Monday, October 27, 2014

Human Life at Every Stage of Development - Does ND Value It?

 Next door to the state where I live voters will have on their ballot, this year, the the following article to be added to the North Dakota Constitution:

"The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected."

First a few items in the interest of transparency:
  •  Both side have claimed major interference from forces outside the state. While I grew up in North Dakota and came to love politics studying its history, I am currently a citizen of a neighboring state so I am one of those "outsiders."
  • Both sides claim that significant non-ND funding is driving their opposition. It appears that the Vote No side gets the prize for funds from outside. While my family makes a major contribution to ND taxes (via sale tax)each year, I am in no position to provide any significant funds at this time.
  • There have been endless side taking about the well being of those of us at the later stages of human development if this amendment is approved. My age is within months of the life expectancy (77.4, WHO, 2014) for males in the US.
  • It has been a long time since I have seen so many ad hominem attacks on Catholics as I have read in recent weeks. I am one of those terrible Catholics.
  • One trait I took on during my years in politics was to try to know my opponents' rational for their positions as thoroughly as possible. My initial analysis of this issue (its not just a ND issue) put me on the vote yes side. Thus I have read more editorials, letters and position papers from the vote no side.
  • Both sides seem to agree that the origins of this proposal is from proponents of a right to life. This is documented well in any list of declared organizations supporting the measure. I am one of those proponents. The label(s) "pro life" (and  "pro choice") are used by our media as designations of single issue positions. However, most supporters of a right to life see it as a human right of any human in any situation or stage of life, obviously not a single issue position.
The most surprising discovery in reading all those papers, letters and editorials from lawyers and doctors on  the Vote No side, was that many claimed that a "right to life" would result in denying seniors, such as myself,control over their own health care decisions. Now, in my understanding of language, logic and the meaning of rights in political thought, it seems to me to be just the opposite. In other word, it seems to me, a constitutional protection of my right to life would in fact protect my ability to control my own health care. The ability to control, accept or reject, or choose alternatives for health care seems to be an integral part of of my human dignity, my right to life.

My fraternal recommendation to friends and relatives on the other side of the state line is to vote yes on measure one.

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