More and more, I’m seeing abortion in the news. It’s not a new issue, to be sure. But, for whatever reason, it’s taken center stage with fact that we’ve been attacked by a terrorist organization, that our sisters and brothers are now dying in an unending war, and our economy has crumbled around us. Why? If I had to guess, I would say the republican party is pushing the issue because they are losing on so many others (ecpscially the economy). And, like the lemmings we are, we go ahead and accept this as a valid issue to ruminate and wring our hands about. Yes, abortion is an important issue. But, it’s mind-bendingly important to a small, vocal group of people. They have led us to believe that we mus exhibit the same amount of moral indignation as they do, or risk being labeled a “baby murderer.” Horrors. It is an excellent marketing campagin. And it is working. 10 years ago, this was a fringe issue; now it’s center-stage. I’ve even found my moral compass being spun a few times when entering these murky waters.

Understand, these types of questions are not floating-around randomly. The flood of opinions is directly related to the presidential race we’re currently in the midst of. Why is this important? For every question to a politician of their stance on the issue of abortion, there is the implicit expectation of action on that issue. When right-wing theocrats attempt to force the question onto a candidate for an important public office, they expect that candidate to pursue the issue in government as policy. If the politician doesn’t, these operatives claim the candidate had lied because of his or her inaction. This question is never asked just to gauge the moral character of a candidate; It’s meant to solidify intents for future policy.

How do we solve this debate? Who is right? Is this a moral issue or a legal one? Who is more important: The Woman or the Fetus? Ignore for a moment that these fringe issues steal our focus from the immediate dangers of daily lives. Ignore the political, financial, and religious history of this debate. Even ignore me, the man behind the curtain, and your deep speculation on what my beliefs may be. None of this will help to lay the issue to rest. The ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’ is a simple imperative implied by the fact that these questions are being asked in the first place. If the questions weren’t being asked, there’s nothing to solve. If they are asked, there is only one logical course of action. And, amazingly, this technique works with any issue.

On a side note, there is a moral conundrum here. Unfortunately, it has no solution. The rift begins is religious doctrine and personal empowerment. These factors are different in every individual. That’s why we call them “individuals.” The sooner we understand this, the easier things will become. You see, for one woman a baby (or more specifically, a fetus) is a fragile, beautiful, miracle, gift from god. To another woman, a fetus is a reminder of a horrific rape, or worse, a parasite. Both over the top? Yes. Extreme? Yes, but both true. Bible-bangers may have a difficult time equating a pregnancy with an incredibly long tapeworm or a bad case of crabs, but for a woman who has been victimized or has no other options in her situation, a pregnancy is not only unwanted, but unbearable. Both sides of this issue exist in our society today, and both are equally valid.

Oh yes, the solution. First you must ask yourself the question. What question, you ask? The Question! What exactly is it that we’re debating about; what need isn’t being satisfied. For the ‘Abortion Issue’, the question is :

Should we have abortion made illegal, and enforced as such, in the U.S.?

Read the question again. There is no implied stance. There are no leading phrases. It is a simple, basic, question. Sometimes, just stating the question is an act of problem solving. Oddly, in many abortion debates, asking this question is occasionally seen as an attack on one particular side or another. Now that we have a question, we must ask if there’s an outstanding debate on the issue, with a severe division in the population as to it’s answer.

Yup. I’d say there was. Big ‘ole division.

The solution? As for the question of public policy (which is what we’re really talking about), as long as a moral ‘truth’ remains ambiguous, a government cannot have an official position. Personal positions are fine as long as those positions are not translated into public policy. At that point, they will not only have the backing of those people who will claim the moral victory over a perceived wrong, but they now can use militaristic enforcement of that position over an entire population. That is the danger of moral laws… they carry the penalty of arbitrary death by police officer for any situation.

This in not a moral hyperbole. This is a replay of documented history of our society (See, well…any DEA case). New laws lead to new prosecutorial directives. These directives lead to new police investigations. Police investigations evolve into sting and tactical operations. Tactical operations lead to civilian & perpetrator deaths. This is the accepted price of all laws. It is a price (and benefit) that we must believe in to have a just society. Does your belief warrant this type of action?

Having trouble weighing the prices? Try this one instead. Here is the test that must be passed: Does your moral belief carry a weight greater than the lives that will be lost from it’s enforcement as a Law? If a clear majority of the people believe that it does, then yes. A population would be willing to risk life and limb to ensure the consistent enforcement of that rule in society. If the moral is ambiguous, then no. The law’s danger from it’s enforcement is too great for the moral is claims to protect.

Do you want a anti-abortion SWAT team shooting a Gynecologist holding a scalpel as she sits in front of her patient? Remember, police would have the right do this. The doctor was armed.

In a society where there is a great moral consensus on the abortion issue, a scenario like the one above would make the news papers as a tradgety, but would be acceptable. In a society where the moral is still unclear, a story like that may spark a revolution. That, more than anything else, is why governemnts usually shy-away from morality, shahira-type, laws. That’s why tests like these are useful. Volitility is dangerous for govermnents, and government jobs. And in the end, you can always trust that a politician will always be more worried about his or her job, than any one issue.

Makes me wonder, however, how many laws on the books today would actually stand-up to these moral tests.