Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Guest Commentary

What’s it going to be?

7/24/2013

The New York Times is at it again, just as it should be. David Leonhardt wrote a column entitled “Why abortion is not like other issues” (July 14). Seemingly, both Republicans and Democrats “can make a strong case that the other party has an extreme view.” It’s life vs. choice, folks, and somehow both are extreme, writes Leonhardt.

I found it interesting that just 40 to 50 years ago, conservatives never talked about abortion. It was a non-issue for most everyone. Humans occurred at birth. There was no taking a life with an egg. Then, oops! All of a sudden, life began with a sperm swimming upstream winking at all those eggs. Oops! Some sperm meets an egg. Oops again — one to three weeks a pregnancy. Keep in mind that a fetus cannot survive independently. It can survive with lots of help and love after birth. Life before birth? Not 40 or 50 years ago. Why today?

How about male domination? It’s on the rise in our so-called democracy, trying to catch up with the rest of the world. Just another history lesson. Males have always been dominant. Jesus tried to change things, but it didn’t work. So now we have Texas, North Carolina, Ohio and other states on the ready to continue taking away women’s rights.

“About eight in 10 Americans believe abortion is taking a life,” says Leonhardt.

Then a miscarriage also is taking a life. Why isn’t miscarriage ever mentioned? A miscarriage, defined by a dictionary, is an expulsion of a fetus — same as an abortion. The difference might be thought of as religious policy, not a “God” policy.

DM Art Center

Extremists tend not to look at the big picture. There is a factor here other than women’s rights. It might be thought of as “Earth’s” rights. More than seven billion people are on Earth today. That is 35 times the number of humans on Earth during the life of Jesus — a figure often put at two-hundred million or two-thirds the population of the United States. On an Earth level, more than one billion people do not have enough to eat or clean water or a shelter. That is more than three times the population of the United States. In the U.S., more than 40 million people are probably in the same sinking boat — not enough to eat, lack of clean water or adequate shelter.

Those figures are amazing — and extremists wanting to eliminate abortions is just about as amazing. Leonhardt ended his column with, “Most Americans believe that women should have control over their bodies and also that an abortion is akin to a death. Where they struggle is in deciding when each principle deserves to take priority.”

Forty years from now, what will be decided? Will religion or environment win? My bet is on the reality of Earth not being overwhelmed by extremists. Of course, I’m an optimist. CV

John Hicks is resident of Des Moines and a professor emeritus at Drake University.

Tacopocalypse