The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
Last week the Arizona Daily Star once again printed side-by-side, pro-and-con opinions on abortion. It’s not surprising that you don’t even remember reading them because the controversy was, “Is abortion the mother’s choice or a medical concern?”
Once again, valuable editorial space has been consumed and no minds have been changed. The reason is the unbridgeable moral divide in America on abortion. We either believe that a woman has moral right to do with her body as she pleases or that a fetus has a moral right to live. So we scream at each other with terms like “war on women” and “murder” and go home feeling good in our self-righteousness.
Let’s face it, no opinion column is going to change the moral values of adult, thoughtful Americans. We should focus on the great political divide and make progress on that front. Spoiler alert: Progress means compromise, so take a deep breath. This is about reuniting our country on a divisive issue that extends from our local women’s clinics and church pews all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Roe vs. Wade has outlived its usefulness and in fact is being overcome by events. It is legislation formulated by the judicial branch in 1973. But now most of the 50 states, the incubators of democracy as we like to say, have enacted abortion legislation. Can we agree to let them have their day in court?
Even if America wants to ban abortion, we can’t. We banned the sale, distribution and use of heroin one hundred years ago. How’s that going? Anyone out there want to ban something else, say guns? Good luck. Can we all agree that Americans will never agree to submit to any outright ban of anything that is contrary to their core values?
Even if America wants to ban abortion, we shouldn’t. I’m old enough to remember the old “wire coat hanger, kitchen table” days before Roe vs. Wade. Can we agree that we don’t want the good old times?
States have enacted abortion legislation, and not surprisingly, with diametrically different moral philosophies. Georgia bans abortion at fetal heartbeat, while New York allows abortion during the birthing process. We are going to have to trust the courts to deal with these challenges. Do you agree? That’s a tough call so let’s draw some lines.
The Georgia fetal heartbeat criterion is bad law. To make an informed decision, a woman has to know she’s pregnant. The New York late-term abortion is bad law. Hospital medical protocol is all we need. I’m prepared to trust that the courts will allow substantial variation from state to state based on the mandates of their electorates, but will rein in the extremes. Does this make agreement any easier?
There are two easy concessions that pro-choice supporters should make.
First, Planned Parenthood must not receive federal funding, meaning tax dollars. We may not think that this is a big deal to the other side, but suppose your tax dollars were being used to fund the NRA, would you care that the dollar amount was trivial or would you emotionally focus on the symbolic issue? GoFundMe and George Soros are all you need. Keep your powder dry for the bigger issues.
Second, we all have heard that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle, but there is a man involved in 100% of all abortions. Can we agree that the man has a voice?
This column does not ask any of us to change our values, only to be pragmatic and reach across the aisle. In this polarized environment I know that’s tough because I had to bite my lip several times while writing this. The Star’s opinion content must attempt to bring us together rather than exacerbating the gap.