Sunday, April 29, 2007

# Posted 10:09 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BUT DON'T YOU KNOW THAT McCAIN WANTS TO OUTLAW ABORTION? That is often the first response I get when I tell my left-of-center friends and acquaintances that I am a proud McCain supporter. But I can accept a candidate with a different position than my own because the issues that matter most for my vote are personal integrity and national security.

Yet I am to the left of most Republicans on social issues, so it is important to ask whether there is any common ground or whether we simply must agree to disagree. That is why I've been taking such an interest in the recent Supreme Court ruling on partial birth abortion.

So where do I stand on abortion? I don't know much about the subject, so what I mostly have are instincts. I'm not sure there is a real answer to the question of when life begins. But there is enough life in an unborn child for us to take very seriously the question of whether anyone has the right to take that life away. I don't know if there is a constitutional right to have an abortion. But my sense is that neither federal nor state governments should be making decisions about the outcome of a pregnancy in its earliest stages.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that the contents of the previous paragraph don't add up to a coherent and logical position on this issue. So you are more than welcome to dismantle my inconsistency in the comments section below. In fact, that would be a good thing to do since it might help me learn.

Now getting back to partial-birth abortion, have my instincts brought me any closer to a clear position on this specific issue? Not really. It is a gruesome procedure, but so are many types of abortion that are fully legal.

For the moment, what I'm still trying to figure out is whether this whole controversy is a just a sideshow, or whether it has real implications for the future of abortion rights in America. To that end, I appreciated a recent discussion of the Court's ruling on PBS Newshour. Writing for the majority on the court, Justice Kennedy observed that:
"Congress determined that the abortion method it proscribed [i.e. partial-brith abortion] had a disturbing similarity to the killing of a newborn infant."
With that in mind, I can understand why opponents of the procedure passionately believe that it must be outlawed. But one procedure can be outlawed, why not a second and a third?

With that in mind, I paid special attention to Justice Kennedy's unusual assertion that since there is no clear evidence regarding whether or not partial-birth abortions are ever medically necessary, the procedure can be outlawed. In other words, the court recognized yet again that it cannot ban a medically necessary abortion procedure -- which suggests that abortion rights as a whole have not been threatened. Or is that the wrong interpretation of Justice Kennedy's words?

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(18) opinions -- Add your opinion

It seems as though his words could be read to mean that they court can ban any procedure that is not medically necessary, therein setting a sort of standard...
If they ban breast implants, the voting public will turn on them.

I am not sure that I understand David's support of McCain in light of all the political silliness that he has been up to-- like pandering to the religious right.

To me, his views have become somewhat murky.
"McCain now panders to the religious right" is the second most common response I get (from liberals) when I say that I support the Senator from Arizona.

Yet these critics haven't yet pointed to a position or a principle McCain has compromised in order to win greater support from conservative Christians.

What the critics tend to say is that McCain recently shook hands with Jerry Falwell. No question that's political. You can't get nominated by picking fights. But has McCain changed what he believes, or is he still running the same as before?

If someone lays out the evidence, I'm willing to change my mind, but no one has done that so far. I see nothing "murky" about John McCain.
This is an interesting article covering McCain. I've always wanted to like McCain, but never could pull the trigger on full fledged support for him. This article doesn't deter me from him, but just brings more questions. At the end of the day I still wonder what kind of President McCain would make. Lately I've been questioning the need and the wisdom for a military budget that dwarfs the worlds and supports bases in so many countries. I know this is a complex issue, but I'm really wondering if we are "safer" with the current status quo.

If someone lays out the evidence, I'm willing to change my mind, but no one has done that so far. I see nothing "murky" about John McCain.

McCain campaigned for Bush in 2004 after Bush in 2000 circulated rumors in South Carolina about McCain having had an illegitimate black child. This was at the same time that McCain now claims to have been the most vocal critic of the war.

We could go further David, but then you'd just stick your head further into the sand.
Personal Integrity. And national security. Ok!
Hitler had personal integrity. What does that even mean?
With that in mind, I paid special attention to Justice Kennedy's unusual assertion that since there is no clear evidence regarding whether or not partial-birth abortions are ever medically necessary, the procedure can be outlawed

Just wondering where Justice kennedy got his medical degree . . .
Randy, Randy, Randy

I would suggest that maybe Justice kennedy received his information from the briefs provided to the court.
Ahh,yes. Reductio ad Hitlerum.
David, David, David,

When the Supreme Court refers to these doctors as "Abortion Doctors" and not Obstetrician-Gynecologists (as there is no medical speciality known as "Abortion Doctors"), I think it's pretty obvious where they get their information from.
"I think it's pretty obvious where they get their information from."
You mean from Planned Parenthood, NARAL or The Nation?
i dont agree with abortion, but it has to be left as an option in some circumstances.
Not being a lawyer or well versed in the abortion debate, I found these posts on various legal blogs useful:

Priscilla Smith (who represented Dr. Carhart in Gonzales v. Carhart) argues that the court did not really display restraint over at Balkinization.

There are several interesting posts about faith and the justices (both for and against the majority) at the University of Chicago Law School's faculty blog, especially this post about Ginsburg's dissent by Cass Sunstein.
The reason why there's no clear evidence that the procedure is medically necessary is because each case of abortion is protected by the privacy standard set by Roe. v. Wade. I think, though I'm not a lawyer.
McCain has burned his bridges with Republicans, beyond repair. The questions and answers with Fox News last Sunday made that clear. You cannot have a record of voting against the Bush tax cuts, and currently supporting the failed McCain-Feingold legislation, and expect any chance at the GOP nomination. McCain is sound on the war, but lots of people are. The surge can succeed beyond our best- case expectations and still not drag McCain to the nomination. If he was smart he would be leading the charge for M-F repeal, and bitching about the edge it gives liberal media around election times. He's not convincing as a mainstream Republican. Even a simpleton like Fred Thompson can beat him.
"as there is no medical speciality known as "Abortion Doctors""

Now, that's just a bit disingenuous; The great majority of Obstetrician-Gynecologists have so little interest in performing abortions that the pro-choice movement is pushing laws to mandate that they learn how to do them, whether they want to or not. While the majority of doctors who perform abortions do virtually nothing else. It is, de facto, a medical specialty. As recognized by the Yellow Pages, if not the AMA.

I'm with Exguru: After McCain/Feingold, McCain is dead to me. I can't think of anything he could do that would get my vote, after his leading a deliberate assault on the core of our First amendment rights.

It is possible, (Albiet delusional.) to think that campaign censorship efforts like McCain/Feingold are consistant with the First amendment. However, McCain's own public statements make clear that he is not so deluded, and has consciously chosen campaign censorship over the First amendment he swore to uphold and defend.

How do you square that with "integrity"?

Nor am I clear as to why Republicans should be expected to forgive his effort, in 2000, to pull off what would have amounted to a hostile takeover of the party, trying to secure the nomination with Democratic crossover votes.
I can't support McCain for the same reason I won't support Rudy: both of them have more than a whiff of the "man on a horse" about them. Over the last 20 years the federal government has been built into an unprecedentedly powerful entity, and putting a guy with the ego and tunnel-vision of McCain or Guliani would make the comments about the "imperial presidency" thrown about today pale in comparison. In short, I don't trust either of them to recognize their own limitations.

Now, as to abortion: IMNSHO, the cutoff should be brain activity; prior to that, you're removing a lump of tissue, after that, you're killing a human being. A simple, bright line test, and one which will not affect 90% of the abortions performed today.
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