By: Robert D. Burger/Opinion Contributor
There is a tremendous amount of misinformation promulgated about Issue 1, the proposed Ohio amendment that would legalize abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. This amendment is extreme, goes much farther than Roe v. Wade, and would erase all existing laws in Ohio pertaining to abortion, even permitting partial birth abortion.
Everyone on both sides of Issue 1 knows that the clause “to protect the life or health of the mother” can be very loosely interpreted and used to justify an abortion for nearly any reason whatsoever, throughout all nine months of pregnancy, right up to the moment of birth. False ads claim that if Issue 1 fails, women who have miscarriages would be at risk of not getting necessary emergency medical care. This is simply not true. No current or proposed law would prevent the mother from receiving the essential medical care that she would need when experiencing a miscarriage.
If Issue 1 passes, any parental consent laws regarding abortion would be erased. This lack of parental consent would shield the perpetrator of sex crimes from prosecution, since abortion providers and sometimes even young mothers are reluctant to report cases of abuse/rape to legal authorities. In a U.S. study on “Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking,” more than half of the pregnant victims of sex trade acknowledged that they had been forced to have an abortion. Be certain that sex traffickers in Ohio enthusiastically support Issue 1.
State law prohibits me from performing an elective knee surgery on a minor without parental consent, yet Issue 1 would permit the same patient to undergo an elective abortion without any knowledge or consent of her parents. Do we in Ohio deny that the child in the womb is in fact a human being and deny that he/she has any legal right to exist, right up to the moment of the baby’s birth?
We are heading down a very slippery slope, with more radical abortion laws than almost all free countries in the world. How can we realistically hope to live in a free and safe society, where violence and murder become much less the norm, when we legally dehumanize the most innocent among us, the unborn baby in the womb, sanctioning the baby’s death by abortion, throughout all nine months of pregnancy?
There are moral truths, including the precept that the murder of another human being (except in the narrow spectrum of self-defense) is wrong. Do we apply this moral truth selectively, perhaps only to prevent crime and gun violence, or does this principle apply more universally, to protect those with disabilities, mental illness, the elderly, or the infant in the womb? What class of human beings gets selectively excluded? And who decides?
While some might contend that “one should not impose one’s religious beliefs upon others,” most all of us would concede that the killing of an innocent human being is morally wrong. If we as a society don’t act to protect our fellow human beings, we have completely lost our moral compass and any sense of the “common good” in our laws and our government. We can live in denial about what abortion is, we can dehumanize the preborn baby in the womb, hiding under a cloak called “choice,” “privacy,” or “reproductive rights,” but none of these terms can change the harsh reality that every abortion terminates a human life prematurely.
Make no mistake, Issue 1 is extreme, far-reaching, and not reflective of the values and beliefs of most in Ohio, despite how this is packaged in media ads. Surveys demonstrate that a significant majority of Americans believe that abortion should be banned beyond 24 weeks gestation, the time after which the infant is viable and able to survive outside the womb. If Issue 1 passes, any and all restrictions on abortion would be removed, and a baby could be aborted for nearly any reason at all throughout all nine months of pregnancy, right up to the time of birth.
Is this what we in Ohio really want and believe is right? I urge you in the strongest terms to vote “No” on Issue 1 this November.
Dr. Robert R. Burger is a board member of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati and an orthopaedic surgeon with Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.