Charles Rehn - Democrat for President 2004

A Conversation With America
Questions That Must Be Answered
Web Edition (c) 2002, 2003 Charles Rehn All Rights Reserved






I've seen women deal with the personal trauma of having an abortion, believing it was the right thing to do under their circumstances, but regretting it. I've known women who have kept the child, and I've seen very few of them who have been able to overcome the burden of raising a child and, say, having a successful career. 

We see the stories on tv of people persevering and overcome their obstacles, and it's incredibly important to be reminded that it's possible. But, it's not typical.  There are tremendous obstacles to be considered regarding teen pregnancy and pregnancy that can not be afforded.

Back in the early 60's, I'd remember my parents talking about creating a family.   At some point, they'd always say "If you worry about being able to afford to have a child, you'll never have kids." 

I completely understand that way of thinking. But, I also believe that in order to have healthy children, communities and a healthy nation, we have to be sure the environment exists to have our families, and our society generate it.  There's no magic about it.   What you sow, you reap.

I would find it difficult to believe that anyone would take satisfaction in ending the possibility of bringing life into the world, of choosing to deny oneself the joy of raising a child who is actually a part of you.

The sadness I've seen in the women I've known who have had abortions is based on the personal loss they feel, and not due to guilt because of religious values, though there are those pressures as well.

I am not an advocate of abortion. I am an absolute advocate of choice.

I don't view abortion as an acceptable method of birth control in the same way I view using "the pill".  Abortion is an extreme choice, morally and physically, and it should never be taken lightly.

I believe that abstention is a worthwhile discipline for parents to recommend to young adults if that's what they believe is important and appropriate.  So long as they are equally consistent in teaching discipline to values and traditions in all areas of their lives, it will be effective.

It is not for elected officials to promote a personal preference as a matter of policy if it limits the personal preferences of another faction, or to promote division on an issue worthy of rational discussion. They should not discount scientific evidence that contradicts their own personal preferences based on the teachings of their preferred religion.

Supreme Court rulings on pornography and adult entertainment suggest that what determines indecency and/or family and moral values is based on local and/or individual consensus, therefore supporting the idea that you can not constitutionally legislate morality, and an opportunity to exercise reasonable individual choice must be provided.

Murder is an example of something where it is appropriate to legislate, whether you consider it having to do with morality or not, because of the harm it inflicts on others. At that level, it is not a moral issue. It is an objective, factual argument regarding the impact of one person's deliberate actions on another, in terms of physical harm and constitutional rights.

That, of course, is what's being claimed as one of  the core issue in abortion.  I believe it is a legitimate question, but it is only a small part of the greater debate.

Abortion, first of all, is a means that legislation and criminality will not stop. Granted, it may be discouraged via oppressive means, but, like the prohibition of alcohol and marijuana, it will not end because of a law against it.

I remember my parents having discussions on this matter in the early 1960's.   Having four daughters, it seemed to give the issue even greater relevance. Their discussions often left them finding common ground when they concluded that women, without the choice of abortion, would be left to "back-alley abortionists", serious bacterial infection and possible death and possibility of arrest,  with the only real alternative being stigmatization, broken marriages, the inability to break out of poverty, lack of education and earning potential, poor health care... all the things that affect the quality of life of themselves, the child and our society.

I believe those issues remain valid, just as I respect the claim of those who believe that abortion is murder.  I understand their position. And I fully endorse their right and responsibility to train their children to not undergo abortions, if that is what they believe in, and that is what they believe is appropriate.  But, I do not believe they have the right to legislate that point of view.

Regardless of how the arguement is presented, the truth for those who oppose abortion is that it is based on religious values.  Quite simply, religious values should not be promoted by the government. Period.

It used to be that we considered a fetus "life" upon birth.  Now, we are asking for legislation that defines sacred life as beginning upon conception.   Personally, I believe there is more truth to the idea that when live, sustainable birth is possible, abortion should be discouraged unless the health of the mother would be placed in question. I do not believe women have a responsibility to be martyrs for the birth of children.

Since it is not my job (according to the Bible) to be the judge of the morality of others,  I have to conclude that further legislation against abortion would be inappropriate.

The Social Implications

I understand that some might say "when you make your bed, you've got to lie in it". To an extent, I agree.  I expect a mother to give responsible care to a child.  But it's difficult to find a job that supports you, will put up with your need to take the baby to the doctor, as well as pay enough to afford child care.

And yet, our society ostensibly penalizes those who make what pro-life advocates would call "the right choice".  It's their "lot" in life. To me, it's a romantically phrased way of saying "tough luck" with a claim of righteousness.

Once you get by the discussions of compassion and good-Samaritanism, you're left with a much more fact-based analysis.

We complain about illiteracy, broken homes, abortion, poverty and health care, declines in our culture, crime, and drugs. We hear a great many political announcements about programs being introduced.  It's all presented in a way to display our pride and compassion as Americans.

When you get right down to it,  each time a child is exposed to poverty and malnutrition, we expose our society to the potential for all the things we complain about. 

We are encouraged to perceive the issue as simply a matter of willingness to work, instead of taking responsibility for the well being and opportunity for the advancement of all people. It is a politically-based communications campaign to make you believe that the problem is being handled, and that you have no reponsibility in the matter.

More than two million people have lost their jobs since 2001.  Their unemployment, their circumstances were not of their own doing or lack of willingness to work.  Yet, as a society, we are made to believe that so long as we can find someone to blame, it absolves us of our need to resolve the problem we complain about.

The well-being of each citizen, and the ability to gain full access to services and programs, represents an investment in our society and culture, and a responsibility we have been lead to believe is being fulfilled. Nothing could be further than the truth.

We declare victory by adoption of policies requiring unwed mothers to spend more time working at low-paying jobs instead of getting the education that would allow them to rise above the poverty line and provide their children with an environment that would allow them to be more productive citizens as adults. Instead of spending additional time caring for and teaching their children to be the kind of people we expect them to be.

If you worked in a corporation and the stats said that you needed to spend $100 to fix a problem, and you only spent $25 on the problem, would you expect the problem to get resolved?  Would your stockholders have a right to question your competence if you had claimed you were going to aggressively address an issue, only to find out afterward that no serious effort had been made, or that the little bit of effort spent is as good as worthless because the problem grows faster than the effort to solve it?

From the discussions I've had with people, Americans don't mind paying taxes for programs that work.  But, they are unwilling to continue paying for programs that represent quick fixes, lip-service, and political expediency. American Citizens deserve tangible results from their taxes.  Not partisan compromises that yield mediocre results that could never resolve the problem.

It is easy to organize government around an austere, frugal corporate model, and it is appropriate to do so, so long as that model is clear that it's mission is not a commercial question of profit or loss as with a corporation, but for the fulfillment of providing what is required to ensure the well-being and security of the citizens.


Admittedly, it would be difficult to conceive of an argument that would convince me that further bans on abortion would be appropriate legislation.

And, as an added consideration,  until we, as a society, take responsibility for the society we are creating and providing by our actions and treatment of each other, we have no legitimate business even discussing the issue of banning abortion and discouraging the use of birth control. 

Otherwise, we are simply creating a system that generates the very problems we claim are bad for us all.


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(C) 2002,2003-2009 Charles Rehn Jr IV  All rights reserved