Nicely Said

I am not cocky or self-centered enough to claim that I know it all, or that I always say things in the best way.  While I wish that more people were that way, this is not about that point.

I do not know for sure that David Frum is smarter than I am; I can suspect that he is, but I do not know for certain.  What I do know for certain is that David Frum is more articulate than I am.  Take, for example, his article on CNN.com regarding abortion (here).  He basically says what I have been thinking, but have had trouble articulating.  Let’s dive right in, right after I disclose that Mr. Frum is no bleeding heart liberal; he was a Special Assistant to President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2002.

Let’s look at the very first question he poses in response to Richard Mourdock’s comment regarding rape (which I am not going to put here again):

“OK, Mr. Mourdock, you say your principles require a raped woman to carry the rapist’s child to term. That’s a heavy burden to impose on someone. What would you do for her in return? Would you pay her medical expenses? Compensate her for time lost to work? Would you pay for the child’s upbringing? College education?

“If a woman has her credit card stolen, her maximum liability under federal law is $50. Yet on your theory, if she is raped, she must endure not only the trauma of assault, but also accept economic costs of potentially many thousands of dollars. Must that burden also fall on her alone? When we used to draft men into the Army, we gave them veterans’ benefits afterward. If the state now intends to conscript women into involuntary childbearing, surely those women deserve at least an equally generous deal?”

How does one respond to that?  I will say this, the question Mr. Frum posed puts the ball squarely in the court of those who want to scream down those who think that women should have a choice.  Those same people who scream for “smaller government,” but want to regulate what goes on in the bedroom or with a woman’s body.  My Mourdock post generated an interesting comment, and I have included my response:

thinkovationsays:

You’ve misunderstood the sentence.

The “thing” that God intended to happens was “Life”.

He’s saying that even when a life is created in that horrible situation of rape, it is still sacred.

TommyKsays:

I in no way misunderstood the sentence.  Just as, in your opinion, the sentence meant one thing, my opinion is that it read the way I interpreted it.  That is the cool thing about opinions.  And I get a little tired of people being righteous and telling me that I misunderstood this or that, or that I made the wrong conclusion.  Why can’t you, or people like you, accept that people have a different opinion than you?  Please stop trying to make it to where everyone who differs in opinion from you is wrong.  Do you speak for God in this case?  I do not think so.  Please do not cite a Bible verse or ten here, either.  The Bible was written by men, and there have been selective omissions along the way.  Is is truly God’s full word, or has stuff been left out for convenience along the way? There is no justification, in my mind, to force a woman who is raped to carry a baby to term.  She should have the choice, and if she chooses to do so, that is up to her and her alone.

I love when people try to badger me in to agreement.  And I really love when people try to say that I have “misunderstood” something or another.  You can see from my response how I feel about people getting all high-and-mighty with me.  I am a pretty smart guy, and I take exception when people try to belittle me or my views because they differ from their own.  That is childish and narrow-minded of them, in my opinion.  Maybe my commenter is one of those who feel that a rapist should have parenthood rights to a child created by their disgusting act.  That tells me all that I need to know.

But back to Mr. Frum.  He continues by offering examples of how other countries handle abortions:

As a general rule, societies that do the most to support mothers and child-bearing have the fewest abortions. Societies that do the least to support mothers and child-bearing have more abortions.

Germany, for example, operates perhaps the world’s plushest welfare state. Working women receive 14 weeks of maternity leave, during which time they receive pay from the state. The state pays a child allowance to the parents of every German child for potentially as many as 25 years, depending on how long as the child remains in school. Women who leave the work force after giving birth receive a replacement wage from the state for up to 14 months.

Maybe not coincidentally, Germany has one of the lowest abortion rates, about one-third that of the United States. Yet German abortion laws are not especially restrictive. Abortion is legal during the first trimester of pregnancy and available if medically or psychologically necessary in the later trimesters.

Maybe using Germany as an example will scare people in this country.  “Socialism” they will cry.  “Smaller government” they will scream.  But as Mr. Frum points out, Germany has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world.  Our country, on the other hand, has a lot of pro-lifers who will bomb abortion clinics yet seem to care less about the child after they are born.  In the womb, they care a lot; outside the womb, the mother is on her own (that is not to say that all pro-lifers are that way).

Mr. Frum concludes with this:

A woman who enjoys the most emotional and financial security and who has chosen the timing of her pregnancy will not choose abortion, even when abortion laws are liberal. A woman who is dominated, who is poor and who fears bearing the child is likely to find an abortion, even where abortion is restricted, as it was across the United States before 1965.

Rather than tell us what you’d like to ban, tell us please what you think government should do to support more happy and healthy childbearing, to reduce unwanted pregnancies and to alleviate the economic anxieties of mothers-to-be? 

(emphasis mine)

Take a look for a minute at what I have in bold italics.  A woman who is dominated is likely to find an abortion even where restricted.  Interesting.  You mean to tell me that restricting rights of women will not stop them from making decisions about their bodies?  Or how about, instead of telling us what will be banned, tell us how we can help women so that they do not exercise their right to choose to have an abortion?  That’s a novel concept.  I hear and read from pro-lifers all the time about banning abortions, but they never want to provide any alternatives.

I have read Mr. Frum’s article several times, and I can assure that I did not misunderstand or misinterpret what he wrote in any way, shape, or form.  I wish that people would stop trying to “school” me or “educate” me when it comes to this stuff.  I am not expert at all, but I have a well-formed opinion and will steadfastly defend it.  I know I am not likely to change too many minds, and that is ok.  I always find it funny how people like me, who are often called a “liberal” like it is a bad thing tend to be more accepting of opposing views than those who could call themselves conservatives.  I guess maybe it is because I was raised to respect other people and their right to have an opinion, and to realize that I cannot make everyone agree with me.

I encourage you to comment on this, or any other blog I write.  Please do so in a respectful manner and without talking down to me or anybody else.  If you cannot bring yourself to do so, refrain from commenting here and start your own blog to get your voice out there.  This forum will be used for productive debate, but I will not tolerate being demeaned or talked down to.  If you do comment, I may respond to you, and I will make every effort to be respectful of your view.

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2 Responses to Nicely Said

  1. Pingback: Much To My Surprise « Our Not So Expert Opinions

  2. Pingback: Hypocritical Much? « Our Not So Expert Opinions

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