Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Unnecessary Distraction

The news media is giddy over the incredibly stupid, incoherent, inaccurate and damaging statement by Todd Akin over rape and abortion. I am not even sure where he pulled that idea from but the media wasted no time in splashing it all over the news and doing their best to link anyone who is pro-life with this buffoon. The voices are loud and growing louder calling on Mr. Akin to drop out but I don’t know that it will do any good at this point. A Democrat in a vulnerable seat with an incompetent and mediocre incumbent is probably going to get re-elected thanks to stupidity on the part of Republicans, a scene that quite likely will be repeated in the Presidential election. That isn’t really my concern here.

The reason this is so damaging is not political, although certainly it seems that an all but locked in Senate seat gain is likely to evaporate. The real issue here is that this debacle has struck a blow for the culture of death in a crucial part of the battle for life. The question of the “rape, incest, life of the mother” exception in abortion is always lurking at the periphery. It makes for a difficult discussion. Is an unborn child less of a child if he was conceived by an abhorrent act? It is a rhetorical trap that places many unwary people in a no-win situation. Say you don’t support the exception and you are a brute that doesn’t care about women. Say you do support it and you concede that in a fundamental way an unborn child is a lesser life form. Neither response does justice to the pro-life position.

The question about the “rape, incest, life of the mother” exception should be answered this way:

No, I do not support an exception that permits a woman to abort her child if that child was conceived as the result of rape or incest or in the case when a woman’s life is in danger. I believe that a child is fully human at conception regardless of the circumstances. As such she deserves the same legal protection that any other human being is granted under our laws.

If a child is a human being deserving of legal protection and recognition that doesn’t change based on the circumstances that surround her conception just as a child born to a single mother addicted to drugs is not less deserving of human dignity and legal protection than a child born to an upper class couple. This country was supposed to have advanced beyond the stage where some humans are worth less than others and not given equal protection under the law. There is no right more fundamental than the right to life and our laws rightly reflect this. Finding loopholes where life can be extinguished for external reasons, punishing a child for the malfeasance of another, are an abomination and a perversion of the basic tenets of human dignity.

So Mr. Akin for whatever reason (ignorance, poor preparation, whatever) has not only done an enormous disservice to his political party, he has provided ample ammunition to those who fight to retain the “right” to snuff out human life for any or no reason. He should step aside and he should leave public life until he gets his head screwed on straight but I am quite sure he will not. His attempt to balance a political position with public opinion has made a mockery of an issue that demands our most sober reflection. This incident is once again proof that the church cannot leave matters of highest import to the state.

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