000 cells? The factual answer is ‘no’.

But eventually – somewhere along the line – that ‘no’ changes to a ‘yes’.

Since our society does not protect all life, but only a life that is self-aware and possessed of a consciousness, the moment when a fetus changes from non-self-aware to self-aware is pretty damn significant!

When exactly is that? A person who claims to know the answer is either a fool or a liar. I am neither. I am all too aware that I do not know when that moment occurs.

But even if we had the supposed wisdom of a god, and were able to pinpoint that moment, how much would change? Truthfully, not that much. Here’s why.

The law does not provide a fetus legal standing as a person. That is an important factor in the legal landscape of abortion that many abortion foes don’t understand. That was one of the key holdings of Roe; the 14th Amendment was not intended to, and does not, provide protection to a fetus. Or phrased another way, in law a fetus – whether 1 day old or 265 days old – has no “personhood”.

Let me take this a step further for you. If a fetus has no “personhood”, then the fetus is not cognizable by the courts. Period.

At its foundation “the law” comprehends “persons”. It then comprehends tangible rights of those persons, such as property rights – and less tangible rights of persons, such as freedom of expression or the right of privacy. While those who oppose lawful abortion feel strongly that a fetus IS a person and DOES have rights, that is merely a sentimental view. In the real world where these matters are to be sorted out – in the courtroom – no fetus has any of that. Is that proper? I leave that determination up to you. I’m merely explaining the reality most people don’t know or understand.

As an aside, don’t be misled by statutes that permit a murderer to be tried on two counts when he kills a mother and her fetus. One might reasonable perceive such statutes imply “personhood” of a fetus. And they do. However, politicians can pass whatever laws they want. Whether they are constitutional is another matter. It’s readily apparent such statutes are in conflict with Roe. But the reality is none of those statutes have been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court – yet. I’m confident that when that eventually occurs they will be struck down for the reasons just discussed.

Can the lack of fetal personhood be changed? In light of the holding in Roe that is virtually impossible without a constitutional amendment. Considering the nation is split about 50/50 on the subject, the odds of obtaining a constitutional amendment are roughly zero. The other possibility would be the U.S. Supreme Court reversing itself on Roe. And there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of that.

The moralizing crowd loves to say things like, “Look woman; when you spread your legs and let that guy cum inside you, THAT was your ‘choice’. You don’t get to terminate your pregnancy because you now don’t feel like living with the consequences of your actions!” My, my, my…what a lovely little speech. And worthless. And inaccurate. And wholly ineffective at resolving the problem.

That speech reminds me of the insistence by some Christians that schools only teach kids about abstinence; no information about birth control is to be provided. The idea is that teaching about birth control might be seen by students as a permission slip to have sex – a notion to which the parents strongly object – but abstinence conveys the parent’s insistence that kids “wait” until…whatever. Yet the story always ends the same. Locales in which abstinence alone is taught have a dramatically higher teen pregnancy rate than in locales where birth control is presented in the classroom. Talk about stupidity!

NOTE: Even if you’re now irritated, please read the article to the end. That’s where you’ll find the unexpected.

From the teen years on up, people are going to have sex. Period. End of story. Whether one likes that reality or not doesn’t change reality one little bit. And people may have sex under circumstances of which the moralizing crowd disapproves. Who cares. The moralizing crowd doesn’t control everyone else’s choices in life. Women will have sex and wind up pregnant when they don’t want to be. And the moralizing crowd wags their fingers and says how terrible that is. So what. The moralizing crowd doesn’t control everyone else’s choices. Including poor choices. (Of course based on their frequent sex-related scandals they don’t even seem to do a good job of controlling themselves.)

And guess what? Contrary to the claim of the “moralists” that the pregnant woman doesn’t have the right to end her pregnancy, in the real world – as opposed to the mind of the “moralist” – she does have that right. It’s been that way since 1973 and the odds are damn near zero that will ever change. Got to love people who just tune out reality before they speak.

Where does that leave the situation?

For those who wish to battle the “evil” of abortion, there is only one option to affect change. Reach out to young women and explain to them why abortion is not a choice they should make. Remember earlier when we all agreed that Roe v Wade doesn’t force anyone to have an abortion? A woman has to choose it. Want to stop abortion? Easy. Convince women not to have them.

Due to my professional endeavors I know people from all walks of life. During the 40+ years since the Roe decision came down I’ve only known a few abortion foes who volunteered their time to talk with young women about abortion. Unfortunately their efforts were doomed from the start because they volunteered more to evangelize about the god of the Bible than to have a sincere rubber-meets-the-road discussion with young women concerning abortion. “God loves you and loves your baby and doesn’t want you to kill your baby” may result in years of guilt for the woman who chooses an abortion but it doesn’t solve one single problem the young woman is facing that is causing her to choose abortion.

So, in more than 4 decades how many people have I known who actually made a truly worthwhile effort to volunteer their time and personal resources to help young women facing the possibility of abortion? That would be zero.

At the outset of this article I asked you to read it to the end because there would be something unexpected. Well here we are.

Some years ago my then 16-year old step-daughter got pregnant (from knocking it out with her boyfriend while at her father’s house). I was the first adult she told. We discussed the options. I told her, “I can’t suggest you have an abortion because I don’t believe in abortion. I will love and support you no matter what you decide, but because of my view of abortion I’d much prefer to see you carry the baby to term and give it up for adoption.”

So you thought throughout this article that I was pro-abortion! I’m not.

But not feeling abortion is the correct choice does not make me want to put people in government cages because they make a choice different than I’d like.

Not approving of abortion does not blind me to the legal facts of the matter.

Not approving of abortion does not make me blind to the reality that moralizing horseshit does absolutely nothing to solve the problem.

Not approving of abortion does not make me blind to the fact that of those who are running their mouths against abortion, 99.9% will never lift a single sanctimonious finger to help women who are considering an abortion.

It’s the law of the land, like it or not. The ONLY meaningful course is to get involved with women who are considering an abortion and, if possible, provide the assistance they need in order to make a different decision. That will likely require material sacrifice on your part. Some resources that would ordinarily go to your family will have to go to help the pregnant woman considering abortion. How’s all that moralizing feeling now? Oh wait…it’s all about running one’s mouth but not putting one’s money where one’s mouth is.

If one is unwilling to actually DO something meaningful about abortion, that person should consider shutting the fuck up about it. Since it’s the law of the land and it’s not going to change, running one’s mouth without meaningful action is worthless, meaningless, and tiresome to those of us who have to listen to the endless litany of empty words.

If people don’t want to take the necessary action, that’s fine. But such people should look in the mirror and admit to themselves that they’re all talk and no action – and perhaps talk a lot less. Words without the metal to back them up by deeds make the speaker look as worthless and hollow as are his/her words.

Copyright Dave Champion 2015

Aug 8, 21015

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About

Dave was born in Southern California and was a wild teenager during the “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” days of the late 70’s.

But Dave embarked in an entirely different direction when he joined the U.S. Army and became an Airborne Ranger.

After leaving the Army, Dave returned to So Cal and engaged in a number of careers, including law enforcement, the corporate world, the hi-tech industry, business owner, legal consultant, and more.

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