Mixed Salad of Thoughts

Friday, August 25, 2006

We decided/ I decided/ You decided

The "Morning After Pill" was passed by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug this week.

Abortion opponents threatened political retribution, however, and were displeased when President Bush backed the agency’s decision.

“Let there be no mistake about it,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, an anti-abortion group based in Virginia. “Today’s decision lies at the feet of President Bush and has created a lasting rift with the Catholic faithful who comprise a large part of his support base.”

I am always a bit torn between feeling that some people are extremists and trying to decide where the line is that determines if my own beliefs are extreme.

While I generally look at the hardcore “right to lifers” and wonder how it is that they can feel capable of making decisions in the lives of thousands of strangers they’ve never met. Although I believe in life beginning at conception, I have never been in the situation and hope to never be in the situation of having an unplanned pregnancy. I do not even guess at the immensity of that position and the consequences it entails. I would not ever choose to make a decision for someone else regarding the propriety of their decision one way or another. I consequently think of myself as someone who can hold a set of beliefs and values and standards for myself without feeling that I am judging others by those standards, much less forcing them to adhere to them. Just like in the matter of gay marriage and abortion, I feel there is a HUGE difference between disagreeing with a belief or a choice and creating a LAW to prohibit others from exercising that choice.

Then I progress on to the thought of government interference in our lives and think with some distaste of the thoughts of a certain friend of mine who believes government has no right to pull the “in the public’s best interest” card in ANY circumstance-- be it road construction, smoking bans, environmental regulations, or public health crisis and believes that supply and demand, public support/action, and individual choice will make these things work themselves out without government interference. I feel strongly that government SHOULD be involved in things that promote the health and safety of the public, the environment, and the individuals within the population it looks after. I am FOR seatbelt and helmet laws, gun control, environmental accountability, and drug control. No matter how much they may hinder an individual, I put the public well-being above that and believe that many times people will make bad decisions when it comes to money, power, and pleasure and that by making those decisions harder or impossible to make we are protecting people from themselves and paths that will make them a burden on others.

So what’s the difference between these two? How can I say that I am NOT expecting to live by my beliefs and standards and then say (in essence) “EXCEPT for”…wearing your seatbelt/helmet, using drugs, buying guns, when you intend to pollute, or otherwise put yourself or others in what I consider to be a bad position? aren't I just "creating a LAW to prohibit others from exercising that choice."


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