Friday, April 29, 2005

Re: Riding the Fence 

As is to be expected, mention a controversial issue such as abortion, and critics on the left immediately pull for the heart strings, mount the ad homonym, and run for the moral hills. But lest readers be caught in the web of hypotheticals and "how could you?"s, let me try to return the discussion to a basis in fact, rather than angered rancor. (The original post that sparked the controversy is here)
First, while it is entirely possible that a pregnant minor could have been raped by the very person that a "parental consent" law would require consent from, not getting consent, or even having an abortion, will not change the fact that she has been raped. One commenter noted the removal of amendments from the proposed Florida legislation that would have allowed persons other than the parent to be the consenter in the case of abuse. Again, examine the motives of such a move: It allows hard line pro-choice advocates to speak out of both sides of their mouth, by attempting to remove all obstacles to streamlined abortion, and then crying foul when such contingencies could arise. And let us not forget, if a minor is pregnant, a crime has already taken place regardless of who the father is.
One reader asked whether there was anything crueler than forcing a 13 year old girl to carry a baby to term. The short answer is that while we may be horrified by its implications, if the 13 year old was able to become pregnant, than biologically she is at least capable of carrying the child. Lets remember that no one forced her to have intercourse to begin with, and if they did having an abortion will not change this. Something more cruel? Well, another reader offered a link to a particularly good response to that. Those who blindly advocate abortion in the name of mercy should know what they are supporting: the procedure is by far more cruel and invasive than giving birth, even by cesarean section. I am not advocating that I, or any reader, make that decision for her. The decision rests with her primary care giver, who in this case is the State of Florida. "Force her to carry the child to term" is a twisting of logic. No one forced her to begin the term (there is no mention of rape, but for the hypothetical crowd out there, see above), and the natural consequence of fertile sexual intercourse is (surprise!) pregnancy. The hard truth is that she is not being forced to carry the child. She simply is carrying the child, because that’s what happens when you become pregnant. As repugnant as this may sound, I urge critics to examine comparable comparisons before touting moral maxims. Take, for a base but remarkably applicable analogy, the normal intake of food. Is it forcing a person who consumes a large amount of food to defecate simply by not granting them an enema? Well, ask yourself what the perceived outcome was when that person ate in the first place. They aren't being forced to defecate, that's just what happens after you eat something.
Such arguments aside, the real question rests in what can be deemed the reasonable ago of consent? The tattoo comparison seemed to rub people the wrong way, but there are myriad others: She cannot obtain a tongue piercing, purchase alcohol or tobacco, cannot purchase pornography depicting the very act she took part in (willingly or not), she cannot fill out an online survey, she cannot be employed (14 for a work permit), she cannot be married, in fact if she were a male, and she were responsible for such a pregnancy, she would not have a permanent criminal record since all juvenile records are sealed at 18. Yet the ACLU, and sympathizers, claim she is capable, and indeed encouraged, to make a decision for a dangerous, invasive medical procedure she likely knows nothing about? I must concede that she is in no shape to raise a child, although that is not implicit in birthing the child, but is she in any position to terminate one?

Very well put. I think you summed up all the points rattling around in my head, and layed them out in a very concise way.

I like your "food" analogy. Right on the head.

Also excellent way to sum it up. If she isn't old enough to raise a child, how can she be old and mature enough to make the choice to terminate one?
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