Sacrificing a little for the good of all









Sacrificing a little for the good of all
Why the Government must, at times,
infringe upon individual liberties.
The Abortion Issue

Brian L. Pedigo
12 July 1999
Throughout the history of our country, the State has been called on to place certain restraints on freedoms. These restraints have been instituted by all levels of government during times when action was warranted to provide for the protection of individual or group rights and public safety. These restraints, typically laws, have affected to varying degrees the absolute freedoms of people. Freedom, in this case, means the absence of external legal restraint to carry out actions of free will. Initially this seems to be undesirable, but when that act of free will is to violate the legal freedoms of one or more people then restraining the act is justified. The state must ensure that the rights, freedoms and liberties of individuals and groups are not impeded by the acts of others. The views or beliefs of one group of people, no matter how large or powerful, cannot be permitted to infringe on the rights of even one individual. This concept is the very base of our society. There is an issue today that is testing this concept, and that issue is abortion, The volatility of the topic and the perplexity of the laws and rulings associated with abortion leads to the question: How much should our government be involved in the abortion issue?
The diverse, and often volatile, points of view associated with the abortion issue often incorporate raw emotion powerful enough to lead to violent behavior. The difficulty in defining the morality of the issue perhaps provides a breeding ground for immoderate thinking brought on by the all or nothing stands of the supporters and opponents of the issue. This intolerance of the "other side" has led to many instances of intimidation and outright violence. When these acts of intimidation and violence occur the rights of the victim, guaranteed by our Constitution, are violated. Few topics summon as extreme a divergence between the sides as does abortion. One side believes in the right of the woman to choose if she wants to carry a fetus to term. This "Pro Choice" view has varying opinions on when the fetus is a human life and is thus protected by the Constitution. The other side of the slate believes that the fetus is a human life from conception, and the mother has no right to terminate the life of the child. This "Pro Life" viewpoint points out that abortion is essentially murder as the fetus is protected by the Constitution from the time of conception. The difference in viewpoints of the two sides is a classic example of an ethical and moral dispute.
Historically issues of moral difference place the opposing parties in a confrontational situation with little or no common ground between the two sides.
Subsequently, it is not unheard of for one side or the other to resort to intimidation and or violence to attempt settlement of the disagreement, or simply to "strike a blow" at the opposition. "Operation Rescue is an anti-abortion organization over a hundred thousand strong, which routinely sends thousands of it\'s "Shock Troops of the Lord" to block entrances of abortion clinic or to offer "sidewalk counseling" to women as they arrive for abortions. This counseling often involves waiving photographs of aborted fetuses in the women\'s faces and shouting scripture at them." This anti-abortion faction is bound by a belief to the very depths of its soul that abortion is nothing short of murder. Operation Rescue aspires to make illegal any and all abortions. Typically, but not entirely they are conservative Christians who uniformly believe that life begins at conception. Some members of this organization have been involved in exceedingly violent acts against clinics, Doctors and even staff members of the clinics. Operation Rescue, while large in number and very vocal in their views, is not entirely representative of the anti-abortion movement.
The Right to Life movement has become over the past twenty-three years an increasingly powerful force both socially and politically. Since the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, they have spent enormous amounts of time and money in attempts to reverse that decision. "In 1973 the Supreme Court\'s decision