Thursday, January 12, 2006


There is one central issue on the mind of every Democrat Senator in the confirmation hearings of Judge Alito: will Ted Kennedy ever shut up?

The confirmation hearings are more about liberal Senators grandstanding than about understanding Judge Alito's judicial philosophy. Kennedy talked for 24 of the 30 minutes allotted to him for the purpose of questioning Alito. Senator Biden went on for 18 minutes before he got to the first question.

These senators have already decided how they are going to vote. They are now just looking to score political points. They hope to do this by forcing Judge Alito to sound evasive, particularly on the question of abortion. But is Judge Alito being evasive when he refuses to say how he would rule in a case involving abortion? A better question is this: would a judge be fair to say how he would rule on a case before hearing both sides of the case argued in court? A judge who did this would rightly be considered prejudiced and unfit to try the case. While politicians can take positions based on their own opinion or what is politically expedient, a judge must decide a case based on the law, and only after hearing arguments from both sides.

That being said, I do think that Judge Alito would vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade. He would not vote that way because of his own personal opinion. He would vote to overturn Roe because it is bad Constitutional law. In 1973, the Supreme Court made a life and death decision which resulted in the deaths of 46 million unborn babies. The Supreme Court came down on the side of death, and they did it based on a "right" made up out of thin air. The Constitution does not include a right to privacy, and depriving 46 million people of their right to life on the basis of a non-existent "right" is a travesty unequalled by our nation since slavery.

Abortion advocates have made many arguments in an attempt to justify abortion. These arguments are based on a "right to choose" and "a woman's right to do what she wants with her body." They claim that abortion is a decision involving a woman and her doctor. But they omit the fact that a third person is involved: the baby. All of the pro-abortion arguments crumble unless the baby can be dehumanized. Certainly no one's right to choose supersedes another person's right to live. A woman's right to her own body does not give her the right to dismember someone else. A decision between a woman and her doctor can not result in some other person being sucked into a sink.

Abortion advocates are forced to resort to arbitrary definitions for who is human and who is not.

The Supreme Court used a trimester system. They said that 179 days after conception, it is a lump of tissue which can be removed, but 181 days after conception it is human and the state has an interest in protecting the life. Why is 180 days the magic number? No reason.

Then there was the viability standard. If the baby is viable, it is human. But viability is determined by the level of technology among many other things. A person's humanity does not vary depending on the level of technology. Thirty years ago, 28 weeks was the limit of viability. Today it is common for babies born at 22 weeks to survive. By their argument, in 1975 a baby at 25 weeks gestation was not human, but today it is.

Others say that it is when the baby is no longer dependent on it mother for survival. As the parent of a teenager, let me tell you that this doesn't happen until age 19 or so. But seriously, a one-year-old is dependent on her parent for care. Leave her alone and she dies. Should killing her be a matter of choice?

Many other attempts have been made to define a point somewhere between conception and birth at which a baby "becomes" human. These tend to focus on the baby's biological or cognitive functions. However, it is not these functions which make us human. People who lose these functions through a medical condition or age are not considered unhuman.

Today abortion is legal up until the moment of birth. Humanness is determined by one's position relative to the birth canal. On this side, you are human, but on that side you are not. It is discrimination based on place of residence. But this doesn't even fit with standard usage. I did an experiment years ago where I approached dozens of obviously pregnant women and asked them "what is in there?" Some told me it was a boy. Others said a girl. Some said that it was a baby. Some even told me the baby's name. Not a single one said that it was a fetus, the product of conception, or a tissue mass. The working definition for an unborn baby's humanity is that it is human if it is wanted.

The only non-arbitrary definition for humanness is that at the moment of conception, a unique, living human comes into existence. She is unique because her DNA is distinct from either parents' and from any other person on earth. And if not human, than what species is she? The state has an obligation to protect the lives of all people, not just the ones who are big and powerful and can speak for themselves.

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