This has been an unusual campaign year so far. An in-your-face woman’s rights battle has dominated the headlines, but virtually no mention has been made of pro-choice versus pro-life. This is understandable in so far as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could have easily swapped positions and nobody would have noticed.
John McCain’s position seems to be semi-pro-choice: every woman has the right to choose no. Nobody has the right to say yes. [Burr – clever and accurate, but not entirely fair: The Editors]
The issue is one of those controversies in which it is not possible to have an entirely reasonable position. Arbitrary lines are absurd. But legal standards have to be arbitrary. Predictability is needed in law.
Pro-life folks hold that there must be no legal distinction between a fertilized egg and an infant baby. They don’t like follow up questions.
There being no legal distinction, should miscarriages be routinely investigated for potential negligent manslaughter charges? We do that when babies die unexpectedly.
Since some pregnancies involve the loss of many fertilized eggs and the survival of only one, should pregnant women be required to have any excess eggs surgically removed? We would rescue babies in mortal danger.
- Most fertilized eggs do not attach to the uterine wall, resulting in no pregnancy. Should all women who have intercourse be required by law to submit to examination by legal authorities to see if surgery is needed to save any
Pro-choice folks have a more succinct series of unwelcome questions.
What is the distinction between a baby about to be born and baby that has been born?
- If the line is to be drawn earlier, what is the logical distinction between one side of the line and on the other? Even viability as a standard is slippery and, in the face of medical advances, slipping.
My position? I stand with those on the absurd side of the debate.
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