The "A" word.
A knotty problem, to be sure. It is a topic that when fully argued has roots necessarily in philosophies of governmental power/limits, personal freedom/responsibility, protection of privacy, protection of rights both for a legally responsible adult and a legally vulnerable entity that cannot even speak for itself. Others have brought a religious angle in, but as this is a side of the argument that cannot be proven, I choose to leave it out of my discussion and focus more on the philosophical and practical points, relative to governmental power and responsibility.
My libertarian instincts knee-jerk toward the position that no government has the right to tell any woman whether she can be allowed to abort or not. However, that simplistic position is faulty. Our constitution seeks to codify and limit the power of the government in accordance with the Declaration of Independence, namely that we are all endowed with the natural right to LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life -- the first right mentioned. This goes in hand with the premise that among other functions, government is designed to protect the weak and vulnerable. At no time in life will anyone be more weak and vulnerable than in the womb. The libertarian argument is too weak to be consistent with the role our founders already laid out for governmental protection of life.
As a result, IF the government is to be involved at all, it should then be involved in the protection of life and the vulnerable infant still coming into being.
I oppose elective abortion. This does not come from a religious perspective, as I am in no way religious. Science increasingly pushes back the viability factor of prematurely-born infants, which in turn shows the increasing unjustness of abortion as gestation progresses. In late 2005 a pregnancy interrupted as prematurely as nine weeks is able to become a living baby. This is well before the timelines of viability as determined by 1970s technology. As time goes by and science pushes the viability backward, we may very well be able to determine a definite Yes/No point for Life and Personhood. Or not. At any rate, the technological developments of the 20th and 21st centuries have made childbearing a relatively safe endeavor, both for mother and child.
The Choice side works on the libertarian principles that the government does not control a woman's womb, along with some fuzzy math on 'Life Begins At' points of view to make it sound less horrific. Utlimately it is late contraception, a way for women who have been irresponsible with their sex to "get rid of the problem" and to shelter their existing lifestyles from the new reality of pregnancy and childrearing. It is not a new phenomenon. Women have been throwing themselves down stairways and having a friend hit them in the tummy for centuries. But these were the aberrations, and were done in secret. They knew what they were doing was wrong. If abortion is made illegal, there will undoubtedly be back-alley coathanger abortions. Fair enough -- maybe these women will catch an infection and be rendered infertile or even die. If the object is to terminate or prevent future pregnancies, it is certainly effective. But this again will be the aberration, since most women would probably make the proper sexual choices if this is their only option.
Choice: it seems to me and most rational people that the Choice was made when the woman engaged in sex. Whether contraception is used or not, whether the intent is pregnancy or not, we all know that Sex Can Lead To Pregnancy. She took the risk, she ended up pregnant, and now she uses a specious Right to Privacy argument to kill the child she created. As demonstrated above, the woman's right to her body was abbrogated BY HERSELF to the protection of the vulnerable infant inside and that protection must come from the governing authority if necessary.
Looking past all Choice arguments, abortion is murder, plain and simple. In performing an abortion, a woman is utilizing the services of a medically-trained professional to take the life developing in her womb, a life that if left alone would most likely gestate and be born successfully, and extinguish it. Although it is currently impossible to do so, the act is performed with no consultation with the fetus. The issue has become clouded over the years with feminist propaganda, junk science, political cowardice, and the burgeoning profit margin for medical practitioners. In no other instance is anyone allowed to decide that another person is a "problem" and coldly murdered without benefit of due process and trial.
I propose that the issue become what it should be -- a State issue. Roe was a poorly-decided and hamfisted approach to creating law out of whole cloth by an out-of-control activist Supreme Court. It should be subject to judicial review and then thrown out, which then allows each state to set up its own laws pertaining to abortion. Obviously California would have a different set of rules and laws than Kansas, and that is wholly consistent with each state working out the issue as it should -- from the people of each state in referenda.
Within the state debate, my position would be that abortion should not be legal, with the very narrow exception of outstanding circumstances:
1.) Parent mortality: Abortion would be allowed only if carrying the pregnancy to term would verifiably place the mother's life in danger. It would be a good idea to require at least 2 independent confirming physicals (suspended if emergency situation) prior to allowing the abortion. The main philosophical problem here is that in many cases the danger to the mother might not be detected until well into gestation, but if there is a true danger to the mother's life then I believe she has the right to decide to terminate the pregnancy, as her individual survival (right to life) trumps that of the infant.
2.) Rape/incest: While it seems unfair to force the young lady to carry to term, it seems even more unfair to me that the innocent 3rd party to these crimes should deserve to be executed without benefit of trial. If abortion in either of these cases were to be allowed, I would think that it should only occur within the first four weeks, and only in conjunction with a police report for the rape or incest complaint. The Supreme Court decided long ago that executing rapists was unconstitutional; how on earth can it be constitutional to execute the child that the rapist has wrought?
That's it. Pregnant and don't meet either exception? Better plan on the next 9 months being uncomfortable and then deciding to keep or adopt. Or go to Mexico. Maybe next time think about personal responsibility more when engaging in a act designed to create offspring.
Where does life begin? I don't know. Neither do you. We have our opinions, which may or may not agree. Ultimately to legally deny the life of another, an innocent, without due process, is clearly not in the intent of our Founding Fathers. To argue otherwise is to show a disconcerting lack of knowledge in the various philosophies of government, personal responsibility, and morality. One need not be a Religious Nut to be against murder, right?