Can she, or can’t she? In America now, she can; how long before she cannot, at least in half of the US states?
America is reputed to be the great champion of freedom in the world, but what is “freedom” and where does it come from?
Freedom is the right of every individual to make his or her own decisions, providing those decisions don’t have a negative effect on others, impinging on their freedoms. It comes from the heart of every individual and must, by definition relate solely to that person alone. Otherwise, decisions made on behalf of others may only be right from the decider’s viewpoint, and not from the perspective of the person on whom the decision impinges.
In other words, “freedom” is personal to each individual and cannot therefore be successfully legislated. The only rule that need apply, and as a consequence be judged, is the effect of one individual’s free decision on another’s quality of life. As a simple example, if a man uses his freedom to build a high fence around his house and in so doing blocks the light from his neighbor’s home, his neighbor has every right to invoke the law to have it removed. That is the neighbor’s right of freedom.
At this level, law generally functions quite effectively, but societies are complex organisms and invariably power-groups form within them. The more powerful these groups are allowed to become the more they will utilize their strength, attempting to move others in society to adopt their standards and beliefs, even when they are contrary to the freedom of the individuals concerned.
Most so-called “civilized” societies harbor numerous examples of such personal freedom-gagging: the right of an individual to take his own life, or use a recreational drug of choice, are two obvious examples, but there are others less apparent and more insidious. In America today are situations where being black or Arab or even non-Christian, can result in freedom-gagging: the job will go to someone else; police harassment may be more likely, or you may just stand more chance of dying because poverty makes it impossible to pay the medical insurance. Wherever there is a discrepancy between rich and poor in society, the latter suffer from freedom-gagging by comparison with the wealthy.
Our societies are generally a turmoil of power groups each vying to inflict its own brand of freedom-gagging to best effect. In the United States, the various groups that lump themselves together under the general title “Christian” are most vocal in calling for the freedom-gagging of American society. Their infiltration of the political powerbase, both states-wide and federal, has been the tool to force their views of “freedom” on others who vehemently disagree with them.
In fact, it is probably fair to say the distortion of traditional religious beliefs, both in the Christian and Islamic world, is the root of most freedom-gagging, cleverly disguised as a mix of moral and pious righteousness. The Ten Commandments, we are told, all began with the three words: “Thou shalt not” and both the Christian and Islamic sects have embroidered and embossed those words to cover a multitude of actions the “high” ones consider contrary to their delicate moral senses.
The fact that in the West the basis of our modern day legal systems are still centered around these ten ancient and somewhat dubious “Thou shalt not’s” is a measure of how successful the pious ones have been in restricting individual freedom. Not only have we been gagged by the Ten Commandments, but they have invented a whole host of other “Thou shalt not’s” to complement them. “Thou shalt not murder thyself”; “Thou shalt neither eat nor smoke nor grow cannabis sativa”, and of course, the one they are working at the hardest right now: “Thou shalt not murder thy unborn fetus”.
The right of a woman to choose whether she ends her pregnancy or bears the child, has provided a fertile (excuse the pun) plain for the “high” ones to raise their pious crop of bitterness and self-righteous wrath. Quite wrongly, they have centered their argument around the question of exactly when “life” commences, producing a plethora of scientific rhetoric backing their opinion that it begins at conception. From that standpoint they can utilize to devastating effect the old standby: “Thou shalt not kill” – well down the list of ten, well actually twelve, or maybe thirteen, according to Exodus and Deuteronomy.
Take away ancient religious scripts from the discussion and the argument falls apart. Those attempting to freedom-gag women say the prospective mother has no right to terminate her pregnancy because the unborn child cannot protect its own freedom by going to court and demanding its life back – a life terminated without its permission. They, the moralist religious, are like knights of old protecting the rights of the unborn child. On the surface, they would appear to be right.
By my own definition: “Freedom is the right of every individual to make his or her own decisions, providing those decisions don’t have a negative effect on others, impinging on their freedoms.”
The huge, gaping chasm in their argument, however, is their definition of “Life”. Scientifically, the fusing of cells that will eventually produce a live human being, begins at conception – few would argue against that. However, the first moment of consciousness – of awareness – or even self-awareness, the initial creation of individualism, occurs so much later that the child is probably well born before it happens. How many of us have any recollection of our life pre-birth? A few have suggested knowledge of a time in the womb, but it is likely no more than a memory-trick, or wishful thinking.
Pre-consciousness, our fetus is no different from that of any other unborn creature and would have no knowledge of, or suffer no pain from a termination, provided the operation was performed at a reasonably early stage in its development.
The extent to which society’s pressure groups will go to force their ill-conceived values on the rest of us, is graphically illustrated by the actions of the South Carolina legislators, who yesterday voted to make viewing an ultra-sound scan of their unborn fetus mandatory for every woman in the state wishing to undergo an abortion. The vote will almost certainly pass into law, inducing some other states to follow a similar path. Not only must women view the scan, but they have also to sign a legal affidavit stating they’ve viewed it.
The “brains” behind this legislation belong to Rep Greg Delleney of South Carolina. Greg’s a Republican, of course, and no doubt attends church religiously every Sunday. In defense of his legislation, Greg tells us it’s vital information for women facing an agonizing decision:
“It’s the most accurate, truthful and non-judgmental information that anyone could be given prior to making an informed decision as to whether an abortion is right for her.”
A frightened young girl, violently gang-raped by drunken brutes, discovers she is pregnant. Before being allowed to have the fetus removed, Greg insists she is forced to watch a video showing the consequences of her rape, “non-judgmentally” adding to the horror and anguish she will carry for the rest of her life.
But then, for Greg, life is sacred.
That’s why, in September 2006, the South Carolina Gun Rights Association declared him ” Gun Rights Champion of the Week”.
Not to be outdone, Greg, I am happy to declare you, “Freedom-Gagger of the Year, 2007”.
Can she, or can’t she? In America now, she can; how long before she cannot?
Filed under: Freedom gagging