Campus personalities present and past Rebecca C. Brown and Tommaso Sciortino tackle the issues. This week on a very special CalJunket: Rebecca learns not to chew with her mouth open and Tommaso finds out his best friend is addicted to no-doze.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Bush is poised to sign a bill banning partial-birth abortions. I, oddly enough, am not wrangling up my picketing materials. But, though I think partial-birth abortions, which take place in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, are ugly and should be discouraged, I don't feel that the law has any place in the matter.
By week eight into a pregnancy, the fetus already has a developing nervous system and will, even if the feeling isn't perceived by the fetus' brain, react to a physical stimulus. By the thirteenth week, the second trimester, the fetus has a fairly devolped nervous system and can move on its own volition. Premature fetuses that are born after only five months of gestation can survive, indicating that a "baby" has at that point been developed. I reluctantly say that I cannot support terminating the pregnancy in the second trimester, though nor do I feel particularly strong about this. Abortions in the third trimester, which represent only about 1% of abortions in the US, are fairly gruesome and should be strongly discouraged unless bringing the pregnancy to term would be harmful to the mother (or if it is discovered that the fetus will not survive through childbirth).
One very disturbing aspect of this bill is that it represents a stepping stone to the abolition of all abortion, no matter at what point during the pregnancy or under what circumstances. And by "circumstances" I am alluding to more than rape and incest; I believe that the sincere desire to not have a baby is a circumstance that justifies abortion.
What disturbs me most about the standard Republican stance on abortion is that they claim very ardently that they want to support a "culture of life" and eliminate a "culture of death." Wait, huh?! Is this not the political party whose platform supports the death penalty? The death penalty. Or the party (with congressional help from the pandering Democrats) that is currently waging a war in Iraq where Americans, Iraqis, soldiers, and civilians are being killed? (That's correct. I said currently.) Or the party who is more comfortable letting pollutants (pollutants that deplete the quality of and/or shorten life) into the ecosystem than regulating pollution and potentially stifling the economy on a temporary scale?
I don't belive Republicans are attempting with this bill to encourage a culture of life. At the risk of sounding radical or making a potentially offensive analysis (new territory for me), I believe this party's stance on abortion is rooted in anti-feminism and a distortion of Christian ideals (the latter obviously engendering the former). The word "God" has managed to litter the politics of the right to this day in such an un-Christian way. I have read Biblical texts for myself, and though I do not believe Jesus would support partial-birth abortions (if only we could ask him his stance on this, and stem cell research, and comprehensive admission standards for public universities), I also do not believe he would support putting criminals to death, or for that matter participating in any war.
The only good that will come of the soon-to-be passing of this bill is that the issue of abortion will once again, I predict, be taken to the Supreme Court and once again the Supreme Court will decide in favor of abortion rights. I don't know how many times the precedent will have to be set on this matter.
Dammit, I hate Republicans!