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The Abortion Wars, Part Three: Can We Declare a Truce and Live in Peace?

Our final installment offers solutions to this issue, hoping to move the stalemate toward sensible debate.

After decades of divisive conflict, with countless casualties, TMM asks:

Can we agree both sides (pro-life and pro-choice) have legitimate beliefs – and neither side will surrender?

Can we find solutions neither side is HAPPY with – but both sides can LIVE with?

Starting with a no-brainer: can Americans of good will agree violence is unacceptable to resolve this disagreement?

If so, let’s make that Plank One in our TMM Abortion Platform:

BOTH sides reject and condemn violence, in any form, in pursuing their goals.

After that, issues become complicated. But let’s continue.

Can we imagine the horrific situation a woman is in, upon discovering she is pregnant against her will, after rape or incest? Then, far worse, if she were forced to bear that child and raise it? Or when she learns delivering a baby could kill her or destroy her health?

Can we agree that woman herself should make the painful decision whether to terminate that pregnancy? If so, that becomes Plank Two.

In Part One, we learned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling, decreed abortion legal until fetal “viability” was reached (“potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid”), approximately 20 – 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

We learned recent “heartbeat bills” in some states would outlaw abortions anytime after a physician detects fetal heartbeat – as early as six weeks.

Many progressives want Roe’s allowance to stand. Many conservatives want the six-week allowance as the new standard.

Simplistic though it is, sometimes “splitting the difference” can settle disputes where both sides are entrenched.

If we take 22 weeks as the average viability timeframe, the current Roe allowance progressives want; and 6 weeks as the allowance conservatives want, that leaves 16 weeks between those two positions. If we split the difference, that leaves 14 weeks as the midpoint (half of 16 = 8; 6 weeks’ allowance + 8 = 14; 22 weeks’ allowance – 8 = 14).

Could we compromise and set a new standard? For Plank Three, agree that up to 14 weeks, abortion will be legal at the pregnant woman’s discretion?

Simplistic solutions? Yes. Unlikely to be enacted? Yes. Has anything else come close to resolving this divisive issue for decades? No.

Could the President make this a high priority and pressure Congress to resolve it by passing laws? Yes, but this President has an abysmal record of bringing people together to compromise for the greater good; and he is clearly on the extreme pro-life side of this issue. And Congress has an abysmal record of resolving difficult issues – so don’t expect miracles on this one, either.

That leaves the courts. With Republicans packing them with pro-life judges in recent years, it’s clear how they’ll eventually settle it.

Moderates wanting women to retain the right to safe, legal abortions, with reasonable restrictions, better push moderate solutions like these – and vote for candidates who support them, at all levels.

If we don’t, it’s only a matter of time until access to safe, legal abortions is no longer a right women can count on.

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