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“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Dr. J. always softly chuckles when the left tries to portray the right as a group of backwards thinking Luddites because a small minority of its members have chosen to hold fast to Biblical teaching on creation rather than to subscribe to the best scientific theories regarding the issue. Similarly the left fails to see the plank in their eye when flaws with climate change or other scientific sacred cows are presented to them by skeptics on the right. They also become apoplectic when the right asks questions about the costs of their orthodoxy.
For example, if we know that if 1 PPM of pollutant Chemical-X in water is safe, while 0.1 PPM is cleaner, does the benefit of said new standard outweigh the cost to society? The left screams something about CHILDRUNZ!!!A!!!! and gets the low information and emotional voters will side with their cause.
This preamble brings Dr. J. to the point of this post. Avik Roy, a health policy expert over at NRO wrote a piece last week about finding middle ground in the abortion debate. His post over at NRO resulted in quite the bit of debate.
The thrust of his thesis is that many ‘pro-choice’ individuals are pro-life after an arbitrary developmental milestone, be it first heartbeat, the quickening (first movement), or in the case of our President, at some point after hospital discharge not otherwise specified. He also points out that most Americans equate overturning Roe vs. Wade with a national moratorium on abortion. As a consequence, he states that the 58% of Americans who think that abortion is OK in some circumstances (35% rape/incest/life endangerment only, 23% limited NOS) thus side with the 31% who are the abortion-uber-alles wing of the Democrat party. His point was that Governor Christie’s rape/incest/life endangerment position doesn’t alienate many of the ‘moderate’ voters as it was born of viewing the unborn child as that, a child.
Even Dr. J. has said that if abortion was restricted to those that fall within Governor Christie’s POV, it would be far preferable to the 3,600 performed daily in America, and that incremental steps towards ending the scourge of abortion aren’t selling out, but making progress.
But this passage didn’t sit right with Dr. J.:
Most conservatives have dismissed the Mourdock case as a clumsy flub, one that a more skilled candidate would have avoided. But Mourdock was accurately representing the principled pro-life position: that life begins at conception, and that it is morally inconsistent to discriminate against life conceived by rape or incest. And voters recoiled at the consequence of that principle.
It’s likely that, in a Roe-less world, few states would formally endorse the idea that life begins at conception; indeed, the question of when life begins would take center stage in legislative debates. President Obama famously averred that answering this question was “above my pay grade.” But most Americans believe that life begins at some point well before childbirth. If our abortion laws were determined by voters, instead of judges, they would almost certainly reflect that fact.
Dr. J. took biology class. As inconvenient as it is, ‘the science is settled.’ At conception a new life begins. Forty-six chromosomes (usually) shuffled into a new human being. Sometimes that new life doesn’t successfully implant into the womb, other times, it doesn’t develop correctly resulting in a miscarriage. Regardless of the natural order of things, it still is a unique individual person, no matter how small.
The only honest policy questions to ask, therefore are when is this person’s right to life protected, and when and under what circumstances this right is trumped by the rights of the mother? Any other questions are less than honest in a policy debate regarding abortion.