Friday, July 15, 2005

It's the stem cells. I hear their cries.

If you haven't read it already, check out this Doonesbury comic from last Sunday.

Stem cells hold much promise for many treatments for debilitating diseases, and our country is falling behind in stem cell research. Even if other kinds of stem cells which "don't involve the destruction of an embryo" might be possible, it is ludicrous to categorically rule out stem cell research before it is actually known what is possible.

So many Congressmen who know virtually nothing about a topic think they can talk for hours about morality and ethics and what's good for people. How hypocritical can these people get? "I respect life," they say, " and we must build a culture of life!" Of course by that they mean "We must end abortion! We must protect the life of embryos!" Yet these same people seem to have no qualms with throwing away the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of non-Americans in a war we've been duped into and which has subsequently been bungled so badly. What about their lives? Shouldn't a "culture of life" also mean a "culture of peace"?

There was absolutely no reason we had to go into Iraq when we did. Iraq had little to no connection with al Qaida, unlike Afghanistan, or with 9/11, much less than, say, Saudi Arabia. And we know that Iraq wasn't necessary and was pushed for no other reason than to get rid of Saddam, even though he posed no real threat to us or almost anyone, from leaked documents such as the Downing Street Memo, among other things. Explore that website to find out what it's all about, and tell me you see nothing wrong with it, especially with the changing rhetoric the administration was using. Going to war with Iraq has resulted in a damaged economy at home, instability in the Middle East, and a new training ground and more reasons extremist leaders can give to gain converts to terrorists organizations. All the money we're now spending in Iraq could be going to many better pursuits.

But speaking of abortion, anyone who considers themselves "pro-life" must realize that a full-out ban of abortion will not work. All such a thing would achieve is to push desperate women to illegal clinics or to attempt to perform abortion themselves. This would lead to a very dangerous situation for these women, and for pro-lifers to be taken seriously, they must want to protect these women at least as much as their fetuses.

The goal of pro-lifers should be to reduce the number of abortions, and any pro-choice supporter should recognize this as a noble and ideal goal. To do this, however, not only should options such as adoption be promoted, birth control must be promoted as well. Unfortunately, many pro-lifers also fall on the side of abstinence-only education, which, it is shown, doesn't work effectively enough to protect people when they finally do have sex, even though it is effective in delaying a person's first time. This is why comprehensive sex-ed, emphasizing abstinence but including birth control, is a much better idea. But many pro-lifers basically want to force abstinence on people and then want to punish them for having sex by forcing them to give birth. This is a sad worldview, and it won't help pro-lifers achieve their goal of reducing the number of abortions.

And again, I'll express my believe that that's a goal my fellow pro-choicers should aim for as well. We must make abortion a rare last-choice procedure, and to cultivate that as a common view in our society, promoting birth control and informing about adoption. It should be the woman's choice, but we need to decrease the chances that a woman should have to make that choice, and to let her know, without pushing one or the other, of other choices she has.


  1. I absolutely agree with you. This is terrible, I never agree with anybody about anything! Oh my God, the world is going mad! Everything I've ever know to be true is turning upside down! I'm going to go make sure my kitchen sink still doesn't have the ability to speak...

  2. Hi if you ever see this.
    As a pro-lifer (but not a fundie, mind you) I feel that abortion as a form of birth control is wrong. However, if there are legitimate medical reasons - i.e. if the pregnancy is life-threatening to the mother, and possibly the child as well - I would support that woman's decision to terminate the pregnancy. To that end, hospitals, not clinics, should have facilities for these cases. I took a public school health class and we never touched the subject of sex, much less abstinence or birth control. I know there was at least one girl in there who had a daughter. Tax dollars at work...