Thursday, May 26, 2011

Abortion Debate

This is probably the single most divisive issue in our political realm today. The unique aspect surrounding abortion is that is primarily a moral or ethical issue rather than a political, economic, or social one. The people who support abortion and those who don't are not broken cleanly on party lines as with other issues. The debate has, until recently, been put to rest by the compromise that keeps federal money from being used to fund abortions in exchange for the freedom of women to choose an abortion when they feel it is right for them.

In the past few years, however, this compromise has been dropped by those on the Right who are now pushing for tough sanctions, bans, and criminalization of abortion state- or nation-wide. It's a symptom of the new conservative movement, led by individuals who have been listening to GOP talking points so long that they honestly believe them and are willing to take a stand on the issues that the conservative party has built its base around.

In the case of abortion, the continued legal status of the procedure meant that the conservatives could appeal to the religious "right" that disagreed with it, thus strengthening their voter base. By doing this, and then not passing legislation to ban or limit abortions, GOPers kept their base strengthened and their votes from one election cycle to the next. In the new conservative world, this is no longer acceptable. Conservatives are expected to not only speak along the party lines, but get results on what they preach as well. This has resulted in a recent rush of abortion limitations being passed all over the country.

These steps being taken across the country have systematically dismantled a long-standing health safety net for women in America. Many states now require women to go through special screening processes, pay for their abortions out of pocket, and have voted to defund organizations such as Planned Parenthood (despite the law that says such organizations cannot use those funds for abortion services). The results of all of this has been that women are now in a very precarious situation. Their innate right to dictate what happens to and within their own bodies is being taken away because someone else's morals do not believe in what they have a right to do.

Personally, I am pro-life, but I would never, NEVER, support legislation that would limit the rights of another individual because my personal beliefs are not supported. By destroying the safe havens for abortions that exist in our country, we are bringing ourselves back to a point where women who need or want an abortion must go through dangerous and illegal avenues to attain one. How is this meant to foster a healthy, happy society of people with mutual respect for each others diverse beliefs and opinions?

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