Issue insanity

April 20, 2006 09:00 AM

Commentary by Judie Brown

A variety of news reports tell us that pro-abortion forces are getting ready for a battle of enormous proportions. It seems that groups including NARAL are already resigned to the possibility that the Supreme Court will overturn the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions in the not too distant future.

While some suggest that this proposition is extremely premature, we would hasten to add that if the court addresses its 1973 decisions, it would be in the best interests of preborn children for the justices to do so on a basis that is rarely if ever discussed in such news reports. It is amazing to read coverage that consistently fails to address the personhood of the preborn child, but persistently focuses on issues relating to public perception and attitudes.

Pro-abortion groups insist that the struggle to protect a "right to abortion" will soon be addressed by more than 7,000 lawmakers in the 50 state legislatures. This hypothesis is based on the wobbly assessment of public polling data that suggest a majority of Americans favor abortion rights. This poll finding leads many to believe that pro-abortion successes at the state level will be better than average. Of course they are quick to point out that such guesstimates are just that and that perhaps the court will never get to the fundamental question.

On the other side of these discussions we find far too many pro-life leaders who willingly observe that it is obvious that the issue will return the states, and that this would be best, as one spokeswoman put it, because "an issue as sensitive as abortion, that affects so many women and their children, should be up to their legislators who are accountable to the people." Or put another way, human dignity is a matter that is currently undecided.

Media focus, with the willing agreement of people on both sides of the issue, is therefore on the question of state lawmakers, state laws and state by state determinations regarding the sanctity of the human being’s life from the moment that life begins. My response to this is simple: Why?

It is outrageous to read such discussions. It is clear that a conscious effort is being made to avoid addressing the indisputable fact that an act of abortion is deadly. It seems that many pro-life and pro-abortion apologists have entered a twilight zone where the question of who dies during an abortion and the subsequent suffering that affects mothers and fathers is nothing more than anecdotes that don’t belong in a civilized debate.

The popular discussion is about an "issue" and the obligation politicians have to be responsive to the polling numbers, the attitudes of the electorate, and the sensitivities of the reporters who have to cover this beat. After all, as one news report tells us, there are so many factors involved in predicting what could happen that it is difficult to ascertain precisely what state lawmakers would do should Roe and Doe fall. After 33 years of rhetoric, rancor and resistance on the part of the men and women who we Americans elect to act on our behalf; is it any wonder that the electorate-that is, the people of this nation-are somewhat fuzzy about what they think regarding this "issue"?

Where once there was a unified goal of ending the killing and doing so with a firm desire to make sure that everybody realized why not a single abortion should ever be tolerated, there is now a mushy mixture of cautious warnings, carefully crafted evasive comments and politically correct legislative proposals designed to persuade the public that pro-lifers are reasonable people who understand that abortion is a difficult "issue."

Apparently, far too many in the pro-life movement have lost sight of the goal. There seems to be an increasingly strong desire to make nuanced comments based on polling data instead of principle. Many appear to be in complete agreement with our foes that the battle would be best waged in every state legislature, and that the people of each state should actually decide whether or not they wish to live in a state that either welcomes the abortion trade, bans it or falls somewhere in between. We can imagine a map that is not simply red states and blue states, but pink states too. There would be states where mass murder of preborn children was sanctioned; some where limitations on the slaughter were in place, and others still where aborting a child would be a crime punishable by law.

While that scenario may bring comfort to some and job security to others, it evokes deep sorrow for me. Rather than claiming that the culture is not yet ready to deal with this issue in a substantive way, why not help the culture along, one person at a time, by returning to the facts of the matter while setting aside the deluded language that is designed to obfuscate reality.

Truth be told, abortion is a dastardly act; it is not an issue. The result of the act is a dead human being whose value is in fact no different than yours and mine. The mother of that dead child will suffer; how could she not? The law should reflect respect for human dignity rather than disrespect for the sanctity of life. Murder is what it is, even when the vast majority of us prefer to define it as nothing more than an issue.

The real issue is not abortion, but rather the inability of far too many of us to face facts; our failure to say what we mean and mean what we say. As long as this disgustingly deceptive rhetoric persists, political posturing will rule the day, more and more babies will die and "issue insanity" will continue unabated.

Release issued: 20 Apr 06

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