Is There Any Middle Ground On Abortion?

Is There Any Middle Ground On Abortion?


Leonard Zwelling

For people on the extremes of this issue, the diehard pro-lifers and pro-choicers, the answer is no. You are either with them or you are the enemy.

However, the fact is there may well be a middle ground and some states may actually find it if, as is presumed, the Supreme Court upholds the Mississippi 15-week ban on abortion and perhaps overturns Roe v. Wade. If this does in fact occur, the rules on abortion will revert to being made by the individual states. Some states have already passed trigger laws that will go into effect the minute Roe is undone that ban abortions as early as six weeks after conception. Texas is one of these states. As you can imagine, these are mostly in Red America. But again, is there a potential middle ground and what could a middle ground look like?

First, abortion, if it occurs, should be as Bill Clinton has said, “legal, safe and rare.”

Second, sex education and free contraception ought to become a routine part of every woman’s (and girls’) health care and every man’s (and boy’s) responsibility.

Third, those abortions that do occur should be pharmaceutically-induced and not surgical procedures as frequently as possible and should be very early in a pregnancy.

Fourth, I see nothing wrong with the fifteen-week limit. Six weeks is ridiculous because some women really will not know that they are pregnant at six weeks’ gestation as they have irregular menses. But for the most part, fifteen weeks is a reasonable standard beyond which abortion should only occur under extenuating circumstances. So called “partial birth abortion” is barbaric and probably should be banned.

Fifth, everyone must acknowledge that abortion is a poor second choice to family planning, but people being people and reality being reality, unwanted pregnancies do occur as do rape and incest. There are legitimate times when abortion is not only medically indicated but also is a compassionate option that ought to be legal and safe.

So, how can we get there?

It is obvious that it will take some state to synthesize a law that is based on the above principles. Or, can you even imagine this? The Congress of the United States could pass such a law and send it to President Biden’s desk for signature.

A law like that would protect the rights of many unborn, but not all. There would still be abortions. One would hope they would indeed become rare, but again, people being people suggests that is unlikely and that is not the final issue.

This is. What is the cost of NOT having logical abortion rules?

There will become a black market for abortions in states that ban it. Many of those who need the procedure cannot travel from their Red State homes to California or New York. Black market abortions are unlikely to be safe. What on the black market is?

There is a middle ground on abortion and I believe that most Americans can get behind legislation that neither rigidly upholds Roe nor bans abortion entirely. Some state will figure it out. It won’t be Texas.

Lastly, a word on the Supreme Court leak. I have no insight into who would do this, but, as with finding the source of all leaks, who benefits? It seems to be those on the left who want to mobilize an unenthusiastic Democratic base to vote that might gain something here as the primaries start in earnest May 3. Leader Schumer is already indicating that Congress may finally pass a law upholding the right to an abortion. I doubt it will pass and it will take forever to do so and after November such a law has no chance because the Republicans are likely to take over the Congress. If the Democrats wanted to pass such a law, they should have done so years ago.

It has been reported that Justice Alito’s draft opinion is very harsh and may not be consistent with the beliefs of Justices Kavanaugh, Barrett or even Chief Justice Roberts. The leak may have been an attempt to mobilize public opinion toward the preservation of Roe even if the Mississippi law is constitutional.

This leak has completed the politicization of all three branches of our government and locks in a perpetual struggle in the culture wars. If you want to blame someone, how about Ruth Bader Ginsberg for not stepping down earlier when Obama was President and Mitch McConnell for jamming up Merrick Garland’s appointment by President Obama.

I had always looked upon John Roberts as a good leader. I now have my doubts if he cannot keep his own ship tightly sealed. This leak is a disaster regardless of the final outcome. Let’s hope some sane state legislature can work this out.

4 thoughts on “Is There Any Middle Ground On Abortion?”

  1. So many good points here. You might enjoy Peggy Noonan’s column about the topic. Her main point was that America was on a slow journey toward finding a middle ground on abortion, but an activist court ruined any chance we had (at the time) of compromise. Hence the continued division fifty years later.

    To me the leak itself is the story. Politics has officially infiltrated everything now. It’s disgusting and I’d love for someone to be held accountable, but that doesn’t seem to happen much these days.

    I appreciate your reasonable views on the procedure itself. I consider myself pro-life on principle but the way you laid it out is exactly how I view it. Probably how a lot of people view it. The problem is as always it’s the small number of “fringe” types on both sides that inexplicably get to set the terms of the debate. Case and point, I had coffee with a devout Catholic friend yesterday, and he’s the pro-life version of the pro-choice folks I see rending their garments on the capitol steps. Zero room for compromise. “My way or the highway.” And here we are…again.

  2. I must say I agree on the five points you made Doctor Zwelling. It is like closing the barn door after the horse is gone. We always focus on the effects instead of focusing on the causes. Each of your points should be discussed and common sense legislation should be crafted to bring common sense laws to fruition.

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