Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stumbling on principle, recovering by hard work

The principled stand against abortion is excellent: human life begins at conception.

That is an ironclad concept that only runs afoul of citizenship conferred at birth and the awful ruling from the SCOTUS on Roe v. Wade on the right to privacy issue AND the viability issue.

By being unable to take the multi-track approach against abortion as a three-pronged encirclement maneuver, we have wound up with the horrors of Dr. Kermit Gosnell (link to a NY Daily News report, but there are hundreds of reports out there) which may be multi-State in its scope, and the problems revealed on Planned Parenthood (Andrew Breitbart's Big Government for that).

The counter-attack on Roe has been single vector and has not utilized any of the Leftist playbook strategies against things like smoking. Wait? Playbook strategies?

Why, yes: making smoking to be socially unacceptable has been a long-term procedure in the health care area that has taken a relatively self-destructive habit going back centuries and slowly changed the perception of it on a social basis. If there was that sort of capability to go against abortion to reinforce and push forward against the main avenues of attack that got us to Dr. Gosnell and Planned Parenthood as has been used against smoking, we would end up with far fewer abortions and the shunning of it over time.

The Leftist push via the SCOTUS and then expanding on that locally by the rather sparse certification for abortion clinics and NO review of them has been an absolute abandonment of the primary principle (human life begins at conception) on the secondary avenues of privacy and viability which have been conceded, absolutely and totally, to the Left. In the last decade some push-back on MINORS has happened, but that has been the extent of it, and has been thwarted by the SCOTUS 'privacy' finding.

So what to do?

The first venue of counter-attack is to use both the logic of the ruling and follow it through to conclusion, much like the Left does painting all smoking as habitual and lethal which is a reductio ad absurdum so the Right will be on firmer ground because it uses the purely logical approach to the law.

The second venue is regulation and it dovetails with the first.

I have outlined this in The Limits of Our Creation as a logical point and will expand upon that here. First things first is the going over of what should be done with the decision at the State and local levels by following the natural logic of 'viability' to its conclusion, and I will draw upon my previous verbiage here:

In looking at Freedoms, Rights and the People I started looking at the actual framework of the issues involved and then a whole lot more in When do your rights start? Now in this I do *not* try to figure out when someone is or is not a human but *when* there is a passing point *into* Citizenship. Now why did I do that? Because it is imperfect, of course! Far, far less than ideal but... it does head towards the common ideal of Citizenship and upholding all rights and all responsibilities. Citizenship is a damned important thing in this Nation and the Supreme Court has created a two-tier system of 'Due Process' that actually violates the outlook of the Constitution for one form of justice for All of the People. Here is what it boils down to:

1) The SCOTUS has put a 'viability test' on when an abortion may be performed,

2) What does 'viability' measure? It measures the ability to be sustained outside of the mother or host.

3) What happens when an Individual is outside the mother or host and sustainable? They are 'born'.

4) Being born of Citizens of the United States within a State of the United States or within limits set externally by Congress for such things under its Immigration and Naturalization powers makes one a Citizen.

Short, sweet and to the point: viability is a measure of Citizenship.

Thus when a fetus is 'viable' it is a citizen as it has passed that threshold (totally and absolutely temporal, bound in the material world) in which the life can be sustained without a direct umbilical cord attachment to the mother or host and can then develop normally outside of that host. At that point the full citizenship rights are with the fetus as it now gets absolute and full legal protection including the right to privacy and safe conduct within its host or via secondary means at a cost to the State or via designated charities willing to do this work.

To be clear: abortion when a fetus reaches 'viability' is murder, not manslaughter. All involved to make that happen are conspiring to commit murder. That means the 'patient', doctors, people who review tests and procedures, their clinic and its leaders... get where this is going? The only way this could ever drop to manslaughter is via ambivalent evidence, which means that all involved did NOT get enough evidence to prove the fetus was NOT viable. If States can start turning this into manslaughter on principled grounds, then more power to them. The long-standing traditions of 'quickening' being the first sign of life and birth being a major event, however, cuts both ways, which is why we have 'viability' language in the SCOTUS decision.

Citizenship is conferred from birth via States, not the federal government. You are born in a State that is part of the United States, not the other way around as the State is the one that did the joining to the Nation, not the Nation absorbing the State via conquest. That's why the birth certificate deal is such a big thing: it demonstrates you are a citizen by birth, not naturalization nor immigration which are federal areas. Via Amendments IX and X the ability to confer citizenship via birth rests with the States and the people as the un-enumerated powers they reserve for themselves.

From this the first venue of attack outside of the primary holding the line is: push States to adopt viability language for the conferring of full citizenship rights and protections to fetuses, adapted so that as the state of the art improves in embryology and pre-natal care, that viability line can move down with those advances.

The second venue of attack via regulation is more numerous but has an immediate dovetail to the first outcome. The other method of determining the viability of a fetus comes from impregnation. This centers around the act known as sexual intercourse. These acts have dates and times when they happen, plus places and individuals involved. The second way to determine viability is to have individuals responsibly know who they have had sex with and when that happened. If a woman or host wants an abortion, the record keeping puts down hard lines of development of a fetus by a given point. Simple exams including ultrasound can determine if these dates jibe with the given development phase of the fetus. Multiple sex acts will give a range of time, yes, but the establishment of minimums and maximums for fetal development will help to determine viability questions much faster.

How is viability determined? My guess is the regulatory language would include three independent reports on the status of the fetus from unconnected physicians and labs. One might be a State organization (Health Dept. perhaps). Further the doctors and clinic involved in the abortion must review and sign-off on all of those reports within a given period. In all cases the abortion MUST happen before viability is reached and ALL leeway is given to the fetus as the arts and methods of determining fetal development will always have a ragged edge to them. Finally the fetal remains are sent for an autopsy at the cost of the patient and clinic to confirm viability status and get genetic material so that in case there is any question the father can be identified if not done so already.

What else can be done via regulation?

Mandatory 'snap' and unannounced inspections of the premises of clinics to ensure that they are up to all hospital standards for the patients and procedures involved. In the Gosnell case it has been revealed that beauty salons get more oversight than do abortion clinics. Why anyone on the Right has let this go un-addressed is beyond me. Bringing the full panoply of inspections, licensing, certification, re-upping these things, making sure staff are up to snuff, clean and sanitary working conditions... all of this will start to winnow out the abortion providers by putting a barrier of entry into the market by making it more costly to run such an establishment along the exact, same lines as a hospital. No one, in their right mind, can argue against this.

With State and local health departments on tap for determining viability, there is also the question of knowing the patient's age, which must be taken into account. To date clinics and doctors involved with this procedure, a medically invasive one by design, have been given shelter from this. By putting a State based citizenship concern into play, that will now end as the health and welfare of all involved in abortion procedures falls into the State venue. Statutory rape is still rape and no amount of 'consent' or 'privacy' should ever enter into this question as the law is clear. States can and do vary on age of consent, and if those supporting under-age abortions are so hot on the topic, they should be forced to argue for pushing the age of consent down. Clinics that hide such material are in a conspiracy to do so, and a conspiracy to cover up statutory rape should have some rather harsh penalties added on to it.

Schools should be covered on the conspiracy to aid and abet statutory rape language when they hand out condoms or otherwise 'help' in the reproductive situation of minors under their care for the school day. Thus no distribution of condoms or other prophylactics to those under the age of consent, otherwise the discovery process that illuminates such help places those doing the distributing in that conspiracy category: nurses, schools staff, school principals, and even the school board for not properly doing mandatory oversight of such distribution programs. Negligence of children under the care of local governments is less acceptable than that of abortion clinics. Education is one thing, encouraging, aiding and abetting is something entirely different.

These simple ways of addressing abortion start creating the inroads to changing the social attitude about it.

First they will be a defined procedure with safeguards and costs involved. This will drive home that an abortion is not something done on a whimsy or as an alternative form of 'birth control' but something that is destructive, invasive and has risks attendant to it. This is done through State and local regulation, but requires an attitude change to remind people that there is no such thing as a free lunch in the medical community. Also put abortion clinics under all malpractice law... if you want to see tort reform and limitations on pay-outs, putting these people under those venues will start that off, nicely.

Second making adults responsible for their sexual activities puts a different light on those activities after the 'sexual revolution'. That revolution did not withdraw the laws of biology, only changed a few circumstances, and the social implications of using 'sexual liberty' unwisely should have costs involved with it as well as fun. By putting the accountability back into sexual activity starting with abortion, the entire climate of what is and is not acceptable for society comes into play, and it is an area that the Left has had on their own for far too long. Teen pregnancies, single parent households, and absent fathers is an outcome of 'sexual liberty' without any accountability... and do note that with fathers also having to keep track of who they have sex with as a back-up source plus genetic testing, they are as on hook for the outcome of an abortion as much as the mother or host. This one is part of personal practice, but can be backed by regulation so it is made a part of regular expectations of those seeking abortions.

Third the venues for getting 'viability' sooner are huge. Investment in better pre-natal care, better embryology, better technology and techniques to sustain life outside the womb or transfer a fetus to an alternative host offer many and vital ways to push ever further back the time of 'viability' closer and closer to conception. This will have many side-benefits of children born healthier and with diseases and disorders addressed in the womb to remove birth defects or other systemic disorders and try to address them before they can happen. With the knowledge we have garnered from adult stem cell use, we can examine fetal development and seek to address auto-immune disorders before they happen and correct other genetic deficiencies long, long before birth. The energy into holding the line on life beginning at conception also means we see great value in the first few weeks and months after conception and are willing to invest in charities and for-profit institutions to research this critical time of development. These are important areas as they will also begin to close off the other reasons for abortions: genetic disorders, systemic diseases and other problems that would either kill the fetus or create life limiting conditions after birth. This can be done through existing funds, charities and corporations, or creating new ones specifically devoted to these issues.

Fourth is a follow-on to the third and that is the slow removal of the need for IVF clinics by addressing fertility problems via other biological means. If the 'pro-life' movement is serious about life beginning at conception, then the 'murder mills' are the IVF clinics that can autoclave thousands of fertilized ovum in a few hours as their clients no longer need them. In an hour or so of time more in the way of potential life can be removed from the board at an IVF clinic than at an abortion clinic in a year. Or longer. As we cherish life I can see why IVF clinics get a pass from the 'pro-life' crowd... but by their own logic they should be major targets in this battle, as well. For a principled way of looking at things, not addressing this is an opening to being blind-sided and must be closed off.

What this comes down to is a thorough re-working of the 'pro-life' agenda to expand it and make it pro-development and pro-health with both of those being proactive concerns from the need to remove the horrors of abortion. When the major excuses and reasons NOT to follow the SCOTUS decision are removed and the decision enforced, in full, with the full regulatory authority of States and localities, the issue of 'privacy' for those of the age of consent can be maintained while the custodial accountability (particularly of courts stepping in with children against abusive parents in this venue) can be sustained. By putting the courts on hook for their decision about minors and families in the way of judges stepping in, those judges then become accountable actors in the abortion situation and should be addressed and treated as such.

This issue of what life is cannot be driven solely by emotion, because that leads to yelling, screaming, threats and even violence. By adding reason (even to an unreasonable decision) the outcomes of reason can be created to temper our emotions and harden them into concrete steps to take so as to make a better society via our actions. If this route had been taken in the years immediately after Roe v. Wade we would see far fewer abortions, greater advances in pre-natal care and technology, and the pushing back of viability closer and closer to conception so that abortions are slowly wrung out of the system across the board in all forms. Instead the principled Conservatives let the Left choose the emotional battleground and agreed to fight on that ground, and start losing and ceding vast swaths of society to the Left based on purely emotional fights.

Now that the sentiment of society is turning, that sentiment must not be lost and must be given avenues of concrete and substantive action to take so as to advance this cause. It will also mean a personal willingness to understand that you, as an individual, actually are responsible for your sexual activities and accountable for them in all instances. That has been a vital battleground that must be taken back to firm up society into one that is life supporting and tolerates as little in the way of abortions as possible and is attempting to remove the need for them through technology, techniques, principled empowerment of understanding the vitality of life and the best route of putting your money where your principles are at. If those principles are right and good, then investing in them in concrete terms will yield a better society and better future.

When you do that you then have a reasoned and passionate approach, tempered to a hard core that will convince others that this is a worthwhile way to live and sustain society. Don't just protest: have the portfolio of investments and means to sustain your argument with you and the rationale for doing so. For any argument won purely on emotion can be lost just as easily to more emotion, and that is not the way to build society. The principle is excellent, but the execution has been on the ground of the enemy's choosing and it is time to stop doing that and choose a different set of venues and weapons to go with. Stop fighting defensively and go on the offensive in ways that cannot be countered easily.

Put down the placards, start in with the emails and phone calls, and get organized in your locale to pick up the vital concerns of regulating and putting in place the safeguards for life that are currently taken for granted and, thusly, not there. This means working at the State and local level to address issues close to you and find those willing to help you organize beyond your location and come together on this vital concern.

Just like the Tea Parties did.

Moral principles, sustainment of society and using government to enforce the secular requirements of those can build a Nation stronger via the promulgation of those morals from people willing to go all-out in all venues to win the day. The Left has won in many areas because no Conservatives have shown up with the right tools nor prepared the battleground. That can change the moment you change from seeing this as just a principled moral issue and one that goes far and wide beyond just morals and engages everything we do as a people. That means fewer tactics, placards, yelling, screaming, and more engaged debate and backing your moral principles with your time, effort, money and love. Together they will forge something that will not be broken. Right now they are scattered and a number of things left undone that could be done... that does not rest upon me, but upon you.


Renaissance Nerd said...

Simply superb reasoning. I will send a link to this article to everyone I know. Bravo!

A Jacksonian said...

My thanks!

I have worked hard to reason through this issue over the past few years and this is the best I can come up with. As no one else is suggesting these things, that is indicating that no one has thought about nor tried them. I can only point out what some of the basic problems are and how they can be addressed to do things better... the larger fight is not to be forgotten, but the immediate one can lead to a final reversal and better society, both.

That takes hard work and is aimed to create 'a more perfect Union' as well.