Obtuse Observer

April 9, 2011

The Budget, Planned Parenthood and Abortion

I recently exchanged a few comments with friends about the issues involved with GOP efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.  (I’ll spare you the Margaret Sanger eugenics angle this time).  I just wanted to describe a couple issues and provide clarification on some facts.

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A few Planned Parenthood Statistics:  Planned Parenthood claims abortions amounted to 3% of their services for 2008.  In 2008 they gave 1.1 million pregnancy tests and performed 324,008 abortions.  That’s roughly one abortion performed for every three pregnancy tests.  Planned Parenthood made 2,405 adoption referrals over that same time period.  Planned Parenthood offers a wide variety of services for both man and women but preventing and, of singular importance, terminating pregnancies represent the main focus of their business.  3% is a misleading figure in my opinion.

The Hyde Amendment is supposed to prevent federal funding of abortions.  However, it is a rider traditionally attached to funding bills not a permanent law.  Further, as the AP’s Erica Werner noted back in October of 2009:  Separate laws apply the restrictions to the federal employee health plan and military and other programs.  But the Democrats’ health overhaul bill would create a new stream of federal funding not covered by the restrictions. 

This was the issue that got Bart Stupak, a situationally pro-life Democrat Congressman from Michigan, in a tizzy where he ultimately folded with a promise from President Obama that he would issue an executive order preventing federal funds to be used to pay for abortion.  He later wrote a piece for Newsweek called Healthcare Hell describing his fight and surrender. 

At the end of the day the Hyde Amendment doesn’t prevent federal funds from being used to pay for abortions it only prevents some funds from being used to prevent abortions.  And, in a tragically relativist fashion, that restriction is not based on the “why” the abortion occurs but on who is asking for the procedure.

Fetus v Baby:  Some advocates of legal abortion rely on terminology to justify it.  The word “fetus” is the word I encounter most commonly.  I am told that an abortion kills a fetus not a baby and therefore my concern for the dead fetus is exaggerated.

My friend defended legal abortion because, as she asserted, there is a difference between aborting a fetus and killing an unborn baby.  Short version: No there isn’t.  The term fetus describes a stage of human life not the life that is developing, that is, the term fetus addresses degree not kind.  This terminology shell game can only effect one’s perception of the act not what actually happens.

Basic Facts:  Obviously this is no easy issue for many people and I have to concede it took me more than twenty years to arrive at what I now regard a fairly brain-dead observation.  I assert here no opinion here as to the propriety or morality of abortion in a general sense.  However, there are concrete facts that this debate would be better served by acknowledging. 

Life begins at conception.  This is a scientific and biological determination not a religious one.  If it were a religious question women would see priests, rabbi’s etc for pre-natal check-ups and pregnancy tests.  They don’t; mothers see doctors because the issue is scientific, biological… medical; not religious.  That more religious people acknowledge that fact is a matter for personal contemplation.  When people argue that the “zygote” or “blastocyst” is not alive they are venturing down a philosophical path and asserting that the life is not entitled to legal recognition.  These are two distinct issues.  Our courts employ a legal fiction to deny the unborn legal recognition.  The unborn life is a human life regardless of whether or not it is a person recognized in any court opinion (Justice Blackmun’s opinion in Roe v Wade said that the unborn baby was not a “person”).  We know this because no mother has ever given birth to anything other than a human.  An abortion kills an unborn, living human as its intended purpose.  Whether this is immoral or not depends on specific facts that have nothing to do with a calendar or slippery legal terms.

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8 Comments »

  1. Devil’s advocate…If what you say is true then invitro fertilization resulting in frozen embryos not implanted and discarded, or used in stem cell research is homocide with the doctor being the murderer and donors accomplices. You would also have to qualify the difference between an embryo and a tumor, if analyzed in structure vice potential, as both are living cell tissue.
    Do you argue abortion on moral, or scientific grounds, or do you morally object and use science to uphold the moral aspect? When a person murders someone who has performed an abortion is it justified (morally not legally)?
    Have you ever had to have the conversation with someone about keeping or aborting? Is there a justifcation for abortion at any time? Should a raped woman carry a child to term, or is the day after pill ok? If they were outlawed would it stop it from happening, or would there just be really poor care for those who try, or expensive trips out of the country to get it done for those who could afford it? My point with all the questions is that the issue is not a simple one by any means. I certainly don’t look at it as a form of brith control by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I think that it should be government funded. I was really young when ours was conceived, so was she, and the situaton was far from ideal, but not many situations like ours end up the way we did.

    Comment by Eschultz — April 12, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  2. Only want to respond to one point above: Stem cell research derived from embryos is no longer necessary, as the same type of cell can be procured from adult stem cells (like from the bone marrow), so that helps to decrease the confusion by at least a degree. :)

    Comment by Vince — April 13, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  3. Murder is the unlawful killing of a human with malice aforethought. The destruction of embryos is lawful and it lacks malice.

    A tumor is self-initiating and an embryo is the product of the combination of sperm and an egg. It is not the combined DNA of its parents. It will never grow into an adult human (presuming noting kills it in the meantiome). Try as you will you won’t get in-vitro tumors from sperm and an egg. Nor can you use any tumor cells with sperm or an egg to make an embryo. We are analyzing each for what it is. One is a human at the earliest stages of life. The other is not. Potential is analyzed with a crystal ball.

    Abortion… I argue that an abortion kills an unborn living human. That’s medical or scientific or biological – take your pick. I use science/medicine or biology to describe a scientific/medical or biological effect.

    Whether this is good bad or indifferent is a moral determination. I tried to stay away from issuing a moral opinion. However, IMO elective abortions are immoral.

    Murder: be careful. Murder is wrong. It is a crime. Killing may be murder but only a very narrow class of killings are murder. To answer your question: I can understand that some one may believe he is using deadly force to prevent the death of another. However, that is not something I regard as a sane belief. Such a killing would, imo, be murder.

    Conversation: no. Not sure how or why that matters. In any event, I have had many conversations with women who have had abortions, given children (product of rape or just too young) up for adoption and who have miscarried. The main point of the thread was to clarify facts. I offered some PP stats and the fact that life begins at conception, it is human and aborting that life kills a human life. Further, I offered not… other than to acknowledge that complexity of the issue in this paragraph:

    Obviously this is no easy issue for many people and I have to concede it took me more than twenty years to arrive at what I now regard a fairly brain-dead observation. I assert here no opinion here as to the propriety or morality of abortion in a general sense. However, there are concrete facts that this debate would be better served by acknowledging.

    The remainder of your questions focus squarely on topics not raised by the post. Additionally they’re essentially the same question from a variety fo angles – not unfair questions to be sure however, the answers you can readily deduce from the comments in the above response. If not… ask again. I’ll address them but this is getting way too damn long.

    Comment by Obtuse Observer — April 14, 2011 @ 9:30 am

  4. If you freeze 12 embryos with the knowledge that you’re only going to use 1 I’d call that forethought.

    Legal semantics with “murder”, you know the intent of the comment, your clever wordsmithery will not avail you.

    The whole thing was played off your paragraph about the friend who defended abortion and the fetus/baby argument and kinda went on a tangent.

    As for the premise of the post, no the government should not be funding it.

    Comment by ESchultz — April 14, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  5. Freeze twelve: Which one are you going to use? Often many are used. Lastly, they aren’t destroyed until they are destroyed. If created for the purpose of destruction or if far more than could possibly be used are created then you’re into rough waters on the moral sea. Believe it or not embryo adoptions are becoming a lot more common. A much better alternative than the drain imo.

    Murder: It isn’t clever wordsmithing. It is speaking precisely on a topic requiring precision.

    Semantics: Concerns itself with word meanings. It is vitally important.

    I can guess what you mean but I know what you say. Whether they are the same is a third matter.

    I’m not trying to be snarky. This really is a topic requiring, imo, precise use of language because imprecise language permits ambiguity that allows insulation from the realities we are discussing. If people wish to do that, fine. However, if they opt for fuzzy facts the credibility of their opinions suffer. This is most annoying when people denying these basic facts hold strongly to opinions without a better command of the elements of the topic. They have a a preferred outcome and do not wish to be troubled with facts that undermine that outcome.

    Fetus/Baby: Is a bit of confusion out there fostered by the abortion industry to keep people confused. Let’s face it, many people would not like to face the facts – they would make the chocie of abortion too hard. So, PP and the like help them out by calling the mother’s baby a fetus instead of a baby.

    Comment by Obtuse Observer — April 15, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  6. in the us unemployment is under 9%. say, by chance, back in time abortion is declared illegal.
    humm were r u getting at toby?
    im glad u/i asked myself toby.if currently 13.5 million people are unemployed, where would the other 52 million (www.christianliferesources.com) non-aborted lives find work? and what would that do to our economy & environment (the single thing we have to live on, spend on, consume on & enjoy) we are 1/4 the size of china, yet we consume more than they do. sorry i didnt yet change my name to debby downer, but if u r sad about the lives we abort, dont resurch anything about how we treat 99% (literally) of the chickens we eat. yea killing a baby before it has a brain is bad, but who gives a **** about the chickens, cows, pigs, duck and lamb that dont walk 5 feet in their life. sorry, but u should concern urself with something benificial to the world.

    Comment by toby mf — April 28, 2011 @ 9:47 am

  7. btw: i would like to appolgies on all six of our behaves for hating up a storm on u.

    Comment by toby mf — April 28, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  8. Hello

    Nice, post here may come back soon
    keep update

    Comment by Arnaud — August 20, 2011 @ 8:50 am

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