Back Alley Abortions and Polygamy, too!

Back Alley Abortions and Polygamy, too!

Writer note:  This is the summary of the arguments made over the past two weeks on family, slippery slope and where we go from here.

I will begin with the Kermit Gosnell case and as I noted in a previous piece, it was not a far jump from abortion to infanticide.  It should be understood that what Gosnell did was in part because  a complicit administration in Pennsylvania allowed Gosnell to stay in business; even though there were plenty of warnings that infanticide was happening and women lives were at stake.  (I will point out that many pro-choice activists are as horrified by what has happened as many pro-lifers.)


Some pro-choice advocates like Cosmopolitan’s Anna Breslaw blamed pro-lifers as she wrote, “Anti-choice politicians who are now acting outraged about Gosnell need to realize that their legislature is primarily to blame for these tragedies. … Until they’ve taken responsibility for the fact that women will continue to seek out abortions regardless of increasingly strict legislative restrictions, you can bet that the Gosnell case won’t be the last of its kind.”  This is balderdash.  What regulations are we talking about?  While Pennsylvania has laws restricting abortions post 24 weeks, this law was unenforced in the Gosnell case, and any safety concerns brushed under the rug.  As Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto observed, the Gosnell case shows that back alley abortions still happens and makes a lie to one of Pro-choice defense of legalized abortion.  (A couple of decades ago, a friend of mine observed that after Roe v Wade, many back alley abortionists simple continued their trade, only now it was legal.)  The Gosnell Grand Jury report noted, “After 1993, even that pro forma effort came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui, although there had been plenty.  Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all.  The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro.  With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.  Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay”   Gosnell was protected by government agencies that allowed their pro-choice ideology not to enforce the laws on the book.  


As I noted in a past piece, the slippery slope from abortion to infanticide is not a far reach and there are already ethicist who are already calling for the right of abortion extended to children already born.  Many of Gosnell’s abortions were conducted in the second and third trimesters as New York Daily writer Bill Hammond observed, “What’s missing from the debate is the perspective shared by the vast majority of Americans. According to polls, they overwhelmingly believe abortion should be legal during the first trimester, but get increasingly squeamish as the gestating fetus comes closer to being a baby.”  The problem with the abortion debate, we forget that we are dealing with two lives occupying the same geography and maybe it is time for debate the question, under what circumstance does the unborn child life takes precedence and under what circumstance does the mother’s right takes precedence?  While many can agree on when a mother rights takes precedence and as Mr. Hammond noted, that most Americans would at least accept some limitation on abortion.  What Gosnell case does is to remind us that there are two lives involved and somewhere society is going to have to accept that there limits to a woman right to choose.    

For those who doubt that same sex marriage will lead to other arrangements becoming legal as result of the same-sex marriage debate,  Jillian Keenan, a supporter of polygamy in the Huffington Post, wrote, “While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage.  We need to legalize polygamy, too.  Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice.  More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families. . . . The definition of marriage is plastic.  Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less ‘correct’ than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults.”  I have already made the case that the reason we don’t see polygamy is that there are serious consequences for society and the article does point out the problems which the author minimize like many men using polygamy to marry underage women and the expulsion of many young men from many of these communities to fend for themselves.  The expulsion of these young men is due to competition for younger females they offer to older men.    And I noted in a previous article, the negative impact of a polygamist society upon women and younger men. 


Final thought is that there is no “constitutional right for same-sex to marry” and in reverse, there is no constitution obstacle for society to approve same-sex marriage.  To say that the possibility of same sex marriage will not lead to polygamy is put one head in the sand as there is already a movement to legalize polygamy and one of its leaders is Jonathan Turley, a leading constitution scholar.  There are many conservatives who believe there is a case for same-sex marriage as evidence by the fact Ted Olson, a leading conservative constitution scholar, has taken the lead in making the argument in front of the Supreme Court.  But should Society tolerate polygamy as well or other sexual conducts now considered taboo?

What is missing from this debate is what will be the overall effects upon society.  In a previous column I observed that a two parent household family is superior in every way to single parent households and yes, a multiple household.  Now whether a same-sex couple would produce similar results as a two parent household of a Mom and Dad is question that is being asked and explored.  As I wrote and noted repeatedly, this is not an argument for or against same-sex marriage but there is solid arguments that not every family arrangements are good for society.  If the Courts allow the decision back to the states, if will be a mess but a mess is better than having same-sex marriage imposed by the Court.  As we found out about abortion, we saw a policy imposed from above with no hope of reversing or making adjustments without reversing Roe v Wade.  (Note, reversing Roe v Wade doesn’t outlaw abortion since most states would pass laws allowing abortions but they would be restrictions; restrictions that most of society can live with.)  Ted Olson argued in front of the Supreme Court, societal evolution culture has changed the meaning the 14th amendment but as National Review argued, “But that change can be and has been expressed the votes of citizens and legislators.”

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