But the history of the American abortion debate extends back farther than the s, to different times and political circumstances that even baby boomers are unlikely to recall. This history is the subject of a new book by Daniel K. Williams, associate professor of history at the University of West Georgia. In his Defenders of the Unborn:
The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You'd think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition.
Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder.
The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions.
Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences.
Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both.
Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical.
If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us--we're trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.
In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what's behind the opposing arguments. This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.
And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives?
Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human? Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held--especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions--that there are only two: In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere.
And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder.
Both names--pro-choice and pro-life--were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.
Let's consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There 's good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound--including music, but especially its mother's voice.
It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It's hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth.
Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?THE SPIKE.
It was late-afternoon. Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open.
We were too tired to talk much. IN WATCHING the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history. History of Israel; Ancient Israel and Judah; Natufian culture; Prehistory; Canaan; Israelites; United monarchy; Northern Kingdom; Kingdom of Judah; Babylonian rule; Second Temple period ( BCE–70 CE); Persian rule.
Jul 07, · Although slavery of African-Americans in the United States has been abolished for many years now, the psychological and emotional stresses have been placed upon African-Americans who still struggle to deal with the trauma of slavery.
IN WATCHING the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history. Of the silent trilogy, Earth () is Dovzhenko’s most accessible film but, perhaps for these same reasons, most misunderstood.
In a Brussels’ film jury would vote Earth as one of the great films of all time. Earth marks a threshold in Dovzhenko’s career emblematic of a turning point in the Ukrainian cultural and political avant-garde - the end of one period and transition to another.