Glenn K. Beaton: What about the adoption option?

Glenn K. Beaton
The Aspen Beat

Americans abort over half a million fetuses a year. A single organization with the ironic name of Planned Parenthood prevents parenthood in this way several hundred thousand times a year.

Compared to the rest of the world, our abortion laws are lax. Only about 30% of countries allow abortion simply because a woman wants one. The abortion laws of Finland, Germany, France and several other European countries are more stringent than American law.

Some fetuses survive abortions, and are intentionally killed on the operating table. Hard data on this is difficult to obtain, of course, but in the macabre clinic of abortionist Kermit Gosnell it apparently happened fairly often.

A disproportionate number of aborted fetuses are racial minorities. Nearly as many black fetuses are aborted as are born. Altogether, 19 million black fetuses have been aborted in the United States since Roe v. Wade — about triple the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Some states are nonetheless liberalizing their abortion laws further. For example, New York recently enacted legislation permitting abortion up to the moment of birth. One gets the impression that this type of legislation is not because there’s a pressing need, but simply to taunt the other side.

Other states are going the other way. They seek to outlaw abortions except under very narrow circumstances (though the law would apply to the performer of the abortion, not to the woman receiving one).

This is all tragic, but here’s the weird thing. While we kill thousands of fetuses a day, couples and singles desperately seeking to adopt and raise a child are on waiting lists extending for years.

Why this disconnect? Why are we slaughtering lives on a genocidal scale, considering making criminals out of doctors and potentially risking the health of women, all while making adoptive parents wait for years?

It’s because today’s politics is not about solving problems. It’s about bashing the other tribe. The reason politicians on both sides do this is because it works. It gets them elected and re-elected. We should blame ourselves for that, and should do something about it.

In the meantime, let’s stop weaponizing babies, criminalizing doctors, endangering women, demonizing men and bashing the other side. This is too important. Lives are at stake.

And let’s put aside the unanswerable questions of theology and philosophy like: “When does a living fetus become a living baby?”

Let’s instead talk about solutions. Here are mine.

First, allow prospective adoptive parents to sponsor pregnant women through their pregnancy. The sponsorship would entail paying for the woman’s medical costs together with a stipend in recognition of the significant hardship of pregnancy and labor.

Drug tests could be a mandatory part of the woman’s medical checkups during the sponsored pregnancy.

Second, make contraception available over the counter without a prescription, including the pill. Republicans recently suggested this, and Planned Parenthood strongly objected.

Third, make kindergarten and day care available at no cost to parents nationwide. We do this for first-graders because it makes us a better society with better citizens. Are pre-kindergartners any less important or less vulnerable?

Finally, limit abortion in the second and third trimesters to cases where the woman’s life is legitimately threatened. When a woman aborts for convenience, it’s reasonable to ask her to make the decision within three months, especially if there’s a real alternative of putting the delivered baby up for adoption by eager parents.

Insofar as abortion is concerned, I’m with Hillary Clinton who said back in 2008 that it should be “safe, legal and rare. And by rare, I mean rare.” (In her 2016 campaign, she deleted all three references to “rare” from her formula in a concession to the abortion lobby, which apparently wants abortion not to be rare.)

I know neither side will like my solutions. One side will say that a fetus is just a blob of cells that can be disposed of whenever and however the woman to whom it is attached dictates.

That argument is just not scientific. Ultrasound images show that a fetus in the later months of pregnancy looks and even acts like a baby, not a blob of cells. Studies show that at least by the third trimester, a fetus feels pain.

Sometimes that side of the debate also contends that as a man I have no right to an opinion on this issue because no fetus has seen fit to attach itself to me.

That argument is just stupid. It’s like saying I have no right to an opinion against animal abuse because I’ve never given birth to a dog. Having an opinion about legal and moral issues of the day is not only my right, but as a citizen it’s my obligation.

The opposite side to the debate may say that ending the life of a living fetus at any stage after fertilization constitutes infanticide. OK, that’s a bright line. But it’s one that produces inhumane outcomes in cases of rape, incest, horrible deformities or disease.

In short, the absolutists and polarizing protagonists will say what their agenda dictates without regard to hard realities.

And so maybe my solutions, disliked by both sides, are good ones. Anybody who thinks abortion is a simple problem that lends itself to simple solutions hasn’t really thought through it.

I welcome other suggestions. We surely can stop performing hundreds of thousands of abortions a year. We surely can stop this slaughter.

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