This week there haven't been any out and out questions asked, but inevitably during a debate on the internet, social issues come up. So even in the midst of the PPACA decision by the Supreme Court of the United States I've decided to go with social issues for the week.
The two "social issues" I will go over this week are abortion and same-sex marriage. In both of these cases, I differ from most conservatives greatly. For abortion, for instance, I base my stance not on religion or emotions but on logic (admittedly with a side of emotion). On same-sex marriage, my overall opinion is different than most conservatives, but I think how I reached that opinion was based on conservative thinking.
I am adamantly anti-abortion. While pro-abortion advocates look at this issue as one to do with a woman's reproductive rights, those of us who are anti-abortion look at it as a person's "right to life" issue. Many people say, "I thought conservatives were for less government interference, why do they always go after abortion?," and this is why. We are also against murder, rape, theft, fraud and other crimes. Since we believe that the baby is a human life, why wouldn't we want to make abortion illegal?
When I was younger, I was pro-abortion (though I called myself pro-choice). It wasn't until a couple of years after my daughters were born that I entered into a debate about the subject with some friends and my thoughts went back to when my wife brought home a sonogram of my oldest daughter at about three/four months. I remembered how my daughter looked, she was essentially a just a tiny person. That's why my opinion started to change (it's also my "side of emotion" I talked about above).
I then did some research and found that once the egg is fertilized by the sperm, it turns into a Zygote. A Zygote is a complete human being; it has it's own distinctive DNA (separate from the mother's and father's). The mother's body even has to release certain enzymes so that it's immune system does not attack the baby.
From then on, when I encountered pro-abortion arguments I would submit it to my own personal test. Here are a few examples.
"My body, my choice" — It's my opinion that the "choice" is made when you decide to conduct sexual relations. This is why I am not against abortion in cases of pape. In those instances, the mother did not have a choice in the matter. There are many instances of murder where extenuating circumstances come into play. self defense, for instance ... or to save another life (why I am not against abortion if the mother's life is in danger from carrying the baby full term).
"It's just a clump of cells" — We're all just a clump of cells.
"It isn't sentient" — To this I ask, at what age do we gain sentience? Certainly not at birth, yet no one who says, "It isn't sentient" would agree with killing a one day old baby.
"It's not a fully developed human" — We are not fully developed until our early 20s. Again, no one who says that would suggest killing an 18 year old simply because they aren't fully developed yet.
"If you outlaw abortion you have to outlaw masturbation/menstrual cycles" — This one always makes me laugh, not just because I'm slightly immature at times but because it shows a complete lack of understanding of how human reproduction works. Which I leave to you to figure out for yourselves.
And finally, "You can't arbitrarily choose when it's a person" or "abortion is okay if they are not viable outside the womb" — Firstly, the decision isn't arbitrary in my case, once the zygote is formed, it's a third human being. It's neither the father or the mother, but a product of both. A zygote is a complete human being, nothing else other than nutrition (which is the case for any animal through it's whole life) is needed. Secondly, science progresses all the time. A person at four months gestation may not be viable now but in twenty years it may be. A person's status, both as a person and legally does not change based on whether there is a medical procedure to save their lives or not. If that were the case, we would be allowed to kill people with terminal cancer.
The next subject is same-sex marriage. My opinion in this matter is both emotionally and legally based. I am for it, 100 percent. This wasn't always the case. I was always emotionally for it, but legally I went back and forth on the subject.
First, the emotional case. Why shouldn't two people who wish to join in the union of marriage not be able to do so? It doesn't effect anyone, it's really no one's business actually. While the above has always been true, I do not form my opinion on an issue based on emotion.
I am not a Vulcan, but when an issue effects a nation of 300 million people, if you decide things based on emotions then you have to consider 300 million different emotions, and that's just not a good way of doing business.
Second, the legal case. When I was against same-sex marriage, I wasn't worried about letting people of the same sex marry; I was worried about the "slippery slope" — that if you let one thing go, you have to start letting everything else go. "What's next?," I would say ... letting a man marry his dog or car? Why did I think that? Because I wasn't looking at marriage as a legal contract; I was looking at it through a purely traditional lens.
Later, as I looked into the issue further, I realized that the U.S. Constitution does not give the government the power to regulate marriage. I saw the same within the Rhode Island constitution as well. That changed my opinion on the legal aspect of same-sex marriage tremendously.
Unfortunately, through the years, many things became hinged on an issue that the government never even had the power to regulate. Everything from hospital visitation and the settling of an estate to not letting Utah become a state unless they outlawed polygamy.
I am totally opposed to DoMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and while I am against any state amending their Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, I do feel that they are well within their rights to do so.
As you can see from these two opinions, there's a good reason why I call this blog, "Ask A Conservative" and not "Ask Conservatives." My opinions and the reasoning behind them do not always reflect 100 percent of what a typical conservative may think nor why.
I'd also like to add, that while in a case of a public referendum I would vote to either outlaw abortion or allow same-sex marriage, neither issue would be likely to determine who I vote for candidate-wise. Economics and foreign policy are the two main issues I use to determine who my vote goes to, with these types of issues placing a distant third.
Thanks for reading the third installment of "Ask a Conservative." I invite you all to ask questions of me either through the comments below or through e-mail to email@example.com. I also invite you to check out my blog which currently has the first part complete in my exercise designed to repair Rhode Island economically. I'm looking for comments and suggestions there as well.