Webb: Abortion — religion, science, Constitution, policy

This is, and has been, a conversation I’ve had on and off the radio many times. It requires intellectual thought and personal beliefs to be properly placed whether in agreement or disagreement. Sometimes, there isn’t an answer. In my decades of talk radio, I found it almost cathartic to honestly say there isn’t an answer that will satisfy a personal belief. Some will read this article and assign a position to me. If so, you did not grasp my intent. I have deliberately not included any personal viewpoint. Can you, however you feel about the issue of abortion, do the same? 

Now that Roe v. Wade has been decided by the Supreme Court, let’s not forget Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi. The 2018 state law that banned abortion operations after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy was upheld by the Supreme Court. Abortion was not banned in the United States.  

Religion, science and the Constitution are not necessarily exclusive of each other. There is a difference between “belief” and “system.” Belief is individual. The system should work for individual beliefs but not necessarily to the exclusion of others. In a properly functioning society, there are outer boundaries where belief cannot cross. In some cases, the red line, as it’s often referred to, is not so easy to define. 

Religion 

Those who believe, as many denominations prescribe, that life begins at conception have an absolute right to their belief. They have a right to act individually as they believe.  Yet the imposition of this belief on others with divergent opinions is a contradiction if you believe in individual liberty. 

Science 

Science, as a principle of discovery, is not perfect and continues to evolve with the goal of providing better understanding. 

Science has evolved significantly since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Since then, science, through a variety of methods including sonograms, various medical scans and advanced DNA technology, can identify viability and increase the possibility of a successful pregnancy at much earlier stages. Even problematic pregnancies can be successful. Many nations, because of scientific advancements, have a 12-week limit on abortions.   

Similarly, scientific advancements also allow physicians to identify dangerous pregnancies that are not viable and may be a significant threat to the life of the mother.  

The Constitution 

Our individual rights as American citizens are sacrosanct. It is often difficult for one to disagree with another’s belief and at the same time respect that person’s right to their belief. In the case of abortion, this is often a conflict of religious belief, emotion, and logic. This is a point of disagreement and, to be fair one, that will not be fully reconciled. 

Policy 

Republican state legislatures can get it wrong. Policy is difficult because it cannot always be guided by a singular definitive point. Lawmakers  who seek to remove abortion without any medical exceptions,  or in such cases as rape  or incest, are wrong in attempting to dictate another person’s situation as an absolute or what the individual may have to reconcile, religious or otherwise. This singular and intellectual point will anger some and not others. 

There are  always exceptions in life, and while the exception most often should not become the norm, exceptions exist. A pregnancy from rape or incest in any form is a controversial part of the policy discussion. It is not as simple as the life or potential life in the womb, however one defines it. There is another life to be considered,  that of a woman who must face a life-altering reality on top of a horrific crime. An unanswerable question is, how do you protect the life of one and the life of the other? Both have value. Who decides? 

There is a generational factor that must be included in this discussion. This is not just about abortion. It is not just about Republican voters. Policy must be respective of the issues within the entire constituency and a realistic look at their demands. This does not mean succumbing to others’ demands.  

How religion, science, Constitution and policy must come together 

There is a way to allow reality, not necessarily agreement, by the many facets, people and opinions,  to be a better guide and still maintain a forward-looking, effective position. Most Americans favor limits on abortion and recognize that exceptions exist. It is important to reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies and remove as many exceptions as possible to arrive at a more tenable position. 

This article ends, but the conversation and the discussion from these and many other perspectives does not. There are many views to be considered and a population of more than 330 million to be governed. 

Webb is host of “The David Webb Show” on SiriusXM Patriot 125, a Fox Nation host, Fox News contributor and a frequent television commentator. His column appears twice a month in The Hill.