Abortion Debate? Let’s cut it out…

The terribly insensitive title was a bit attention seeking I’ll admit, but it speaks to this notion that abortion is still a divisive issue for so many people and it’s frustrating amid a spectrum of social problems that require much of the activism and discourse that is wasted on what I feel to be a open and closed issue. Let’s simply and quickly breakdown the debate from the three most popular perspectives and I’ll add one caveat at the end.

Not a solution to unsafe sex-This idea that men and women actually consider the relative “ease” of “taking care of” the potential result of their subsequent sexual encounter before they engage in intercourse is quite hilarious. No one reaches the critical moment of decision and is comforted by the possibility that an abortion will solve the dilemma that having sex might bring about. So, why do we punish young women by arguing, “Hey you should have thought of this before. You don’t get an easy way out.” Well, we are past that point if she is already pregnant and we know that outlawing abortion would not act as a deterrent so therefore, that argument of “It shouldn’t be an option to erase a mistake” is unfounded because it’s not viewed as an option before the mistake is made, it’s viewed as a choice (a very difficult one) for someone who is already pregnant. Abortion is not an easy way out, it’s not a time machine that transports someone back to before their moment of conception, nor is it murder.

Religious Argument (God’s plan)-If it is murder, so is masturbation, sodomy, oral sex, homosexuality, wet dreams, protected sex, birth control…All of the potential sperm involved in those instances are being preemptively restricted from “babymaking” it’s just cutting out the middle man.  The idea that God treats conception differently because it’s “meant to be” and therefore that fetus is immediately a person means that every person who uses in vitro fertilization, a surrogate, or adopts a child is defying God’s plan because if he wanted them to have kids then he wouldn’t have forced them to be in their childless predicaments in the first place. I mean Jesus Christ, Mary and Joseph didn’t have sex (or so they told the town) and they had the son of God so he can make that stuff happen if he wants it to right? That fetus is a result of sperm fertilizing an egg, not some divine intervention.

Roe v Wade reversal-This is a popular harping point for a lot of right wingers. It’s funny, if you actually study politics you’d realize that the reversal of Roe v Wade would be incredibly detrimental to the conservative base. As it stands now, it is a rallying cry that segues into family values, religious traditionalism, and us v them galvanization that resulted from the Culture Wars of the 1970’s and 1980’s which catapulted Reagan into the Presidency. The idea being, find what people perceive to be integral to their lifestyle among a certain homogeneous base (the South in this case) and latch on to an event or decision (Roe v Wade) that exemplifies the heavy hand of the government telling that base that their way of life was inferior or that the government knew better. The republicans rode the coattails of the Culture Wars to win three consecutive elections from 1980-1992 and their next two term representative in the Oval Office was George W. Bush who ran a campaign based on? You guessed it, family values and liberty with an emphasis on religious freedom. Any republican who wishes to reverse Roe v. Wade is suggesting opposition to the true party line which benefits greatly from using that decision and this issue to further their propagandized mission to convince “the real America” that their religious and family values are antithetical to the aims of a left winged Federal government. Sorry, but it’s all bullshit.

Furthermore, the idea that Roe v Wade is recycled as a point of contention to rally the conservative troops around the “core” issues explains why people have such a visceral reaction. It’s programmed. Pro life is just a response born out of fear and fear-mongering in this case. It is a convenient argumentative position that directly opposes the pro-choice (which actually speaks more towards liberty and freedom despite the party connotations) movement while giving religious backing in order to degrade and judge women who choose to do what’s best for their bodies and their lives. I contend that we shouldn’t care as much as we do and I’ve outlined the reasons why so many think they should but few actually sit down and think about it. If you would, you’d be like me and you’d just want everyone to cut it out. Simply put, I do not feel I deserve the power to tell someone what they can and cannot do with their body. I have no right nor do I have a place. God has nothing to do with this and legally there could be few more restrictive laws than one that would outlaw abortion (which will never happen). So, can we just give up and focus on things that matter? People protest, they drive vans with obscene images of dead fetuses, they hound young women who enter abortion clinics and tell them that they are scum. For what? Where is your right? And don’t say, what about the baby’s right to life? Well, again, life is a result of a sperm and an egg so unless you advocate that every sperm is sacred you have no basis there. Let’s cut it out, protect our rights, and fix real social problems.

Seeing the Positive in the Government Shutdown

Generally, there are few things good about when the United States government shuts down. Which, in case you were wondering, it has a total of 18 times since 1976, although it has not since the Clinton administration in the winter of 1995-96. In fact, during the Reagan presidency, the government shut down on eight different occasions, averaging out to every single year that Ronald Reagan was in office. The list of negative aspects of the government shutting down is rather lengthy. To give you an idea, over 800,000 government employees have been furloughed without pay, while another 1.3 million “essential” employees remain at work without pay. The list of agencies that are either closed or have 80% (or more) of their employees furloughed for the time being are as follows:

American Battle Monuments Commission

Department of Commerce

Department of Education

Department of Energy

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of the Interior

Department of Labor

Environmental Protection Agency

Federal Communications Commission

Internal Revenue Service

Others not expressly mentioned include the Smithsonian Institution, National Holocaust Museum, the National Archives, and the United States Institution of Peace.

It is estimated that a shutdown of three to four weeks will cost the nation around $55 billion, including $1 billion in lost wages per week. 700,000 jobs in the DC area would be affected, at the cost of $200 million a day. So far, the it seems like everything is a negative, and you find yourself asking two questions. Why is the government allowed to shut down, and what positives could there possibly be in this scenario?

The simple answer to the first question is that the United States government (Congress and the President in this case) failed to pass a budget or a continuing resolution for the 2014 fiscal year. This means that because no budget has been passed, in order to save money all discretionary services deemed “non-essential” to the Antideficiency Act (ADA) have currently been suspended. The Antideficiency Act in short “is legislation enacted by the United States Congress to prevent the incurring of obligations or the making of expenditures (outlays) in excess of amounts available in appropriations or funds.” All you need to know is, if Congress doesn’t have a plan on how to spend money, they are not allowed to spend money on all personnel and agencies that are not essential for the running of a nation. (On a side note, I think my favorite part of deeming things “essential” or “non-essential” is how unaffected the Department of Defense is in all of this. Not only do they possess an exorbitant percentage of available funds, but the vast majority of military interests are deemed “essential” to the everyday well-being of the nation. As opposed to, 68% of the CDC employees being furloughed. Riiiiiiight.)

The second part of the answer to the first question, is why did the government shut down this time? Typically it involves the disagreement of opposite parties holding majorities in either the Presidency or each house of Congress, but this time it mostly boils down to one man.

John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House, is mostly to blame for this shutdown. President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its impact on 2014 is the subject of disagreement. This is where we start reaching the positives of the shutdown. Speaker Boehner has not allowed a House vote to develop a continuing resolution to debate the budget, which directly led to the shutdown. It was believed that enough House Republicans had allied themselves with House Democrats to pass a resolution, but Mr. Boehner would not even allow such a vote to reach the floor. This means that this is his last-ditch effort to try to abort PPACA for reasons rather unknown. He’s simply out of options, and will not let the Democrats or POTUS get their way. What’s so wrong with the Affordable Care Act then, you might ask?

The primary aims of the PPACA are to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reduce the costs of healthcare for the individual and government. The main opposition is that under an employer mandate to either provide employees with healthcare or face a monetary penalty, that business creation and small businesses will suffer because they cannot afford such costs. The worry is that this will further stymie the economy by closing small businesses and discourage entrepreneurs from starting businesses because of the cost. And honestly, I say “so what?”.

Contrary to the rumors you may have heard, Congress is not exempt from PPACA nor are illegal aliens covered. Which means the only issue is the effect that it may have on the economy, and the irrational fear of “Big Brother” state-run socialist programs. As far as the economy goes, adding a policy that is meant to protect the people could very well hinder economic growth, but it is completely worth it. Even without Obamacare, the economy was in the toilet, which means that there are many, many, more contributing factors to its poor state that should be fixed first. Whatever factor you might cite, they are all things that should be fixed before Obamacare is even thought about being repealed or revised, because at its very core the idea of PPACA is the very responsibility of a body of government; to protect and facilitate the well-being of its people. Projections show that the new healthcare plan will provide care for 32 million more people. 32 million lives will be provided for when PPACA reaches mature form.

What’s the price you can put on 32 million lives? The cost of one’s small business, or the forfeiture of someones “American Dream”? Is it worth it, in a first world country, to put aside your dreams and aspirations for the benefit of others who may not even deserve it? I say that it is. I’m reminded of what Jesus Christ said in the book of Matthew. “Truly, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Is it fair that you may have to give up your dream job, or dream house, or nice car so that someone can have health care after attempting to commit suicide, or overdosing on illegal drugs? I don’t think it is, but it all boils down to the argument that your parents used to make, or you as a parent continually make. “Life’s not fair.” And I think, that as a populace, if life isn’t going to be fair for us for the sake of another life, it should be worth it.

So what’s the positive aspect? That the Tea Party Republicans and Mr. Boehner are out of options, and that PPACA is bound to pass sooner or later, which will save lives at the cost of the affluence of some citizens. Is PPACA perfect? Probably not. Is the government perfect? Definitely not. But I believe that this reformation’s primary aim is to save lives and provide equal medical protection for all citizens of the United States of America. And that’s a right that no government shutdown should ever be allowed to stop.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, the shutdown gives us good memes like this. Positive #2 in my mind.