Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whose Life Are You Trying To Save?

To say abortion is a contentious issue is to make a pronounced understatement. To say that some people believe with all their heart that a fetus is a fully-formed and functional person from the moment of conception is a given. To say that it is a medical procedure is often glossed over. To say that both sides of the "debate" often cannot see the other's side clearly goes without saying.

What does it say, however, that a state that leans heavily in the direction of conservatism, is willing to codify the killing of an abortion doctor as being perfectly legal?

The state of South Dakota's legislature has a bill before it that would, in essence, making the killing of a doctor who performs abortions legal. The text is as follows:

    Section 1. That § 22-16-34 be amended to read as follows:
    22-16-34. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.
    Section 2. That § 22-16-35 be amended to read as follows:
    22-16-35. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished.

While the sponsor of the bill, Representative Phil Jensen, says it is merely an attempt to bring consistency to South Dakota's laws regarding justifiable homicide, the attempt to alter legislation subtly to provide an open window for the defense of those who murder abortion providers is so transparent as to be ludicrous. The claim is that the statutes only apply to illegal acts, and abortion is legal currently, but that would not stop an unreasonable person from using the statute as justification for homicide by claiming they are preventing a "murder."

The number of abortion providers murdered or the victims of murder attempts is staggering and shameful. We have no reason to believe that this law would do anything but exacerbate a situation that is akin to lighting a match in a fireworks factory. Every perpetrator of such crimes claims "justifiable" homicide, based solely on their perception of what is legal, mainly legal in the eyes of "their God." Sadly, they do not seem to realize that the laws of the United States make no distinction as to whose God rules, saying that everyone is entitled to their own belief, so long as they do not attempt to enforce their religious views on others. These misguided individuals take a road that can only end in their conviction, but are perfectly willing to "martyr" themselves for their cause. This law would change that, opening a crack in an otherwise open-and-shut case of murder, allowing a sympathetic judge (as if there is supposed to be sympathy for a murderer where there can be no justification for it) to let a murderer go to salve their own conscience.

America, of needs, is a nation of law and liberty, and the price of those is that we must accept that others will not agree with our philosophy or religion, and that there is nothing wrong with that. That means that for the pro-Choice movement, they must understand that those who are against abortion have the right to make their voices heard, no matter how vitriolic. Such vitriol can only paint them as poor arbiters of what is right and wrong. The anti-Choice movement must accept that abortion is legal, and while they might not agree that it is necessary or needed, they have no right to stop it merely on the grounds of their belief in the "sanctity" of life, a belief which only seems to extend to the unborn.

What no one in South Dakota who agrees with the bill must do, is tell us that they are at all Christian, for to advocate for murder to prevent "murder" may satisfy a bloodthirsty Old Testament God, it has no place in the New Testament world of Jesus Christ. While it is certainly an awful thought that life is so easily expendable after conception, and we must bemoan those who put no thought into their actions, it is not a clear-cut case of thoughtlessness in an innocent fashion. Contraception fails; women and young girls are raped; young girls are seduced and deflowered by family members or other adults -- in no case can we say with certainty that the life that is the end result of these actions is either wanted or desired. To lay a burden on a woman or girl who has lost the security of her own body, to ask of her to put aside distaste so easily to bring forth a constant reminder of her pain, is to ask something that only a saint could hope to perform. It is not up to us to impose a ruling upon the propriety of the termination of this potential life, only to extend compassion to the mother-to-be in her hour of need, and supply her with the resources that will make her decision easier, if there can be any.

It is far easier to stop abortion with a condom or a birth control pill, than it is with a gun or a knife, for the former ensures that no one is harmed, while the latter deprives a person of their life. The commandment is clear: Thou shalt not kill. You may wish to believe that abortion is murder, but that is a judgment call, not a tacit expostulation of The Bible. It is murder to take the life of another human being, biblically or legally. Anyone who does not acknowledge this, lacks a soul themselves, for they are will to sacrifice a living, breathing human being for one who has not been born. Anyone can anoint themselves to make such a decision, but society holds a greater claim to such power than the individual. There can be no capriciousness, no dogmatism in such a decision; it must be made by those who are directly affected. In the case of abortion, it is the mother and the mother alone, who is charged with that heavy burden, and the best we can try to do is make it lighter and show her compassion and empathy.

One hopes this change in law is struck down, for if the change take place, there can be no telling what blood may yet run in the streets of otherwise quiet towns.

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