Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More on Pike and Choice

If yesterday's spate of press releases and op-eds outlining the stance of the Democratic candidates for the 6th congressional district on the touchy matter of abortion (see pa2010 for a recap) is anything to go by, it is a topic of interest.

One candidate, Doug Pike, has either an advantage or a handicap, depending on your viewpoint. He served on the Inquirer's editorial board for 14 years. Going through the editorials published during his years on the board can provide a lot of grist for the mill.

I've been reading through some of the editorials published under his byline. Since they have his name on them I'm assuming they are primarily his work. Given the online discussions yesterday, one in particular jumped out at me. In 1988 (August 8, 1988) an editorial with Pike's byline with the title "Setting Guidelines in Search of Answers on the Abortion Issue," was published. Keep in mind that this was published over 20 years ago. The editorial primarily discusses policy issues, where the laws stood at the time and what might change them. I found it a reasoned analysis of the issue, and one that many, if not most, people would agree with, even today.

Here are a couple of paragraphs:

At a rate nationally of 1.5 million a year, abortions are serving as a belated form of birth control. There's a gruesomeness to this wholesale disposal of what abortion backers insist is less than a baby and what anti- abortionists know is more than a glob. Even if abortions were slowed by one-third or even two-thirds by bolstering sex education and birth-control programs (many abortion foes imagine that facts and prophylactics have the opposite effect), the annual toll still should turn the stomachs of people who have quietly gone along with Roe v. Wade (1973) as to a woman's right to an abortion.

For most Americans, several circumstances pose an overwhelming rationale for the freedom to choose an abortion. One is to protect the mother's life - the only basis on which federal Medicaid dollars currently fund a financially needy woman's abortion. Yet cases of rape and incest seem just as compelling. To force a woman to bear a child by her attacker is to make the rape nine months long. (Last month the Senate voted to restore federal Medicaid funding for victims of rape and incest.)

Keep in mind the editorial was written in 1988. The Inquirer holds the copyright so I'm not reprinting the whole thing but check your local library to see if you have online access that far back to read the whole thing (or, for the truly curious, see if microfilm is available).

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