Austin, Texas, city officials are pushing for federal legislation that would overturn state laws restricting abortion. That of itself is obviously worrisome for those who would like to see less federal involvement in matters where the states should be able to govern for themselves. Are laws and regulations concerning women’s healthcare one of those areas where the state should have the right to legislate, without federal government having to get involved?
If you are thinking that the topic under discussion, namely, regulations on aborting live human beings — i.e., killing them — isn’t about women’s health care, you need to think again. Both sides of the aisle in this case are arguing that it is.
Opponents of Texas House Bill 2, passed in October of 2012, claim that it restricts a woman’s access to “safe reproductive health care” or “safe reproductive services.” That I find odd, since what abortion actually does, by definition, is terminate a pregnancy — by killing a live human being — only after the reproductive process has already reached its determinate end, namely, to produce another person.
After all, what else is the natural end of reproduction and by what other process does a human come into the world — natural or other wise, that would have to be through the process of reproduction. But the conception of a new life only occurs when the reproductive process has been completed. From that point on, the biological process is the new individual’s development, no longer the process of reproduction.
Certainly, the H2 Bill aims to restrict abortion, and it would be deceptive to claim that that is not the case. However, what the law does not do is restrict all abortion, nor does it limit women’s access to reproductive or any other sort of health care. As proponents of the law suggest, the H2 Bill relates to “the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and facilities; providing penalties.” Here is a link to the bill so you can read it for yourself.
In summary, the bill in its entirety relates to safety measures and concerns — Yes, this is hard to fathom when it also necessarily concerns the death of a living individual. What else is the point of an abortion?
But of course safety and sanitation ought to be considered, right? It is, after all, the abortion activist lobby saying that’s what this is all about. And maybe they should be mindful of that. Does the name Kermit Gosnell ring a bell? How many women were killed by botched abortion procedures last year? You won’t hear them giving the answer. So how concerned are they for women’s health issues, really?
Yet they insist that their concerns in this case are over safe care for women — both sides are saying that, both sides are pointing the finger at the other for disregarding that concern. This isn’t ironic. This is a blatant manipulation of terms. It’s all a language game. It’s a game of deception.
Meanwhile, human lives are at stake. Certainly, the life of the mother is at risk and that is a very important concern, but somehow in this debate over abortion, which has now boiled down to a language war, they are causing people to forget about the most essential thing here. It is the one thing without which we would not even be considering abortion in the first place — the life of a defenseless child.
As a lifelong non-theist, I don’t have the “moment of conception” notion with regard to the beginning of life. For me, life is continuous for the past roughly 4 billion years, and that moment business is complicated because it can be tinkered with or even triggered artificially.
But death is not continuous. And at some point, a few weeks after conception, a human fetus has an impulse-sensing brain and a beating heart. Since we use brain death as an end-of-life measure, it seems reasonable to me to argue for brain-birth/formation/first signals as a beginning-of-life measure.
Thus, I am on your side when it comes to late-term abortions; these are indeed killing humans.
You voiced a rhetorical question: “How many women were killed by botched abortion procedures last year?” But there’s another aspect to this question, since about half of the successful abortions kill women, too. They’re just younger than the others.
I don’t think this should be decided at the federal level, as we don’t in general decide murder and self-defense at that level. But states can and should make these decisions, and in my state I would vote against late-term abortions, with “late” being defined as post-brain-formation.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
Excellent observations, Keith, and good points. Late term abortions are generally considered third trimester abortions. The brain transmits signals after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the heart beats after 7. So your criteria for a late term abortion would mark the limit a lot earlier than what is currently regarded as “late term,” in most states.
Although we don’t agree on the notion of “moment of conception,” I like your arguments for determining the existence of life in the same way we determine evidence for the end of life, based on brain activity. Of course, I would argue that we have a new individual human life from conception; but I don’t see the need to argue for that here. Where we agree the most is that there certainly is a point at which terminating a pregnancy is ending a human life, and that constitutes murder.
And as you argue, nicely, cases of murder and self-defense are decided at the state level — there’s the rub. They are not calling it murder. They are calling it healthcare. And since federal government has already shown its will and ability to take over all things healthcare, it makes sense that the federal government must be the one to step in and resolve this issue. And we already know what the outcome will be if they should decide to step in. Furthermore, there seems to be no reason to believe that they won’t. We are reaching an endgame, and it does not bode well for democracy, or the unborn child.
As for my rhetorical question, you made an excellent point there, my friend! Millions of women are killed each year. However, although I did not answer my own question about how many (teen/adult) women were killed in botched abortions last year, there is a real answer to this question: 2 women died as a direct result of botched abortions last year (I’ve got links to the articles somewhere on my “BiltrixBoard” and I’ll share them soon)– that you won’t hear from those abortion proponents who are clamoring that the issue with this law is about access to safe abortions. Yet that is precisely what the bill aims to do by way of regulating safety conditions, which, wouldn’t you know, happen to put some practitioners out of business, who can’t maintain their clinics up to the types of standards one ought to expect from a “healthcare” clinic.
The link in question:
I just wanted to point out that there are non-theists who believe in life at conception. It is by no means a religious topic. I am attaching a link to Secular Pro-Life’s argument on this.
Thanks for the link K M. I’ve been to this website before and I often find very good articles here.
Great post, James. And perfectly in keeping with the theme this month…
Check your Twitter feed, James.
I sent you a DM about this post……….