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Your Views: Abortion consensus should be based on science, not religion
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Roe vs. Wade and the Constitution are misunderstood. Pro-lifers and pro-choicers should work to understand each other. Pro-choicers see abortion as an issue of civil liberties and pro-lifers as legalized murder. Both groups claim the Constitution protects their position.

One pro-life claim is that reproductive rights are never mentioned in the Constitution, so are not protected. The Constitution isn’t a list of protected rights. It is a list of powers granted the government. The court ruled that reproductive controls were rights regulated to the people per the 9th Amendment, which addresses those rights and liberties not otherwise mentioned. Reproductive rights never had to be mentioned to be protected.

Pro-lifers should focus on their best point which is that if a fetus is a living person, then abortion is murder. How can murder be a reproductive right? Do not all living people enjoy the same protections under the law? These are not religious questions but secular, ethical ones.

In its decision, the Supreme Court noted that the Constitution doesn’t mention the unborn, only those "born or naturalized;" nor does it define when life begins. To quote the court, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

The court also defines life’s start at fetal viability, about 28 weeks. This will be the standard until we can come to a new consensus on when life begins. With new scientific measurements, I believe we can. Perhaps it is reasonable to define life as beginning in the sixth week when brain waves begin. Most claims that life begins at conception are based on faith in a holy book or religious tradition.

To lower abortion rates, how might we come to a new consensus on when life begins, based on objective reality? The court requires consensus; 18 percent of the population does not have a faith. Of the 82 percent with faith, there is little consensus on the meaning of that faith. As evidence, there are innumerable denominations and religions and many people of faith are pro-choice.

How do we know whose faith is "correct"? Can something based on a personal belief be verified as true? Is it fair to make laws based upon peoples’ personal beliefs which lack evidence or impose one faith’s morality on all?

We can verify our objective reality. Abortion is occurring in the world of physics and life, not in the unverifiable world of faith or immortality. For a consensus on when life begins, let us use logic, science and objective standards. If the two sides talk, perhaps lives can be saved.

Incidentally, let’s also work to make this a world welcoming to all children, namely disadvantaged ones. One issue to be addressed is the shortage of foster parents.

Brandon Givens
Gainesville

Football fans went too far in heckling visiting team
After attending the North Hall vs. White County game Oct. 2, I left The Brickyard troubled. I found the behavior of the North Hall student section and cheerleaders appalling. As a former North Hall cheerleader and graduate (1982-1983), I knew I had a unique perspective on the events of the night.

I look at the conduct of the crowd through several lenses. I am an educator in the White County school system, but I live in the North Hall area. Because I am an educator in White County, my children attend White County schools. After witnessing the behavior of some of the North Hall students and parents, I was thankful my children do not attend North Hall.

North Hall is not the same school it was when I attended there in the ’80s. We didn’t have a winning football team; the record in 1982 was 5-5, and the stadium was more like a cow pasture. I am proud of the improvements made to the facilities, but I wonder if they were made at the expense of intangible values that were not represented in the stands that Friday night.

We listened to chants of "Rainbow Warrior" for most of the third and fourth quarter. Everyone in this area knows about the lawsuit brought against White County several years ago, which could happen in any school. We are not a "gay school," as was implied by the chant, or the sign that was hung in rainbow colors near the visiting fieldhouse. Both of these claims would be just assumptions on my part had I not asked a North Hall student about the chant and the sign.

My sons play football for White County. When they left the field at halftime and walked to the fieldhouse, those precious children recognized at the beginning of the game lined the fence. Young children were chanting "Boo Warriors" with their parents proudly standing behind them. My 17-year-old turned to one parent and asked what lessons they were teaching their children. How sad that a 17-year-old has to scold adults about forgetting to teach children good sportsmanship, respect and dignity. This is a sad reminder that it is difficult to teach something you don’t model yourself.

Early in my career at White County, I thought I would never be a true Warrior because I was a transplant from North Hall. I thought I would always bleed green and white, but I was wrong. I was ashamed of my North Hall connections that night.

I want my children and the students I teach to know that I was proud of how they conducted themselves on the field and off. I am honored to be associated with the White County School System, and I am embarrassed that our students, players and parents were treated with such disrespect.

I recognize that the actions we observed were the actions of a few, but their behavior seemed to be condoned by those in authority. If adults are to impart wisdom and understanding to the generations that follow us, how can we do so when we don’t use those qualities in our own walk?

Patsy Lewis
Gainesville

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