Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Diminished In Morality" (Pt. 1)

(Editor's Note: This is part one in a two-part post regarding the views of KBAR radio host, Zeb Bell, on abortion. This installment serves as a precursor, an introduction of sorts, to the current status of abortion legislation in this country. The second part will be posted Monday, November 24, 2008.)

It should come as no surprise that Zeb Bell, host of Zeb at the Ranch on KBAR radio, is anti-choice. His conservatism, not his Christianity requires that he be politically opposed to all who support abortion rights on any level. He is adamantly opposed to Roe v Wade, Planned Parenthood and nearly any other organization that supports reproductive rights for women.

The fears of Zeb Bell are no mystery, either. In the days, weeks and months leading up to the presidential election, Zeb Bell spoke often of his distrust and fear of an Obama administration. The fears, too many to list, did not lack the usual argument against any potential support on the part of the White House for the Freedom of Choice Act. On August 20, 2008, Bell stated:
Obama is backed entirely by people and groups like Planned Parenthood, etc. and have we lost all moral compasses in this country to the point where when we have someone like Obama come out and basically back abortion and partial birth abortion, which is a very heinous act, I mean can't the public see through this or is the public today been so diminished in morality and what is right and wrong that they don't care?

Obama's position on abortion aside, Bell continually neglects to attack members of his own party that generally support reproductive rights.

More often than not, Republican senators representing the state of Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, receive a pass. As do Senators Specter, Stevens and Murkowski (all members of the Republicans for Choice PAC). And Joe Lieberman who did more campaigning for John McCain than any other member of the Senate, save perhaps Lindsey Graham, has only been distressing to Zeb Bell when his name was floated as a potential running mate for McCain.

Mr. Bell appears to have associated Obama with those members of the Senate who voted against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, a vote that took place more than a year prior to Obama's election to the U.S. Senate, and faults Obama for the Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama did cosponsor, but it has not been sent to the floor for a vote.

It appears quite absurd to fault a candidate for things that have yet to happen. As it stands now, any decision on the Freedom of Choice Act would be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court, a Court that would predictably vote 5-4 against any legislation that would in fact legalize all types of abortion.

In fact, should the Court review any matter related to abortion, the Freedom of Choice Act or otherwise, the current makeup of the Court would side in favor of organizations like the National Right to Life Committee. The Court has as recently as 2006 (in Gonzales v Carhart) ruled on par with the hopes of the anti-choice electorate, deciding that even the health and life of the mother is irrelevant in relation to the future of the unborn. In the matter of the 2006 decision I support the dissenting opinion of Justice Ginsberg which states:
Today's decision is alarming it refuses to take Casey and Stenburg seriously. It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It blurs the line firmly drawn in Casey, between previability and postviability abortions. And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman's health.

Ginsburg's reference to Casey regards Planned Parenthood v Casey, a decision by the Rehnquist court that both affirmed the decision in Roe as well as introduced a standard of undue-burden. Despite some startling opinions expressed in the dissenting opinion by Justices Rehnquist, White, Scalia and Thomas, the 5-4 decision continued to uphold the long held decision by the Burger Court.

Of course the makeup of the Court today is drastically different than the Court of 1973's Roe and even strikingly different than the 1992 Court in Casey. By all predictions the current Court would hand down another 5-4 decision in favor of those adamantly opposed to abortion on all levels.

There are presumably two questions to be asked in regard to the fears of those opposed to an Obama administration solely on the merits of abortion law: First, is it justifiable to fear a reverse in direction from that of the 2006 decision on the coattails of Obama alone? And second, is it really easier, both from the standpoint of logical argument and conscience, to attack those who oppose abortion and all of your values and standards than it is to attack those who support abortion and every other value and belief you hold?

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