I have reached a time in my life where values matter much more than ideology so I am reflecting on issues surrounding the nomination of Catholic conservative,Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court and giving it my own spin
An examination of full-term abortion within the context of the Long Emergency
When I was at university in the early 1970’s in New Zealand the abortion debate was raging. On the one side you had the feminists, who insisted on women’s reproductive rights, liberals, including some of the churches; on the other you had the Catholic church and Patricia Bartlett who was a similar object of scorn and derision Amy Coney Barrett is in the United States.
Back then the argument, as I recall, was whether a foetus of up to 20 weeks was a living being or not and you could (and people did) argue about this until the cows came home.
I never engaged in this argument (I had my own fish to fry) but would have found myself sympathetic to the human rights side of this. Who back then would have wanted to side with Pat Bartlett and the Catholic church?
But wind on 40 years and what do we have?
The Labour government in New Zealand in the weeks before the covid-19 lockdown passed legislation (refusing the suggestion of a referendum) which took abortion and made it a “health issue”.
I would have imagined that such ground-breaking changes to New Zealand’s abortion legislation might have been subject to referendum as the other two issues, euthanasia and cannabis, are.
However, the minister in charge, Andrew Little, responded testily to criticisms and had this to say.
“Ninety-nine point five percent of abortions in New Zealand currently happen within 20 weeks. It’s a very small percentage that happens after that,”
That, it seems to me, is the essence.
When it comes to choosing between the life of a mother and that of a baby that is a heavy moral choice that has consequences and can’t be reduced to a statistic.
In an ethical universe the 0.05% of cases referred to by Little are significant.
Whether it is New Zealand or the United States, the argument from the Left is always very similar. I have been watching as New York introduced legislation “allowing abortions at any time if the mother’s health is at risk”.
The issue is always presented in this way:
This is how it is described in the mainstream:
The first thought that came to mind was was the situation in the last 30-40 years (when some would say we had abortion-on-demand), such that women’s lives have been regularly sacrificed?
That seems to fly in the face of what I understand to be the case.
So, I went to what seems to me to be a considered conservative source.
What struck me was at the very least they made an argument rather than just hectoring and telling us what we should believe.
Late-term abortions are banned in20 states except if the mother’s “health” is deemed at risk by allowing the baby to grow to term. But here’s the catch: “health” includes any physical, emotional, psychological, or familial factors that affect “well-being.” With that ambiguous and wildly broad definition, virtually any woman can have her baby killed at any point in her pregnancy.
Therein lies the rub.
In the past, I am sure, the legislation meant what it said – where the actual physical health of the mother was at risk.
Now, we have two things.
The criteria for those making the decisions have slipped to the extent that health now equates to any factors that affect “well-being”
What was a debate about whether a 20-week-old foetus is alive, feels pain and how the abortion of such as a foetus can be balanced with the needs of the mother has now become abortion at any stage as a right.
What for me was something that was up for debate and was a moral quandary that had to be faced by every single individual involved is now something quite different.
There is no argument in my mind that a 9-month-old foetus that is ready to come into the world is a living being. Any decision to abort a foetus in these circumstances to protect a mother’s physical, emotional, psychological, or familial factors that affect “well-being.” is tantamount to murder.
Then there is the question about all the aborted foetuses that go into making vaccines. Where do they come from and is there a suggestion of a “demand” on the part of Big Pharma for them which might suggest an inbuilt agenda.
The more vaccines out there, the greater the demand for aborted foetuses.
There is no reliable information to be had so I can only speculate.
THE WELFARE STATE
There is another aspect to this – and that is slippage. We often see legislation passed that is couched in terms that seem quite reasonable at the time (and perhaps in the context of the time were) but over time becomes something else.
So, legislation passed 3-40 years ago that was designed to protect the very real interests of women has degraded into something that affects the “wellbeing” of the mother (although it may be couched in terms that hide the reality – as in the comments of Andrew Little); early legislation that allowed the abortion up to a certain stage (done for a real reason) has degraded into abortion, practically on demand, at any stage.
I want to give another example the welfare state.
The early welfare state, as introduced to this country by Michael Joseph Savage in the 1930’s came out of the situation described by John A Lee in Children of the Poor. It was designed to ensure that people did not fall into abject poverty as was the case in New Zealand prior to World War 2. It also came at a time when New Zealand still had (until the early 1970’s) a guaranteed market for its agricultural products.
That all changed with Britain entering the Common Market (something which I cannot find reference to searching on Google), the oil shocks of the 1970s’ and the neo-liberal “reforms” of Roger Douglas in the 1980’s.
All of that reintroduced poverty and long-term unemployment into New Zealand. Unlike the NZ of the 1930’s there is a well-established safety net in the form of the unemployment benefit and the welfare state.
However, over that time we have had the flip side to that in that generations of people have been unemployed, or on the verge on that. This has introduced a situation where, along with liberal changes elsewhere such as in education that has led to a generation that has little concept of taking individual responsibility and have become dependant on the State and have come to expect it even if it means being on some form of benefit for the duration of their lives.
I am not going to be tricked into adopting the “solutions” of other right-wing parties that are punitive and inhumane and more designed to protect their 1% cronies in a “winner take all” situation.
Put simply I have no “solution” because there is not one to be had.
There is another aspect to this. Governments have always taken short-term approaches to major, long-term problems and to show that they are in charge of things. That is natural and just an integral part of politics.
THE LONG EMERGENCY
But what happens when a crisis is actually a long emergency? I was influenced by James Howard Kunstler’s book by the same name where he showed that Peak Oil and the end of Infinite Growth on a Finite Planet would lead to economic, financial, political and social collapse and people would be forced to eke out an existence in their own local communities.
Even if the details laid out back in 2005 are not exactly what he said we are seeing this come to fruition in 2020 where ever you look.
You would have to be a fool to pretend otherwise.
But there is an abundance of fools. Either, you have the Trump people still pretending they can “Make America Great Again” or the liberals who pretend there is absolutely nothing wrong and Trump is the author of all misfortune.
He is NOT!
So, in conclusion, we not only have liberals taking what may have been enlightened policy of 30-40 years ago (depending on your point-of-view) and taking that to a toxic, and illogical conclusion that appears designed to divide society down the middle to fight each other.
Finally, as an illustration I came across the following article:
California is burning to the ground, its forests are dying and it is putatively in the midst of a pandemic and they are concerned about junk food??!!
I am concerned about junk food too but, NOW? Are there not lots more important things to worry about.
Just like a Labour Government in New Zealand that wants to “extend and pretend” in the midst of its own long emergency by increasing sick pay at a time when the nation could be construed as being on the verge of bankruptcy but keeps things going by printing more money and putting it on the account of a future generation.
We live in insane times.