Monday, September 24 , 2018, 12:56 pm | Partly Cloudy 69º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Randy Alcorn: Best Way to Minimize Abortion? Keep Funding Planned Parenthood

The ongoing dispute over abortion intensified when an eavesdropping video revealed that Planned Parenthood routinely sells body parts of aborted fetuses to researchers.

Although the video was strategically and disingenuously edited to present Planned Parenthood as having the callous commercialism of a slaughter house, it has, nonetheless, ignited the smoldering anti-abortion crusaders to demand that Congress defund, and thus maybe destroy, Planned Parenthood.

By far, Planned Parenthood’s main service is providing women with pregnancy prevention and health services. Abortions are the least of the services it provides.

Furthermore, selling fetal tissue for medical research and curative procedures is not a black-market activity and provides tremendous health benefits for millions of people.

Given the modest proceeds of such sales, there is no incentive for women to farm fetuses or for Planned Parenthood to encourage abortion. Otherwise, wouldn’t Planned Parenthood de-emphasize pregnancy prevention in hopes of increasing abortion volume?

The most effective way to prevent abortions is to prevent pregnancies. Why then seek to destroy Planned Parenthood, whose primary purpose is to provide affordable birth-control for all women?

The answer, of course, is that those seeking to destroy Planned Parenthood oppose not only abortion but also all birth control — except abstinence. Therefore, devout pro-life crusaders will reject any rational argument that conflicts with the limited logic of their orthodoxies.

And, unless they are willing to properly raise, educate and provide for every unwanted baby forced to term, pro-life zealots are mostly misguided busybodies who, if successful in defeating birth-control efforts — including abortion — will do far more harm than good.

On the other side of this issue are ardent pro-choice proponents whose defense of a woman’s right to choose abortion can be as intense and irrationally emotional as the sanctimonious crusaders attacking that right.

The most zealous pro-choice folks insist that there can be no restrictions on a women’s right to abort a pregnancy. Their argument is that a woman’s body is hers alone and no authority can dictate whether or when she can end a pregnancy.

This argument isn’t any less unreasonable than that of the dogma-based pro-life crusaders.

Following the ultimate logic of the “it’s my body” argument, it would be OK for a woman to abort her pregnancy any time before the baby breaches her womb, but if she were to kill that baby the moment after it breaches her womb, that would be murder.

So, one second before birth the fetus is a nonhuman thing, but the second it is born, it is a human being?

In a civilized society, personal freedom has limits, especially as it affects the welfare of others. If one has infectious tuberculosis, authorities have the right to quarantine the infected person to protect other people.

Society’s authority can force military service on citizens — effectively taking physical possession of the conscripted citizen, compelling them to be somewhere and do something potentially lethally hazardous.

It may be your body, but you can’t just do anything you want with it — at least not without consequences.

Arriving at reasonable policies concerning abortion, or anything else for that matter, is up to those whose freedom of thought has not been subverted by ideological certainties or incinerated by the heat of emotion.

Life has many vexing, complicated issues, and abortion is certainly one of those. The best any civilized society can do is to arrive at policies that do the most good and the least harm.

Rather than abort reason to resurrect ancient, anachronistic, moralities, or to insist on absolute, irresponsibly selfish, personal freedom, consider a sensible policy on abortion.

Unless the mother’s life is in danger or the fetus is fatally abnormal, is it not reasonable to restrict abortions to the period before a clump of cells becomes a viable human life — typically no earlier than the 22nd week of pregnancy? This is essentially what the U.S. Supreme Court determined in Roe v. Wade when it ruled that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion up until the point the fetus can survive outside the womb.

The human gestation period is nine months. With some valid exceptions, most women know they are pregnant well before the 22nd week of their pregnancy. That is ample time to make a decision whether or not to abort, and not an unreasonable restriction.

Few folks would disagree that abortion is the least preferable birth-control option. Prohibiting that option, however, is as ineffective as prohibitions on drugs or alcohol.

Legal or not, they will never be eliminated, only criminalized and generating all the concomitant cancerous crime, misery and expense of such prohibitions.

Preventing pregnancies is the best way to prevent abortions. Planned Parenthood does far more of that than it does abortions. Continuing to fund Planned Parenthood should be a no-brainer for anyone who wants to minimize abortions.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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