Jay Ambrose: Abortions are a matter of harm, not freedom

The midterms are coming and governmentally reckless Washington Democrats, once quietly woeful about their chances to maintain congressional majorities, suddenly have higher expectations as many voters seem to agree with them that it is fine to kill unborn babies. In some states, abortions are suddenly facing tough restrictions as many call the legislative perpetrators, mostly Republicans, heartless, anti-feminist and downright religious.

Recognizing he is on the popular side, President Joe Biden emphasized abortion at a recent fundraiser to help Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections with cash and tough talk. He said the fetal annihilation, producing 62 million lifeless bodies since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, was really about freedom. In another reported abortion speech, this one in Illinois, Vice President Kamala Harris said, “Extremist, so-called leaders trumpet the rhetoric of freedom while they take away freedoms.”

These verbal gouges of Republicans against abortions left me inspired, not by way of imitation but by way of locating common sense. I found it and I hope Harris will forgive me for trumpeting an old saying: “The freedom to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” If that sounds extreme, let me further explain that even freedom has its limits, a chief one being to do no harm. If that were not a widely shared view, our nation of liberty would soon be a nation of chaos and bloody noses all over the place.

Abortion even in early stages does harm. Pregnant women and medical assistants are not simply getting rid of troublesome gobs of tissue but are instead ending lives begun at conception and denying such potential miracles as love, beauty, humor, joy and cognitive awareness. This is a not just any harm, but a final harm, the eradication of endless possibilities often leading to long-term grief for a self-inflicted loss.

Yes, there are instances when abortion is justified, certainly when the mother’s life is endangered, and yes, childbirth can lead to lives redirected in unwelcome ways and leading to serious struggles in tough circumstances. Yet, even then, confident perseverance can march to something larger in one’s heart than might otherwise occur, especially with the unique little one nearby with a smile on its happy face and a cuddly body begging to be hugged. There are also charitable groups happy to help and there is an intrauterine device that hardly ever fails as a contraceptive.

As obvious as obvious gets, and by way of balance, I hereby report that men play a major role in all of this, maybe by way of sexual recklessness and often, when unmarried, paying for the unborn baby’s death to escape later monetary obligations. Sometimes the man will simply walk away from his responsibilities while the married father has no right to determine the abortion decision one way or the other. Some states have already overreached with restrictions. Criticism should in some cases be accompanied by lawsuits testing whether the misdeeds are legal.

What is especially disturbing right now is that morality, the importance of marriage and family and the crucial societal need to respect the weak and innocent are being set aside in unreflectively callous politics. While women have too often been treated as secondary human beings, it’s not an answer to treat girls and boys still in the womb as in no way human at all, as just a form of inconvenient, disposable trash. We instead need people with the soulful insight of Christians helping to end widespread and frequent infanticide in the Middle Ages.

Roe v. Wade was a Supreme Court decision justified by pasting together various constitutional passages implying an obscure right to privacy without a convincing explanation of how this gave a woman the right to kill an unborn child. Even this decision allowing abortions was far from absolute, enabling states to prohibit them in late stages of pregnancy, as 43 did and some are now undoing. The recent Dodd decision turned to democracy, constitutionally affirming that here was a decision to be made entirely by elected state legislatures, in effect leaving a hotly debated moral matter up to the people instead of a Supreme Court error.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at [email protected]. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.