My dog, my choice?

“My body, my choice” is a favorite slogan of abortion advocates. It’s thin gruel.

To the extent this slogan is an analysis and not just a chant, it assumes the conclusion. It assumes that a fetus anywhere from hours old to nearly born is simply owned in a legal property sense by the mother in whom it resides.

But that’s the whole question, right? That question is not answered by just determining the location of the fetus. If it were, then a mother wrapping her arms around her baby or toddler or husband could make the same argument; “My body, my choice.” Or could leave a toddler outside the house overnight with the argument, “My house, my choice.”

In other areas of law, philosophy, religion and morality, we don’t subordinate the rights of living creatures to legal property interests. The left’s sudden libertarian argument that it can do whatever it wants with whatever it owns seems not to apply in such things as building codes that require carbon monoxide detectors in “my” house. Or laws against indecent exposure of “my” body. Or noise ordinances against “my” stereo. Or laws against me ending “my” life. Or laws requiring me to wear a seat belt in “my” car.

So, what about “My house, my body, my stereo, my life, my car . . . my choice”?

You may reply that in those examples, there’s a societal interest countervailing the individual interest. We don’t want people to have to see your naughty bits, or hear your noise, or breathe your car’s emissions. But what about the laws requiring carbon monoxide detectors in my house? And what about the laws requiring me to wear a seat belt? And laws prohibiting me from ending my life? It’s hard to argue that society has a direct interest in those things.

Here’s another example. Suppose a person buys a dog. Unlike a soon-to-be-born baby, the dog is indisputably owned by its owner. The dog is legally the owner’s property.

Suppose further that the dog owner decides when the puppy is about eight months old that he doesn’t want a dog after all. It’s too much effort, too expensive, too constraining, too interfering with the owner’s dating life, and too limiting on the travel that’s necessary for the owner’s career.

Note that there’s an alternative for a dog owner who changes his mind. He can bring the dog to the animal shelter where another person can adopt it.

Should the owner be allowed instead to slice and dice the dog with a machete and vacuum up the pieces, as we do with a fetus in a dilatation and extraction abortion?

After all, my dog, my choice. And after all, a dog is not a human being, is it?

No, we don’t allow that, and we shouldn’t. The reason we don’t allow that is that we’re not barbarians. We don’t have public executions either.

So, the abortion-on-demand crowd is left with the position that dogs have more right to life than 8-month-old unborn babies. Really?

There’s ownership and there’s ownership. What you “own” is not determinative of what you’re allowed to do with it. Society has a legitimate interest in regulating activities that lessen us as a culture.

After that little rant, you might assume I’m an abortion abolitionist. I’m not. I see it as the most difficult political/social/moral/legal issue of our time. I firmly believe the Supreme Court was right in deciding in an exercise of judicial modesty that it’s not a decision for them but for the people. As one of those people, I would favor state legislation that bars abortion in most instances after 15 weeks, as they do in most of Europe and all of Mississippi, but not before.

In that, I think I’m balancing legitimate and even a few illegitimate interests of a mother against legitimate interests of society and legitimate interests of the living creature within her womb. I recognize that others may reach a different balance. That’s why this is a decision for the people, not the judges.

It’s complicated. Saying that a fertilized egg is a human being like you and me that is entitled to all the protections of one, and so “abortion is murder,” does no more to illuminate the discussion than saying “My body, my choice.” Let’s get beyond sloganeering.

“F*** Clarence Thomas” is a lousy argument for abortion on demand

After the Supreme Court’s decision saying that abortion is a matter for state legislatures to sort out, and not something addressed by the Constitution, as I predicted many months ago, the hard-left mayor of Chicago in a public speech spat “f*** Clarence Thomas!” (Devoid of any self-awareness, days later this same Democrat mayor bemoaned the toxicity of current political discussions.)

Note that this is not some bomb-throwing, Antifa/Democrat hoodlum, but is the mayor of one of the biggest cities in America. (OK, I’ll admit that she could be both.)

The mayor didn’t bother to tell us what part of the Constitution guarantees abortion on demand. But, no matter. For saying that none did, “f*** Clarence Thomas.” The mayor’s “analysis” was echoed by many other Democrats including most of their media allies.

Of the six Justices that formed the majority in the abortion case, Justice Thomas was singled out even though he wrote only a concurring opinion and not the opinion of the Court. The left routinely singles him out for special hate because he’s black. The left sees black people who won’t side with them as not just wrong, but uppity and possibly worthy of lynching. Who gave them permission to leave the Democrat plantation?

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The Supreme Court will probably uphold the Mississippi law limiting abortion after 15 weeks

An unborn fetus at 16 weeks

The Supreme Court this week heard oral argument on the Mississippi law that limits abortion after 15 weeks from conception.

As someone who practiced law at the Supreme Court, I listened to the arguments. I think they’ll uphold the Mississippi law. I have a few observations.

Keep in mind that oral argument at the Supreme Court is typically more theater than jurisprudence. The Justices usually already have their minds made up from reading the briefs. But it’s worthwhile theater because it connects the public to the judicial process. Also, it gives some insight into the likely decision which won’t come till next Spring.

My first observation is that much of the public is confused about what the Court is deciding and what it is not. Blame the media for that. Clicks are generated and fires are stoked not by the media presenting cases, but by presenting parades of horrible.

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Do those yard signs signal virtue or stupidity?

On a recent walk, I came across a neighborhood littered with the yard sign in this photo. It seems the provocative platitudes we’ve seen on bumper stickers for a century have now taken root in our yards.

And for the same reason: To tell the world that the sign-planter holds wonderful beliefs that he’s willing to impose upon and attribute to the rest of his family. It’s surely not because the sign-planter thinks he’s persuading anyone of the rightness of his position, as if the neighbors reading the sign will say to themselves, “Gee, ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ is a great point. I’d never thought of it that way.”

OK, people preen. And leftists impose their beliefs on others. It’s what they do. But this one is stupid.

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Fetal Positions

phototake_photo_of_12_week_fetusPlanned Parenthood was recently the subject of a series of undercover videos about selling fetus parts.

It casually conducted some of its negotiations above specimen trays of aborted fetuses. In one video, an employee in a cocktail lounge sipped wine and joked that she wanted Planned Parenthood to make enough money from selling fetus parts to buy a Lamborghini. In another, a former employee described an aborted fetus whose heart was still beating before its brain was extracted through its face and sold.

We naturally turn away from the gruesome videos. But they do raise an important question that we should not turn away from.

The question is: What is a fetus? It’s a hard question that involves science, logic and morality. It concludes with a delicate balance of interests.

Before going further, I’ll stipulate that I have never been pregnant and never will be. Continue reading