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The September 1970 issue of California Medicine, official journal of the California Medical Association, published "A New Ethic for Medicine and Society." Written three years before the Supreme Court legalized abortion, California doctors considered the implications of such action, mostly from the perspective of how to change traditional perceptions of the value of life.

The article stated, "Since the old ethic [life begins at conception] has not yet been fully displaced it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous until death."

The article goes on to suggest that "semantic gymnastics" are required to present abortion as "anything but the taking of a human life." In other words, the doctors said if abortion is to be palatable to the public, it must be referred to as something other than murder, which everyone knows it is.

That article was prescient. The "semantic gymnastics" were realized through euphemistic phrases like a woman's "choice" or abortion "rights" — as if our Founding Fathers in 1787 integrated a 1973 Supreme Court decision into the Constitution.

Besides suggesting that the abortion movement must mask the killing of innocent humans, the doctors ominously warned, "It will become necessary and acceptable to place relative rather than absolute values on such things as human lives This is quite distinctly at variance with the Judeo-Christian ethic and carries serious philosophical, social, economic and political implications for Western society."

The idea of "relative value" of human life almost became law within the original Obamacare plans which provided Independent Payment Advisory Boards (IPABs). IPAB members would be appointed by the president to make end-of-life medical decisions independent of government oversight or the patient's personal doctor. Fortunately, the "death boards" were never implemented but illustrate the logical sequence of the legalization of abortion which focuses on the "relative" rather than the "absolute" value of human life.

If unwanted babies can be conveniently disposed of, why not other unwanted humans — like the sick and elderly, or maybe those with mental illness or physical handicaps? How about other "undesirables" like racially impure people, Jews, Christians or homosexuals? Who gets to play God and decide which lives are relative and which are absolute?

Consider Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States. Before abortion was legalized, it sought to protect the unborn and advocated birth control for family planning. It differentiated birth control from abortion, pointing out in pamphlets, "An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it."

Fifty years later, former Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen stated how drastically the organization changed: "Our core mission is providing, protecting, and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care ... it is a fundamental human right." The organization, according to its 2018 annual report, performed 328,348 abortions for which they received more than $500 million of your tax dollars.

What is the alternative to the abortion disgrace that will soon claim 62 million victims? First, support politicians who will nominate strict constitutionalists to the Supreme Court. Second, support alternative pregnancy counseling centers such as the Care Center in nearby Dayton, Tennessee, with referrals and contributions. Such centers exist to "protect the sanctity of human life, especially life in the womb, to affirm women and men in their dignity as mothers and fathers, and to promote a culture of life in our communities." They provide ultrasounds, pregnancy testing, material support, counseling, parenting classes and much more.

They present a new ethic based on absolute and eternal life for all, not death for those some deem undesirable.

Roger Smith, a local author, is a frequent contributor to the Times Free Press.

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