Monday, June 14, 2010

Veto in Florida [Megan]

            A recent New York Times article reported that Florida Governor Charlie Crist vetoed an abortion bill similar to Oklahoma’s — one that would require most women to pay for an ultrasound and detailed description before having an abortion procedure. Crist’s veto letter reflects a middle-of-the-road stance, which makes sense after the governor dropped his Republican Party affiliation in April to run for a U.S. Senate seat party affiliation-less. Still, his reasons point to faulty thinking.

            According to the article, Crist opposed mandatory sonograms because the legislation “places an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.” As Scott would say:  “I agree — IF the unborn are not human.” If they are, the termination of a pregnancy is not a decision anyone is free to make, with or without an ultrasound.

            Crist expressed his personal views, describing himself as “pro-life,” but stressed that his personal views — to quote the article’s paraphrase of Crist’s view — “should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government.”

            But if Crist opposes abortion because it unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being, protecting unborn life should be understood as a wise — nay, necessary —role of the government. Two questions could be asked of him:  “Why do you personally oppose abortion?” and “What exactly is the role of government?”

            Crist mentioned women’s “right to privacy” in passing according to the article. But again, if he opposes abortion for the reason above, what does “privacy” have to do with it? Privacy has no bearing on whether or not it is wrong to perform other acts, like child abuse, stealing or rape.

            Crist closed by claiming that the measures taken by the legislation do not “change the hearts” of women as to whether or not to terminate their pregnancies, and that such a change of heart determines whether or not a new life is welcomed — lovingly — into the world. If a thing is (objectively) wrong, one’s (subjective) feelings about it do not make it right. No one would look down on a Charlie Crist, or anyone else, for attempting to dissuade a sociopath from murder. Furthermore, it is not okay to take anyone’s life unjustly on the off-chance that doing so might protect them from future heartache, such as the possibility they may not be loved by their parents. Though that reality is terribly sad, it does not justify abortion.

            Lastly, the writer misses the issue altogether with his own assessment:  “Compassionate conservatives and parents of all persuasions may be hard pressed to disagree.” His assertion assumes that the unborn at the center of the controversy are not human.

            The humanity of the unborn is central. And if anyone disagrees on that point, they’ve moved into the realm of science, where they can settle their disagreement by consulting the nearest embryology textbook.

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