Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I like to think of myself as being consistently pro-life. That means I am anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia and anti-death penalty. Here in the UK there is a quite remarkable consensus in favour of abortion, re-enforced by the family planning (or should that be family prevention) industry. So it was good news when the Conservative leader, Michael Howard, said he personally believed the time limit should be reduced to 20 weeks. Also, following the case where a child was aborted very late for having a curable jaw defect, we need to ensure the rules are enforced and those who break them are prosecuted regardless of whether they acted in 'good faith'. Sadly, we can no longer trust doctors to make the correct decisions as so many have become inured to the culture of abortion. Late abortions must be subject to court approval with a lawyer appointed to protect the interests of the child.

In the United States, the Schiavo case is making headlines. While it is self evident that there is no reason to remove the feeding tube beyond the say-so of Mrs Schiavo's husband, the real argument is about state versus federal jurisdiction. For me, this is interesting and I fear that the pro-life lobby might come to regret their actions. The medium term aim of pro-life activism is to return jurisdiction on abortion to the states. Roe v Wade is a legal anomaly that grants a new federal right that the constitution says nothing about and might even contradict. If it was struck down, each state would have to formulate its own policy on abortion. In the Schiavo case, the pro-life lobby has brought in federal jurisdiction over an area previously subject only to the states - the exact opposite of what they are trying to achieve for abortion. Of course, the other side are being equally contradictory by insisting that no federal oversight is allowed for euthanasia when they insist on it for capital punishment cases.

But then this whole subject is chock full on contradictions, none of which look like being resolved any time soon. I am pleased that in the UK we are seeing some movement on abortion and still forbid euthanasia but in both cases opposition to the pro-life position remains very strong.


Layman said...

I too was at first concerned that the federal government was overreaching in the Shaivo case, but it seems they based their granting of review on supposed due process violations in the state courts. This likely is an appropriate basis for jurisdiction. We learn in law school that the possible federal jurisdiction is much greater than that which Congress has established by statute (federal question and diversity). One of my professors said that if Congress gave the courts all the jurisdiction they could potentially have under the Constitution, that almost no case would escape federal review.

Which does not mean that I necessarily agree that Congress should have acted as it did. I do worry about future "bad cases" ending up petitioning for unique Congressional intervention.

As for the merits of the case, my concern is more procedural than substantive. It sees to me that the husband has a clear conflict of interests. First there was the money gained to compensate for her condition. Though it is claimed that is gone, there remains what for me is the central concern. How can the state presume the husband is acting in her best interest when he has been living with another woman for 10 years and has two children with her? In such a case, should not the parents become the guardians?

Jim Baxter said...

During the 30 years plus that I taught 5th Grade, I would often ask my class of 35,
"Boys and girls, if 1 = 0 what does 35 = ?" A wrong answer got an "F Grade."

If they said,"Zero," they got an "A."

America's human value system is based on the value of each Individual person; One.
If One equals Zero what will 160 million be worth?

Abortion/cannibalism is devaluing each and every individual in our Country including you
and me -- and each One in our families -- and each Individual American.

Terri is now being used to teach that each individual is in further jeopardy. She is being
placed there by law. Law which is minimal in describing human behavior and worth in a
civilized society.

Law raises no maxim high standard but only a minimum of acceptance -- not the highest.
Ethics and morality are higher standards which are not being used in Terri's protection
because lawyers and judges revere law as the highest standard -- when it is not. It is the
least standard. "Grade: F "

"Woe unto you lawyers and judges!" Your stewardship before The Creator is non-existent.
The Lord God will not be mocked. As you sow you will reap. Legalists are individuals and
will be weighed in the balances of their own choosing.