Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the US has marked its 35th anniversary.
The philosophical ramifications have been debated, yet we are no closer to a resolution than we were in 1972. Protestors name-call across picket lines, occasionally someone gets killed, and beliefs instead of qualifications determine electability.
The issue is so polarizing that many who are pro-choice, but also anti-abortion, don’t speak out because of the risk of being publicly vilified as supporting “baby killers” or wanting to turn women back into chattel.
Most Americans believe the right to privacy takes precedence over the “rights of the unborn”. Common sense tells us that repealing Roe v. Wade will not stop abortions. Individuals should be allowed to privately make their own decisions based on their beliefs.
As a society, we should focus on what actions we can undertake to eliminate the need for abortions.
This will certainly strike at the root of the matter more effectively than all of the public posturing. Here are some suggestions:
Implement a national program of standards governing the mandatory teaching of sexual education and responsibility. The teaching must focus on the real life consequences of sexually irresponsible behavior, give a balanced and objective presentation of all options to abortion and perhaps, most importantly, start to counter the emphasis young adults place on immature sexual activity as a “rite of passage” into adulthood.
Scientists must establish a scientifically-based and legal definition of when human life begins as opposed to life begins. Reason tells me that a moment occurs when a fetus can survive outside the womb of its mother without heroic measures as defined by the medical community until that point, it has no Constitutional protections.
As the technology improves to push this date further back, abortion protocols can adjusted accordingly, thereby narrowing the window when abortions can performed.
We must also implement a national set of standards for pre and post-natal care of the mother and newborn to de-stigmatize the concept of out-of-wedlock or child/teen pregnancies, and remove as much as possible the “inconvenience factor” of pregnancy to encourage mothers to bring the child to term.
Create a national set of standards governing adoption and foster care to remove all barriers to race or gender-based adoptions, and streamline the adoption process to quickly place children with qualified parents, provide support for “special needs” children, and provide for the consistent and accurate monitoring of placed children to insure their safety.
In the end, the only decisions we are responsible for are our own. Each one us in time will answer to those that we made. By any measure, one abortion less means one life more.For now, let us do what we can, while accepting that each of us is entitled to our beliefs.