May 20, 2019
TO THE EDITOR:
The abortion divide in this country has only deepened since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1972. Medical science has advanced the lateness of the termination of the pregnancy, at the same time that it reversed the earliness of the viability of life outside the womb.
Now more than ever, the topic is a value judgment concerning human life. One side of the issue values the existing life of the mother over the potential life of the child. The other side supports the promise of new life over the life of its host.
Viewed through this lens, it is easier to decipher the current dynamic. The same Republican men and women willing to take a bullet in the armed services for the greater good of the nation cannot understand the unwillingness to sacrifice, while the Democratic women fighting for the ERA in a #metoo world cannot understand the lack of personal validation.
So, let’s be honest. When we talk about life/abortion, national security, the death penalty or the Second Amendment, we walk into the debate with preconceived value judgments about which life matters more than another. We are discussing which life will be permitted to continue at the expense of another life being taken. And, we are often making that value judgment in the abstract and on behalf of others.
We need both sides at the policy table, and we need a renaissance of moderates in elected office. Each side keeps the other from going too far in favor of one judgment or another. Each side can offer expertise on an academic and applied level. Each side also has some who have lived the issue.
What concerns me more than the topic is the inter-personal destruction that is the new norm. It serves no end. It weakens everything from friendships to our country, and it leaves critical decisions in the hands of a tiny number of judges. Speaking as both an attorney and an activist with more than 25 years of experience in state and federal courts and legislatures, I strongly prefer grassroots driven legislation.
When we toss critical decisions into the hands of nine judges out of our 330 million Americans, we all stand to lose. I assure you: there is not such thing as a slam dunk courtroom. The sooner we get down to business by sitting at the same table, the more viable our collective future.