An Editor-in-chief’s note and additional thoughts on the Dobbs decision

The EIC Note Part: You are going to see several posts from various Peach Pundit contributors in the coming days on the subject of the Dobbs decision to overturn Roe and Casey. I want you to understand that all of our contributors here are 100% free to write what they want on the subject and that even among our roster of contributors we may disagree with one another with what we post here.

And that’s okay.

We value the discussion. Further, I hope that one day when some future archeologist or historian is trying to make sense of this period in our history that all blogs, not just Peach Pundit, serve as a sort of chronicle of how we were feeling as a nation and a state. And so you are going to see diverse opinions here because we have a diverse set of perspectives on the concept of abortion.

And that’s okay.

The My Thoughts on Dobbs Part:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution

First, I recognize the emotional element of this decision for many. I respect those who want to protest the decision and think it is wrong. I lift up those who have spent billions of hours in prayer hoping that Roe would be overturned someday. I have had this conversation countless times with people over the years who have screamed in my face, been completely rational but still disagreed, and a few that have come around to understand why abortion-just-because is fundamentally wrong. Rarely do these conversations lack some hint of emotionality. It’s personal. I get it.

So I know I am asking a lot for you to allow me to address only facts from this point forward in the cold and emotionless manner that facts should be treated. Facts don’t care about my feelings. Facts don’t care if I disagree with them. Facts continue to be even if I do not believe them. Our reaction to them may create emotions but facts themselves are emotionless.

The first fact is that the Dobbs decision did not end abortion in the United States. Far from it. Dobbs reestablished the 10th Amendment in a way that previous courts had ignored. Our system of government has always been designed so that the federal government is supposed to be restricted to only enumerated areas of authority. If it isn’t specifically mentioned in the Constitution, then the power to regulate it goes back to the states. And that is exactly what Dobbs does; sends this back to the states to treat how they wish. And this is not unprecedented as states have varying laws on a whole range of topics. Abortion now joins their ranks.

As a result, when the courts grant Georgia’s request for the heartbeat bill to go into full effect, abortion will neither completely end in our state. Georgia’s Heartbeat bill allows abortion for any reason so long as a fetal heartbeat cannot be detected. It also allows for a process to take place so that abortions can be performed in the cases of rape, incest, or if the health of the mother is in jeopardy. So abortions do not end in Georgia under Dobbs.

But how do we get to that point? How do we justify restricting abortion or maybe, as some states might attempt, even eliminating it?

As a side note, although I am a struggling Christian, and as you will see, my faith has nothing to do with my views on abortion. For me this comes down to three questions, and their answers that inform my personal perspective. The same perspective I espoused before I was elected to the State House and still hold today. The perspective that at least the people in my House District supported enough to send me down to the Gold Dome to represent them.

Question 1, Where do our rights come from?

It is self evident that all human beings have rights. Where do they come from? People existed before the creation of the United States government and yet they had rights before that. So government cannot logically be the source of your rights. Our founding fathers believed that our rights were endowed upon us by our creator. Many believe this to be God, but even if you are not a spiritual or religious person another way to say this is that you have rights because you have been created human. The very nature of your existence as a person is all that is requisite for you to have rights. This is called natural law. It exists outside of government and what makes our country great and wonderful is that we are supposed to recognize that your natural rights exist even without government.

But I digress. The answer to the question is your rights are established by the nature of your humanity.

Also self evident is that your most basic right is to live.

Question 2, What is the role of government?

We have established government in this country, since the beginning, to protect the rights of the individual human being. We have not always been successful and even at times completely wrong about what a human is. In darker periods of our history we sometimes thought humans could somehow be property, but in order to get that to work logically we had to think of some humans as something less than human. But more on that in a second.

We have a whole bunch of reasons we have established government, but almost all of them come down to one foundational principle: government exists to protect our rights, which, again, we have because we are human, and the most basic right is to live.

The answer to the question is that the role of government is to protect the individual’s right to live.

Question 3, When do you become human and your rights begin?

To answer this question we turn to science. And as is the case with science, the definition has evolved overtime. When I was in high school I was taught in my biology class a similar definition to this:

Life is defined as any system capable of performing functions such as eating, metabolizing, excreting, breathing, moving, growing, reproducing, and responding to external stimuli.

Encyclopedia Britannica

But there are problems with that definition, for not everything that is alive meets all of those criteria and there are some things that are clearly not alive that meet many of those criteria. For example no one will argue that a neutered dog, no longer capable of reproducing, isn’t alive. Neither would they describe machinery that eats fuel, metabolizes it into power, moves, excretes exhaust, and can be programmed to respond to external stimuli as alive. This “definition” is more of a list of attributes and as a result scientists continue to debate the definition of life.

So in the 1990’s a NASA working group began using this, “Life is a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution.” And before you get tripped up on the meaning of “self sustaining,” it is actually a reference to the organism’s ability to have all of the information within it’s own cells to be capable of evolving, not that it is dependent on others to live. It’s what makes viruses not alive and bacteria alive. Here is a great article with an interview with one of the scientists who helped develop this working definition where he explains that in much greater detail.

Yes, I am using Darwinism as defense of the pro-life movement. Because this is driven by science, not faith.

Under our current understanding of life, which has evolved over the years, we know that a fetus is alive. By the time a fetus has it’s own individual heartbeat, separate from that of his or her mother’s, it has it’s own unique DNA, it’s own unique blood type, is eating, moving, and growing. He or she is alive. That moment the individual is created comes much earlier, at conception in fact. Further, at all stages of development this individual is always human. He or she is never anything else other than human. On a long enough timeline, the fetus is going to look an awfully lot like his or her parents.

Here is the uncomfortable truth about the abortion debate and the answer to the question: Your rights begin the moment you become human, which science tells us is conception.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, there have been dark chapters in not just our nation’s history but in world history where terrible atrocities have been committed against whole populations of people. Slavery, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing, genocide. Each time one of those atrocities occurred those perpetrating them had labeled their victims as something less than human. It is no different in the abortion debate, as those who argue to preserve Roe and Casey must dehumanize the fetus to justify their position. They ignore science, they ignore the rights of the individual, and they ignore the proper and justified role of the government to protect those rights.

Tying it all together.

If our rights come from the nature that we are human, and science tells us that we become human in the womb, government has a responsibility to protect the rights of that individual while they are still in the womb. And that includes that person’s right to live.

Don’t give up! I believe in you all.

A person’s a person, no matter how small!

And you very small persons will not have to die

If you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!

Dr. Suess

One last thing to note, there are some conditions in which you have the justifiable right to end the life of another person. Just because you don’t want them around is never one of them.

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