Abortion ban makes no religious, moral or political sense

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Rushing through SB3 is a suicide play for Pa. GOP

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

On a very special Monday edition of “Why Your State Legislature Sucks,” let me chat with you for a moment about state Senate Bill 3.

With the myriad of problems facing our commonwealth, it is this bill, which addresses exactly none of them, that will likely dominate headlines this week and beyond in Pennsylvania.

With fiscal disasters, an inability to educate our children, police our streets, pave our roads and literally dozens of higher-priority issues in the commonwealth guess what is going to suck all of the oxygen out of the room?

Abortion.

SB 3 would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks and effectively end a procedure referred to as “dilation and evacuation” commonly used in abortions after 13 weeks gestation. In essence, this is an attempt to either make abortions nearly impossible or so expensive that they are stopped. I’ll note that the courts threw out Kansas’ similar law (which uses very similar language, by the way) in Jan., 2016.  Obviously, should this bill become law, it would be subject to very expensive, taxpayer-funded litigation.

And this bill is so important, that the state Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold a vote today on it, despite having held no public hearings. The Senate and House appear likely to approve the bill (the House passed virtually the same bill last year) before Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to veto it.

There are so many reasons why this is wrong, of course (and ironically, once this hits the ‘Net, you can again count on the death threats to yours truly).

Let’s start with the obvious: when does life begin? Do you know? I don’t. 

I know eight cells can’t survive outside a womb and are not a baby. There are multiple documented cases of babies born at 25 weeks and surviving — so its somewhere around there, maybe. As another ironic corollary: I was lucky enough to see images of my twins when they were eight cells and then multiple ultrasounds of their development — as they were in vitro fertilized (which some of the pro-life types would describe as an “abomination,” shortly before suffering severe physical injury if they did it to my face).

So, we can guess, but never entirely know. That means SB 3 and the entire “Pro Life” argument fails the religious test. This bill represents, quite literally, playing God, which is what so many of its backers seem to be trying to do.

And that’s a problem. Not according to me, but according to the Bible, which frowns deeply on mere mortals acting all God-like.

James 4:11:

“Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, Or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are nor a doer of the law, but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judges your neighbor?”

Or:

Matthew 7:1-3:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

So, the Bible says not to judge others, but rather for each to live as they see God’s law. In other words, people should make their morality calls to the best of their ability and face a reckoning in the afterlife, but not tell everyone else what to do.

Taken to extremes, this would suggest that murder and arson aren’t to be judged here, but rather in the afterlife, which would mean chaos, of course. But here’s the thing: we know shooting someone and killing them is bad (and by the way, the Bible says that is in all cases — “Thou Shalt Not Kill” seems to trump “Stand Your Ground.”). The same with arson and numerous other crimes.

Those are black and white issues, some of which we play pretty fast and loose with, Biblically speaking.

Less so is when life starts and ends. We. Don’t. Know.

We have strong beliefs in some cases — but as no one has recently come back from the dead and given us a detailed explanation, and proof — what we have now aren’t even theories.

Beliefs aren’t facts.

One religion argues for a kingdom of heaven and everlasting life, while atheists believe life starts as a spark and ends as dying ember with no before or after and others speak to reincarnation.

Who is to say who is right? Not me. Personally, I’d prefer not to go to Hell because some preachy know-it-all decides they know better than God.

But, just for the sake of argument, if the point were to end abortions, wouldn’t the logical argument be to end unwanted pregnancies? Shouldn’t birth control (abstinence has a proven track record of failure over more than two millennia, as humans really seem to enjoy having sex), sex education (so people know how to avoid pregnancy) and immediate pharmacological solutions (the morning after pill) be the first line of defense if the goal is to eliminate abortions?

But, of course, that’s not the goal. With restrictions on access to birth control, sex education and women’s health, these folks seek to control how, when and if a woman chooses to have sex. The basic premise of self determination — one of the most American of rights — is essentially being denied here by the whims of a tyrannical minority.

Because the religion makes no sense, the morality makes no sense and the logic of this makes no sense, it is not surprising a majority — somewhere between 60 and 70% in Pennsylvania support abortion rights.

So that makes the politics of this equally non-sensical.

With everything that this state faces, this was the priority? While they’re at it, why not a ban on gay marriage, interracial marriage, women working outside of the home, women voting and owning property, too?

If you wanted to come up with yet another issue to drive women to the polls in 2017 and 2018, and probably not vote for you, this is perfect.

Why Pennsylvania’s Republicans feel the need to pour gasoline on themselves and play with matches is beyond me. I’m left with only one question:

Anybody have any marshmallows?

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