Government intervention and abortion don't mix

In September 1995, I wrote a column about whether drug-induced abortions were ethical. I tried to convince readers that I realized how difficult it was to decide to have an abortion by saying, "I am a man and don't have a uterus...I recognize that I am in no position to preach about the ethical implications of abortion to an audience filled with women who bear such a burdensome responsibility."

Then I contradicted myself and went on to preach: "I question the ethi-cal implications involved with allowing doctors to make it just as easy for patients to get a prescription for abortion as getting a dose of penicillin."

God, my naivet­ overwhelms me.

I am still a man and have no uterus, but I've realized how futile it is to argue for or against abortion. The simple fact is that abortion is legal. If you think they're wrong, then don't get one. It's your choice.

But in the midst of all the debate about whether abortion itself is ethical, it's easy to overlook the underlying problem, that being whether it's right for government, not doctors, to be telling women what they can or cannot do with their bodies.

Presently, abortion is legal, and government's intervention is minimal, but how long with this last? On Sept. 20, the House voted to override Clinton's veto of a ban on third-term abortions. If the Senate follows the House's lead this week, the government will make a late-term abortion, affectionately known as 'partial birth' or 'intact dilation and extraction,' illegal.

Our Republican Congress is seemingly making an effort to overturn the 1974 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion. Sure, they're not proposing to ban abortion just yet. But if they are successful in passing a third-term ban, it may be the first step in a backwards regression of bans that will halt third-term abortions, then second-term abortions, then first-term abortions, and finally abortions altogether.

First, because our government is at war with itself, it's impossible for it to determine a general stance on abortion. Is it murder or not? Is it unethical or not? Clinton has one view, the House has one view, and the Senate may have another.

Our gov-ernment is contradicting itself in another way. RU-486, or mifepristone, is an abortion-inducing drug that recently received conditional approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The prescription drug induces abortion for women in their firs t seven weeks of pregnancy. So Congress wants to ban third-term abortions, while the FDA is approving pills to induce abortion in the first term.

Seemingly, the government values older fetuses more than young ones, but according to anti-abortion advocates, a fetus is a child from time of conception. A third-term ban on abortion says that the procedure is wrong, but the approval of abortion pills sa ys it's right. Is abortion more wrong in the third term than in the first?

Contradictions like this only serve to illustrate how unclear our government is about the entire abortion issue. A government that contradicts itself about such a major issue cannot be trusted to make decisions that affect the personal lives of women and their unborn fetuses. How dare government be so bold as to put its hands in a woman's uterus.

It's frustrating to see how government, as a select group of representatives, feels it knows what is best for all. A possible ban on third-term abortions is yet another attempt for the government to wield its powerful hand in the face of women to say, "We don't trust you with decisions about your own baby. We will decide for you."

Where will this power trip stop? When we allow our government to make such personal decisions for us, we are saying that our government is omnipotent and that it's moral and ethical voice is the correct one. Government is not always right, and "majority r ules" is never fair especially when it's dealing with abortion.

It is futile for me to tell you whether abortion is wrong or right, whether it's unethical or not, whether it violates moral codes. My decisions will be different from yours.

What I will say is that a government that has yet to define its own view about abortion has no right meddling in the personal lives of women. Keep all abortions legal, and let women decide for themselves.

Adam Djurdjulov is a journalism senior and Wildcat opinions editor. His column 'Airing it Out,' appears Mondays.