The purpose of this blog is to get readers to think about the complex (or perhaps simple) issues I write about.

The primary topics will revolve around politics and society as a whole, but a mixture of sports opinion may be thrown in from time to time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Forest, On Life Issues

It is without question that life issues are among the most contentious in our political discourse, and having set out the groundwork for which I approach just about all things, through my post on religion, I feel it being the next closest of controversial-"things you just don't talk about at the dinner table" there is the need for me to discuss it on a public forum.

As a reminder, the purpose of these blog entries is to educate those who do follow those cage rattling things I post to my Facebook and Twitter profiles where I am coming from. I feel that if you know where I stand on these dinner-table type of issues, then you know where I am coming from on just about anything else. 

It's my view that human beings cannot function without life. If you have taken a biology class, you know that anything that lives, dies.

Yet for the past 38 years, the United States has permitted humans to have a choice on whether another human being lives or dies, so long as it rests inside a woman's reproductive tract.

I speak, of course, with the case law that began with the controversial decisions made by seven Supreme Court Justices in Roe v. Wade 410 US 113 (1973) to establish a new constitutional right, apparently pulled out of thin air, which can only be applied to pregnant women.

The Court in Roe asserted that somewhere in the text of the 14th Amendment, (and in some Justices' opinions the Ninth as well) there is a "right to privacy." Here are the texts of those two Amendments.

Ninth: The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparaged others retained by the people. 

Fourteenth: All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

Now I may be blind, but I do not find the word privacy, its forebear "private" or any synonyms of the root, such as confident, secret, or close in either Amendment.

Yet the Court construed due process to mean a pregnant woman has an unalienable right to end the life inside of her.

While I could write a dissertation on why Roe was not only incorrectly decided, but should have never been heard in the first place, I want to focus on life and life issues.

Case law congruent to Roe has made its way up the judicial ladder several times, with only minor changes being made to the decisions set out in Roe which defined a new term, "viability" which essentially says that no child deemed fit to live outside a womb can be aborted.

With 38 passed years, popular opinion on the "Right to Choose" has risen enough that a significant majority believes that women should have the right to abort "inviable" fetuses.

I am not in that majority. I firmly detest any abortion, regardless of any circumstance save for the negative impact carrying a pregnancy to term would have on the mother.

Unlike many pro-lifers however, I believe that Roe v. Wade was not just incorrectly decided on moral grounds.

The Ninth Amendment was completely turned on its head to get the case to the Supreme Court in the first place, as was the Fourteenth.

Nowhere does the word "privacy" appear in the Constitution or its 27 Amendments. What does appear is this line:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. 

That line is also known as the Tenth Amendment, the last in the Bill of Rights. Prior to Roe Abortion was legislated and litigated by the States, and should be so to this day.

Yet the demagogues on the "pro-Choice" side of the issue to this day, still use violent imagery of a coat hanger to depict the "only option left" for women should they not be allowed to clinically abort their child.

Unlike the violent images used by the demagogues on the "pro-Life" side of the issue, the "coat hanger" and its representation of the danger associated with the inability to have a legal abortion are completely unrepresentative to reality as to be persuasive.

By this I mean that images of the graphic nature of legal abortions under current law, while graphic for a purpose, are completely true representation of what happens under current law.

Yet the violent images of a coat hanger as a "last resort" are a complete misrepresentation of the times, the other resources women have, and under a presumed State ban, Roe's popularity, the fact that under the jurisdiction of the States, abortion would still be legal in a large majority of States.

Enough with the vitriol that surrounds this issue though. I want to mention the pure biology of homo sapiens.

We simply cannot live unless thousands of biological criteria are met. The same holds true for humans in their most basic, inhuman-looking form.

Just as a zygote cannot flourish in a petri dish, an average male or female couldn't survive without breathable oxygen, or a spinning planet, for that matter.

If we know this about our biology, I just simply cant understand why we can't come to some sort of consensus as to when human life begins.

So, then what about capital punishment?

It must be stated that I am referring only to capital punishment within the United States, and anything I mention from here on out is applicable to the United States and/or its citizens.

Several prominent voices in American politics, mainly on the right side of the political spectrum have either been forced to change their opinions on capital punishment or have done so on their own, as a result of their pro-life views on abortion.

For me, I do not see "the death penalty" as it is commonly referred as analogous to the practice of abortion. If for no other reason, is that one practice takes the life of a completely innocent human, and one takes the life of one who has been proven guilty of some offense deemed worthy of such punishment by an institution or by a jury of peers.

Of course such an explanation is rarely good enough, so let me get further into the woods on this controversial life issue.

Human history has been played out for centuries and as humans have evolved, we have put distinct expectations upon ourselves. These expectations commonly known as laws, are often times explicit in their meaning and as humans, we understand that if our actions run contrary to those laws, then we are subject to a punishment befitting our infraction.

It is vastly important that when discussing this issue, those who are pro-life on the abortion issue understand that punishment, could not be more objective. The subjectivity of the punishment is completely peripheral to the punishment itself.

Most, including myself do not believe that drug use running explicitly against an established law should not merit the punishment of death. Yet, in some countries this is the case.

Certainly in most countries that carry out capital punishment do so as a result of the practice's prevalence in religious doctrine, which those countries have ingrained into their "moral fibers."

However, whether or not religion should inform a country's laws is purely subjective and therefore peripheral to the punishments themselves.

Knowing that the punishment of death is by its nature objective, the process in which one arrives at the penalty must also be objective.

Laws, especially those written with the attachment of punishment should they be "broken" are a symbol of objectivity in our society.

A life, deemed by people to be a suitable punishment for a crime as a result of a violation of an objective law, cannot be looked at subjectively.

What I mean by all of this, is that once someone has knowingly committed a crime punishable by death in this country, he/she has placed the value of their own life into an objective hearing-or at the mercy of people who've acted lawfully.

Once a life has become subjected to the objective realities of the legal system, in my opinion, it no longer holds the same weight as a life that has not been allowed to put itself into the objective process by which it can be deemed, as a suitable punishment, to be no longer needed.

In the Terri Schiavo instance (end of life) matters, there should also be no conundrum between being pro-life on the abortion issue, but pro-choice when it comes to clinical suicide.

When I have a will, it will contain the option for my spouse or my children to end my life if there is a medical certainty that I will no longer be able to function in a way that's conducive to living a quality life.

In the Schiavo argument, there were "pro-life" people saying that until she's actually dead there is no reason to artificially, or forcefully end her life without her consent.

Obviously I don't want to discount how monumental this moment in a life is, but when medical professionals tell you that your loved one will never again leave this medical bed, it's time to start thinking about what keeping your loved one alive will mean.

I'm a firm believer in miracles, but there comes a time when prayers and hope have to wear thin. After all, it costs money to keep a vegetated person alive, and "ending" their life shouldn't be looked at as "playing God" or anything of the sort.

People are resilient beings, and with the support of machines, can live for a long time, but there comes a time and a place to call it quits on this earth and start enjoying our place in life eternal.

Being "pro-life" comes with the cost of a thorough explanation of how you arrived at the position. Those who are pro-life should not be subject to the demagoguing of the "hanger" used by pro-abortion activists.

The same can be said for pro-life people themselves. Holding blatantly violent images of aborted fetuses may point out harsh realities, but by their very nature are divisive and polarizing.

As controversial as life issues can be, there is likely never going to be a consensus, or "just getting along" when it comes to the issue.

However, if both sides could turn down the volume and the heat all at once, we could at least have proper philosophical debates on the matter. Until then however, I feel that the life issue, and posts like this one will just be met with violent and angry rhetoric.

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