IDEMA: The politics of abortion

Aug 29, 2012


Much could be said here. However, I will merely raise several issues that have not received enough attention in the mass media.

First of all, I think the main issue here is power — power over women by men, power in terms of getting votes to attain political power. My position on abortion is that of the Episcopal Church — that abortion is wrong with three exceptions: rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger. I believe that abortion should be a woman's choice; hopefully after a discussion with clergy, family, doctors, etc.

It seems that men like Todd Akin cannot accept abortion under any circumstances. He and Paul Ryan attempted in 2011 to legislate a "personhood" law, which would give a fertilized egg all the rights of being a person. Such a law, if passed by the federal government, logically, would make abortion murder. It seems to me that these two representatives want power over women, limiting their options to zero if pregnant.

Now, with the uproar over Akin's comments, Paul Ryan has changed his position on abortion to include the exception for rape, which now is also Mitt Romney's position. The obvious reason for the change is because of the fear of losing the votes of women.

Mitt Romney was pro-choice while governor, but changed his position when running for president. This may have been a result of a crisis of conscience, as he claimed, or a desire to attain the nomination of a political party which wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.

As I write, there is a debate within the Republican platform committee about whether to include any exceptions in a hard-line abortion position. Will the ideology stay pure, or will it be adjusted in order to attain more votes from women?

When does life begin? Any biologist would argue that cells which begin dividing after conception is "life." If dividing cells were found on Mars, the headline would be "life found on Mars."

But when do dividing cells become a person with, to use a religious term, a soul? That has never been agreed upon by the Church or anybody else. Aquinas thought that in the third trimester the baby became a person with a soul. We are talking about a process, not one magical moment when a fetus becomes a person with a soul.
Babies can survive after 28 weeks in the womb. So, the intent of personhood legislation should be taken seriously, although calling a fertilized egg a person seems to stretch a valid point.

At lunch the other day with a friend, we talked about these issues, and he argued that if my daughter got raped, the government should force her to have that child. My reply was that this victimizes a woman twice. Secondly, I pointed out, who knows what gets transmitted genetically by a rapist to a fetus? Not to speak of what incest would do to a child genetically. Once again, in all cases, and especially in cases of rape and incest, the choice should be the woman's choice.

The Democrats are using the politics of abortion to attain votes just as the Republicans are. I wish we could keep such personal decisions out of our politics.

Where the politics of abortion do come into play, however, is in the selection of the next Supreme Court judge. Chances are that President Obama would appoint a judge that would not vote to overcome Roe v. Wade, and Romney would appoint a judge who would.

Perhaps that is the biggest issue in the upcoming election — not war, not jobs, not the deficit, but who will control a pregnant woman: herself, or the government, comprised of mostly men.

— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune religion columnist



If someone was to injure a pregnant female at 10 weeks pregnant, and the baby was killed, that person can be charged with murder. But a doctor can legally do the same thing intentionally with the mother's blessing and it is called an abortion. How is the same act treated so different in the eyes of the court?

Tri-cities realist

MacUser, very good point, and one that begs serious consideration if we are to call ourselves a civilized nation. I can not fathom if I were conceived and born due to a rape. But if I was conceived, and subsequently aborted, I wouldn't have to worry, I would have been denied life. However, if my mother believed strongly enough in life and the powerful ways of God, perhaps she would choose to give me the opportunity of life. Personally I believe the issue of abortion should be left to each state to decide, not the federal govt, since those powers not expressly granted to the federal govt by the US Constitution, are reserved for the states.

I was a bit surprised that Rev. Idema chose not to explore the healing powers that God could provide to a rape victim and her child. He claims he wants religion and politics kept separate, yet, more and more his columns reflect his political views rather than his religious views. And yes I know the line between religion and politics is often blurry.


I think that the whole idea that women should have control of their body is just a front for not having the guts to state that abortion is wrong. It's easy to hide behind being politically correct. This is not a women's right issue, it is a human rights issue. I do believe the case of a mother's life vs. an unborn child's life is the exception.

A woman is also victimized (as well as traumatized) twice if she is raped and then has an abortion. Nothing is going to erase the trauma of being raped; certainly not aborting the child. I believe a support system needs to be set up for these cases; there are many couples who would like to adopt a child, etc. Solutions can be found if we try hard enough.


Abortion is a private, personal decision that a woman should make with guidance from family, faith, and doctor. Women have the ability to make this kind of decision for themselves - they do not need government to invade their privacy, dictate what they must do, impose a religious belief, and take away their constitutional right to choose. Why is it that our current extreme conservative legislators want to promote "personhood", but at the same time, once that baby is outside the womb, want to remove education for the mother and child, health care for the mother and child, or social safety net that would help a vulnerable, disadvantaged, or sick mother get back on her feet and be able to support and raise her vulnerable, disadvantaged, or sick child. Usually, these same people who want to give personhood to the sperm and egg union are also all about gun and assault weapon rights, capital punishment, and war. The role of limited government is not to dictate to and remove the rights of women, but to work to make our economy strong so that women have the confidence that they can care for, support and raise up their children. We know that when the economy is good, abortions go down, when people are out of work or working at minimum wage jobs with very little hope for improvement, abortions go up. The right to a strong economy, education and basic health care for women and children should be a top priority for government.


It is not a right to kill our children. Baby women die in abortions.


Political, political its not political if you murder your unborn its barbaric. The law of this land allows us to our shame to kill our unborn children. i have to watch long heartfelt commercials late at night, filled with dramatic music and abused dogs and cats in an effort to raise money for some group. Where's the commercial for the little innocent children who are offered to the god of choice. History is ripe with many cultures that have sacrificed their children to an unseen gods in our case it is called choice.
PS i hold a second citizenship that says "thou shall not kill" that trumps choice.


I agree that abortion is a personal decision, but wonder why the Tribune gives Rev. Idema a forum on every topic in the world! This paper prints creative writing exercises about such weighty problems as putting kids to bed (a marathon, we are told), and no longer prints letters to the editor regarding candidate choices. Is this really what a small town paper needs to highlight - one retired reverend's opinions and touchy feely tripe? This paper needs to fulfill the role that all small town papers have held since the start of this great country - that of a true forum on issues and the opinions of a great number of people. This should include the editors of the papers. Take stands. Allow others to do the same. Make a difference, instead of letting your writers highlight worthless fictional stories.


@theQuin...This is the opinion section, where writers write stories and allow others to comment. Just because it is not strictly politics does not mean is is a useless story. Frankly, I am absolutely sick of politics and like to come on here to read the opinions of others on other issues, regardless if I agree with them or not. God forbid we actually get to come on here and have some fun sharing our opinions on "worthless fictional stories". Lighten up; if you don't like the Reverend's submissions, don't read them...that's your right, as it is his to write for a paper he's been asked to write for. If this were all politics, I, along with many, would probably be reading elsewhere. Contact the paper and ask if you can write an article for them in the opinion section regarding topics you find interesting. Don't just complain that others are given a voice in this "small town paper".


What about the men who don't want their child aborted? It's the woman's choice because they incubate the child for nine months, but what if the man wants to raise the child after the woman gives birth? I think in extreme cases, it should be up to the woman- for the same reasons listed above; rape, incest, and if the pregnancy is threatening the woman's life. But, any other circumstance I think both parties (mother and father) should have rights in making the choice, because both parties were involved in creating the child. If the woman wants to walk away and let the father raise the child completely, that should be up to the father to commit to that and allow her to walk away as opposed to killing his child. She would have a right to child support if she wanted to keep the child and he didn't, the same should apply to if a man wants to keep the child and the woman doesn't. Not only are the women of abortion effected, the men are also and they are given absolutely no right at all in the matter of abortion. Most of the time they are just told they have to pay for it. A man has to live with the decision if he is made aware of the pregnancy and it is terminated by choice of the woman. I know men who's lives have changed drastically because a woman who was carrying their child decided to abort it, it's really not a fair decision to make when the child is just as much the man's as the woman's. I am a mother, I had an unplanned pregnancy and chose to keep my son. It's the best decision I have ever made in my entire life...and never really was a "choice", it was a life. I can't imagine being a man and having to sit idly by while my child is killed and I have no choice in the matter. It would be horrifying and would torment me the rest of my life. I think if a woman is going to choose to abort a child, she needs to NEVER tell the man who got her pregnant in the first least spare him if you're not going to give him a choice in the matter.


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