Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Common Sense, Blumenthal And Partial Birth Abortion

The controversy several years ago centering on the question “Is the fetus a person?” was not settled by appeals to religious conscience; it has been settled, not to everyone’s satisfaction, by 1) technology and 2) the common sense Americans are often praised for.  Common sense is, after all, a sense, very much like the other senses through which we receive the world in all its gore and glory .

Ultrasound shows us that the fetus at later stages in a pregnancy moves and reacts to attempts to snuff out its life by an abortion provider – in consultation, of course, with his sometimes uninformed victim, the prospective mother of the child, prospective because the abortion is also, sadly, an un-mothering.

The late term fetus, reasonable people sense, is clothed in personhood. Only one who holds extreme views on abortion would deny this. The late term fetus – some dare call it a child -- is certainly not a part of the woman’s body, as for example her liver, which can never be confused with a person, is a part of her body. The fetus is a separate life; to be sure not one that can survive unassisted outside the womb without motherly attendance. But then, neither may a born baby survive outside the womb unattended, and even the abortionist, as well as court justices who argue that persons unrecognized as such by the law may be treated as property, would not presume to assert that a child newly emerged from the womb should be put beyond the reach of the compassion, mercy and justice of legislators.

So, the question before us is not whether the law in its majesty does or does not confer personhood on a pre-born child. Justices have a declarative power, but their power, however awesome, cannot change reality. Clever lawyers can always be found who are willing, if paid sufficient sums of money, to stroke both ends of a sharp edged sword in courts of law. The question is: Are we willing to bang out our eyes and mute our senses to support a view of things that is both morally and scientifically repugnant?

Just how repugnant has late term abortion become?

It has become intolerably repugnant to those who are willing to call a duck a duck: If it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims in ponds – it must be a duck. Such deductions are not drawn from religious premises. It is perfectly possible for an atheist or an agnostic to make a sound case against partial birth abortion on humanitarian and even scientific grounds.

Current scientific research tells us that the fetus is able to feel pain as adults do after 30 weeks, in the third trimester of pregnancy. We know that fetal organs are transplantable from partial birth aborted fetuses. When abortions are performed after 30 weeks, should anesthetics be administered? When baby parts are harvested and sold on the free market, should the process be regulated? We regulate the selling of pork chops. Meat can only be slaughtered in USDA-inspected facilities

It may strike some hard bitten rationalists that reasonable regulations in such instances are both prudent and necessary. Should late term abortions be performed only by doctors who have resident privileges at hospitals? Asking and answering such questions does not amount to a denial of abortion or abortion rights. Indeed, even if abortion beyond the third trimester were to be outlawed -- an exception being made only if, in the absence of an abortion, the patient stood a chance of serious physical injury – women who wished to avail themselves of an abortion would not be denied; no right to an abortion, if there is such a right, would be compromised. At most, the decision to have an abortion still might be made in the first eight weeks of pregnancy.

What then are we to make of U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s posture on late term abortion? Mr. Blumenthal’s views on partial birth abortion parallel precisely in every particular the immoderate and extreme views of Planned Parenthood; so much so that he has been called by this writer several times in print “the Senator from Planned Parenthood.” An old English gentleman, asked how he felt about the sex act, once replied he avoided it “because, sir, the posture is ridiculous.”

Mr. Blumenthal’s ridged posture on the matter of abortion regulation is also ridiculous -- because he was well known in Connecticut during his two decades as Attorney General as an over-vigorous proponent of business regulation. Why, Mr. Blumenthal will never be asked in a debate with his Republican challenger – the plutocrat has committed to only one debate, now concluded – is Planned Parenthood the only business in the United States he will not regulate? It's certainly not the only U.S. business heavily invested in his re-election to the Senate. Maybe a reporter can be found somewhere in the state who has the intestinal fortitude to put the question to him – and wait for an answer.

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