Letter to the Editor

Civil discourse

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

I appreciate the mutuality that has developed in discussion between Vergene Donovan and I about Steve King's recent rape and incest remarks. It illustrates the power of civil discourse. I will add that when confronted, post-remarks, with the example of a 10-year-old incest victim who would lose her life carrying the resulting pregnancy to term, Congressmen King demurred, deferring an answer as to whether he would view the termination of such a pregnancy acceptable.

The example is extreme, but it illustrates one of the roots of the abortion debate. One of them is respect for life. Another is misogyny. The fourth-grader in question was involved in two involuntary acts, ovulation and copulation. She had no volitional role in creating her circumstances. Nor in fact did she have decision-making power in relation to how to deal with the pregnancy. That decision fell to her parents.

A society that signs children's death warrants for any reason truly is dysfunctional … including a society that chooses to prefer a potential human life over one already fully created and invested in. For those who choose to use the Bible as a moral guide (although its applicability to our government practices is questionable in a multi-religious society founded on religious freedom), they can refer to Exodus 21:22-25. It’s from a different social context, but makes clear that causing the end of a pregnancy is less serious than taking the life of the pregnant herself.

It happens that my daughter-in-law has a medical condition that would not, in the case of a birth control failure, prevent her from carrying a pregnancy successfully to term … but might well cause her to die postpartum. Sometimes choices have to be made. Should she ever be confronted with such a decision, I want that choice in her hands … not my son's …not mine (as inestimably precious as my existing young grandson by my daughter is) … and not Steve King's.

This subject will never be anything but agonizing for all of us, but let’s be clear that extreme anti-abortion arguments are as much anti-female as they are pro-life. My appreciation goes once again to Vergene for the quality of this dialogue.

Karen A. Larson

Spirit Lake