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Re: “More criticism for Bobby Shepherd's work to wreck abortion rights

Roe v. Wade: The sanctimonious kick down the road.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Roe v. Wade is settled law and should not be overturned. An objective five-minute internet search should suffice to illustrate that in the past the U.S. Supreme Court made decisions that for years were considered settled law, but were later seen for what they were, contemptible, heinous, and just flat wrong.

In Section IX of the Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Blackmun wrote, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

In those two sentences, what Justice Blackmun really said was he understood that science, at our current level of development, could not answer the fundamental questions that should have been asked in Roe v. Wade; when does life begin, when do we become fully human, when should we be legally recognized as a person, when should we be given Constitutional right-to- life protection, and should the right-to-life of the human fetus (if indeed it has that right) be subordinate to the privacy and reproductive rights of the woman.

Addressing those questions with subjectivity and opinion is not enough. If those questions are not answered with objectivity, with science-based evidence, how then can we say with a clear conscience, and with a high degree of certitude, that abortion is not the unlawful termination of a person entitled to Constitutional right-to-life protection?

Without debate, the unlawful termination of life after the birth event is called murder. But if 'person status', which is bound to Constitutional right-to-life protection, were applied before the birth event, then abortion would be murder. If that were the case, the privacy and reproductive rights of the mother would be subordinate to the Constitutional right to life of the fetus.

So, when should we be officially recognized as a 'person'? Is fetal viability the correct time to apply 'person status'?

Fetal viability is nothing more than a statistical inference. It is a leap in the dark based on mathematics. It is the average point in time at which historical statistical data indicates a fetus has the highest, pre-natural-birth-event probability of survival outside the womb. It really is nothing more than a guess based on the comparison of historical data on the one hand with the measurement of a physical object on the other hand. Measurement of things like fetal body weight and length, body part size, organ development, lung capacity, brain activity, and blood pressure are compared with historical statistical data.

In Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U. S. 379 (1979), the Court said in part, "Viability is reached when, in the judgment of the attending physician on the particular facts of the case before him, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus' sustained survival outside the womb, with or without artificial support. ...this point may differ with each pregnancy..."

In Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52 (1976) the Court said in part, "It is not a proper legislative or judicial function to fix viability, which is essentially for the judgment of the responsible attending physician,..." and the determination of whether a particular fetus is viable is, and must be, a matter for the judgment of the responsible attending physician. and "The appellees do not contend otherwise, for they insist that the determination of viability rests with the physician in the exercise of his professional judgment. We thus do not accept appellants' contention that a specified number of weeks in pregnancy must be fixed by statute as the point of viability."

In both cases the court held that viability is a moving target. Viability is different in each pregnancy. The attending physician looks at all the evidence and makes a personal judgement about the odds of fetal survival if it is removed from the womb. But, the attending physicians educated guess about the statistical probability of fetal survival outside the womb is not empirically related to the origin-of-life issue, the timing for the assignment of 'person status', or the granting of Constitutional right-to-life protection. Fetal viability is about, and only about, the statistical probability of fetal survival outside the womb before the natural birth event.

Life doesn't start in the womb at the impregnation/fertilization event or at viability or at some other time prior to, or after the birth event. The sperm and the egg are not inanimate objects. They are life forms. They have life in them. They come out of humans, who are themselves alive and whose own existence is the result of the union of sperm and an egg. That continuum, that circle of life, can be traced back, from a scientific point of view, to the Primordial Soup, which is a theory, a metaphysical construct, and from a Christian perspective, to the Book of Genesis, which the scientific community and the courts consider a metaphysical construct.

In like manner, the timing for the application of person status is a metaphysical construct. Its an opinion. Its a decision based on subjectivity. Its not based on hard verifiable scientific research.

Is there anyone with the scientific or technical expertise to say empirically and with 100% certitude when we become fully human, fully recognized as a legal person, and therefore entitled to Constitutional right-to-life protection?

Not Justice Blackmun. As stated previously, he said in Section IX of Roe v. Wade, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

Not former President Obama. At Saddleback Church, Pastor Rick Warren asked Senator Obama at what point a baby gets human rights. Senator Obama replied, whether youre looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question is above my pay grade.

On CNNs Faith and Politics Compassion Forum held in Grantham, Pennsylvania Senator Obama was asked, When do you believe life begins? He said, I dont presume to know the answer to that question.

Not former Vice President Biden. On Meet the Press: 2007 "Meet the Candidates" series April 29, 2007, Katie Couric asked Senator Joe Biden, Do you believe that life begins at conception? Senator Biden replied, I am prepared to accept my church's viewI have to accept that on faith.

Are you beginning to understand the fatal flaw of Roe v. Wade? Fundamental and necessary questions were not answered; questions like, What are we? What should we call the object which is being aborted? Is human life worth nothing more than non-human life? Is the human fetus a person or is it not a person? Is it entitled to Constitutional right-to-life protection? If those type questions are not answered with certitude, and only answered with subjectivity, then isnt it possible abortion might be murder?

Please understand, we're not talking about lab rats or field mice. Were talking about humans. Theres a reason were having this debate about the human fetus and not really concerned about the many millions of mammals and fish killed each year for human consumption. Theres a reason a human can be charged with murder for killing another human but not charged with anything for killing a squirrel or rabbit or deer in season. Theres a reason it would be lunacy to file murder charges against a pack of wolves who attack and kill an elk in the Canadian outback. At the gut level we all know human life is different than other life on earth. We all sense that we are more than just the next step on an evolutionary continuum.

If thats all we are, then at the death event it really is lights-out and life truly has no meaning, living with honor has no value, our code of morals and ethics is worthless in the grand scheme of eternity, the might-is-right world view is just as valid as our Constitution and Bill of Rights, the tens of thousands of young men that died on the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima and in the jungles of Vietnam died for nothing. Those are the kind of issues that were not addressed in Roe v. Wade. Instead, from a philosophical point of view, the decision in Roe v. Wade lowered the worth of the human unborn child to a level lower than that of a wild animal. In the wild, animals being hunted or attacked do at least have a chance to survive by fleeing for their life. The human fetus, on the other hand, cannot defend itself physically or verbally. It is helpless. In a sense, it has no voice. It cannot flee for its life. Its life, existence, and value are completely dependent on the opinion of humans that are bigger and stronger and that can force their will upon it.

Metaphysics can reason its way to justification for abortion, but not empirical science. Hard science can neither prove nor disprove metaphysical issues. Metaphysical issues are not the business of hard science. The business of empirical science is the objective search for truth. No preconceived ideas or beliefs or bias. Just the facts. And only data collected using the real scientific method, which includes disinterested third-party examination and verification of all research methods, subsequent data collected, conclusions, and projected outcomes.

Thats what the abortion debate is missing. No empirical science. No disinterested third-party pier reviewed research. No proof. The life and death decision called abortion is based 100% on a metaphysical construct called Roe v. Wade.

The intrinsic value we collectively place on human life is at the heart of our longing for civility, our desire to move away from barbarism, and toward an organized, civilized culture where might is not the final arbiter of right. Thats the reason a common and shared trait of civilized judicial systems is that they do not send people to death row when the only evidence against them is subjective speculation and conjecture.

Abortion is a different type question. It is the no-going-back finality of the procedure that sets it apart from normal jurisprudence such as hanging chad, flag burning, interstate commerce, tax laws, or school desegregation. Errors on the wrong side of such issues can be revisited and corrected, or at least partially corrected. But once the abortion procedure is over, there is no going back, no possibility of revisiting the issue. So, the abortion question must be adjudicated with a different type thinking. The abortion question demands, not just a higher level, but the highest level of evidence, reasoning, and logic.

I would gladly wager that an overwhelming majority of Americans have never read the Roe v. Wade decision. If youll read the entire Roe v. Wade decision youll see that Justice Blackmun did not offer the highest level of evidence, reasoning, and logic. He offered NO, (as in ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, NONE) empirical scientific evidence to support the majority decision of the court. He offered only opinion and pure subjectivity. He claimed precedence, in part, by citing cultural opinions and practices related to abortion from ancient Persia, Greece, Rome, the old English age, and 19th century America. You know those people, dont you? Theyre the ones who thought wives were little more than property, Native Americans and Blacks were sub-human, witches should be burned at the stake, inquisition would rid the world of non-conformists, and manifest destiny was the correct and preordained cosmic order for all W.A.S.P.

By todays standards those world views are not just politically incorrect, but barbaric. Should the decision in Roe v. Wade have been influenced by people who thought and reasoned at that level and who embraced those world views?

Justice Blackmuns written decision was based on pure judicial expediency. He knew that an adequate explanation of the origin, meaning, and worth of life questions were beyond him, so he took the uncomplicated way out; he redirected the conversation away from pure science and deeper reasoning. He dressed his writing in the sanctimonious trappings and verbiage of the dignity of the U. S. Supreme Court. In other words, he punted, he kicked the can down the road for some future jurist to grapple with.

On March 9, 2009 President Obama signed the Stem Cell Executive Order and Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum. He said, This order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology. That is why today, I am also signing a Presidential Memorandum directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making. To ensure that in this new Administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science, and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions.

Im ready for the Supreme Court, the Pro-Choice side, and people like Pro-Choice Senator Susan Collins (R- Maine) to be, in the words of former President Obama, open and honest with the American people about the science behind our (their) decisions. Im ready for the Supreme Court to ensure that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda. Im ready to read the empirical scientific research which shows an undeniable and inextricable cause and effect relationship between viability and person status'. Im ready for an explanation about why the Supreme Court endorses abortion, the ending of a human life, even though they dont really know (empirically) what to call the physical object which is being aborted. Im ready for an explanation about why they dont want to give the fetus the benefit of a reasonable doubt just like they are legally bound to do for all others on death row. I would like to hear the Supreme Courts higher level of evidence, reason, and logic in the helpless life-and-death struggle the fetus is in. Id like to hear Senator Susan Collins explain why she is willing to accept Justice Blackmuns reliance, in part, on precedence from people that would have looked at her as born to serve men, subservient to her husband and not much more than property and a second-class citizen.

we are a people estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from even objective truth. We admit no ideas that do not confirm us, hear no voices that do not echo us, sift out all information that does not validate what we wish to believe. Leonard Pitts, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Miami Herald

its called selective inattention. We hear only what we already believe and will not let the facts stand in the way of what we want to think and believe. Dr. Terry Dancer, Professor, Arkansas State University, from letter to the editor Jonesboro Sunday, Wed. Feb. 15, 2012

when science gets tainted by politics and money, and facts are set aside in the name of advancing a political agenda, it is no longer science. Ken Cuccinelli, Attorneys General of Virginia, from the April 2011 Hillsdale College Imprimis

The truth is, the Roe v. Wade decision was based on pure subjectivity, and not one empirical science-based fact. Because of that, there is at least a reasonable doubt. Opinion is sometimes indispensable, indeed necessary in cases that can be appealed, reviewed, and/or corrected, such as hanging chad, flag burning, interstate commerce, and tax laws. But opinion and subjectivity should have no place in a life and death decision where there has been no capital offense, indeed, no offense of any kind.

In Section IX of Roe v. Wade, Justice Blackmun wrote, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

In the life and death case before you, yes Justice Blackmun, it was your job to come up with a more reasoned and clearly thought out answer. By kicking the can down the road, you, by default, did speculate. By default, you did decide that the fetus is not worth saving and that it has no value. (I ask these questions metaphorically. Im not really practicing necromancy?)

Its very sad to me that the highest court in the land made a life-and-death decision based on nothing more than opinion while the recipient of the consequences of that decision has no voice, no ability to defend itself. The fetus is only a powerless and innocent bystander whose life depends completely on the subjective opinion of other people concerning its worth, its value, its Constitutional right to life.

David L Bufkin
Jonesboro, Arkansas

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Sergeant of Marines on 09/22/2018 at 8:23 AM

Re: “Journalism review features Tom Cotton's press dodging. They couldn't get comment either.

Senator Cotton,
My wife and I voted Republican our whole life. I'm 63 and shes 64. This past election we voted straight Democrat. We could not, with a clear conscience, vote for the crotch grabber. We are Christian conservatives. But we understand that the teachings of the Bible, on the one hand, and the political philosophy contained within our Founding Documents, on the other hand, can never fully coalesce into one harmonious overarching political and social doctrine. Countries that attempt such a system often end up with an ethno-centristic, theocratic, clannish, Khmer Rouge, Iranian type government leadership which claim a type of divine-right-of-kings as cover for grievous civil right abuses.
I have been against abortion all my life and have written a bulletproof non-Biblical refutation of Roe-v-Wade. I've sent it to 3 presidents and vice presidents, and many members of Congress and all SCOTUS member for years.
I say all that to say this. Now that I'm older, health care has become more important. I will always consider abortion to be wrong, but I do understand the child suffers for no more than a few seconds and will go straight to heaven. But the truth about health care is that the lower class and much of the middle class cannot afford health care. And a purchase mandate that includes premiums most Americans cannot afford is immoral. Even with an 80/20 policy, a serious illness or injury would bankrupt many people in the U.S.
The suffering caused by the insurance/healthcare industry is far greater than the few seconds of suffering experienced by the baby in the abortion procedure.
My wife and I are retired and have no insurance. We are on a limited income. We take no medication and never go to the doctor. The last real complete checkup I had was the week I got out of the Marine Corps in 1978. A few weeks ago, I broke a tooth and ended up pulling the broken part myself with a pair of tweezers. It was painful. But with no insurance, I wasn't sure if I could afford to go to a dentist.
I have thought long and often about the health care issue. I believe the most fundamental error in politicians thinking is they tend to equate the whole health care industry with for-profit businesses. It's one thing for someone to need a plumber or an electrician to come to their home to fix something. It's an entirely different thing for someone to be suffering a medical issue and not be able to afford health care. Really, it's a moral issue.
I know it's a very complicated issue with no easy answers. And I certainly don't call the ACA a perfect work of art. It does need fixing. The health care system in the U.S. is a huge industry with many moving parts. The honest must admit that back in 2009/2010 when President Obama and the Congress were framing the ACA, it was impossible for them to dot every single I, and to cross every single T. It would be like President Kennedy standing before Congress on May 25, 1961, and proposing that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. And then the next day NASA drafting a perfect, 100% perfect plan that needed zero changes from day one until splashdown in the Pacific. It's irrational and laughable to think President Obama and Congress could draft a health care deal that was 100% perfect on day one and would never need tweaking. Of course, they didn't get it 100% correct. Of course, a plan that deals with such a huge and complicated system will need tweaking as you go alone. But he got the process started. And as you know Senator Cotton, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. A true statesman can give credit where credit is due. There really is a gentlemanly and tactful way to pull the splinter out of someone elses eye while remembering we still need a beam pulled out of our own eye. I will never vote for a 'so-called' statesman who doesn't understand and practice these basic principles of leadership.
One more thing Senator Cotton. Many older WASP, and nostalgic Caucasian Manifest Destiny acolytes who don't read anything except the Sunday comics and who think at the cold fusion, Maginot Line, cargo-cult, flat world, level of thinking don't realize this past election cycle may have been their last best hope to reclaim the America they learned about watching 1940's and 50's Hollywood movies and TV shows. The sad thing is, they are not even aware the America they dream of never really existed for most non-WASP Americans. That old America is past the apex and headed, inexorably, in a new direction. Don't believe it? Read the facts. For starters, go to - - and read the article, '10 demographic trends that are shaping the U.S. and the world'. Donald Trump is not the problem, but only a knee-jerk reaction of the rigid 'good-old-boy social and political Tea Party conservatives, who think they can bring back the good-old-days by electing a shallow dangerous bully who wouldn't know 'statesmanship' if it kicked him in the hindquarters. But no matter what the day-dreaming pixilated conservative, so-called moral Right believes, this is America of the 21st century. Change is here. The America of our grandparents and of generations before them is gone forever. The social and political tsunami of change is unstoppable. In the next decade or two, many Tea Party conservatives will be retired or dead and gone. When the new generation of American political and social power gains political control, the Republican Party will pay for their wall building, radical clannish, segregationist, us-versus-them thinking.
Marc Benioff, founder of SalesForce said, "People who lose their relevance get stuck in the past because they're no longer in the present moment."
Senator Cotton, this quit possible will be a career-defining vote for you and all other members of the Republican Party. Someday there will be a single-payer system in the U.S. Will history remember you as a leader who got out in front and put the welfare of the American people first? Or will your name be lost and forgotten within the list of those utopian nostalgists who always looked back and longed for something that never existed in reality?
My wife and I ask you to please vote against the awful Graham-Cassidy proposal.

Posted by Sergeant of Marines on 09/24/2017 at 4:25 PM


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