Abortion & Immigration: A moderate reponse

Perhaps this should be two postings but both of these ideas are bouncing around my head. I like to joke that it’s hard to be a moderate when everybody wants you either right or left of where you want to be.

However, as a moderate, I often wonder if we could compromise on certain divisive, inflammatory issues: Abortion & Immigration.

So, as a compromise, I offer:

  1. Immigration: No longer will being born in America be sufficient for citizenship. You must be born of one or more legal citizens or naturalized through the standard process. Being born here was fine when we needed people to grow the country but I think we’re past this time.

  2. Abortion: The record for pre-term birth survival is 23 weeks, if I’m reading Wikipedia correctly. I suggest that we draw a line a bit before that and say that abortion after the 20th week is forbidden other than to save the mother’s life or in the event of a unambiguous evidence of the baby’s non-viability.

Any chance of reaching compromises, do you think?

#1 sounds like exactly what the Hard Right want to do to birthright citizenship, but says nothing about migrants, naturalization, or immigration in general. Incomplete.

#2 is a strikingly harsh addition to the Roe v. Wade paradigm that state interest in the fetus begins at viability. Your demand for incontrovertible evidence of non-viability will seem unduly harsh even to moderates, & insufficient to those who want an earlier cut-off.

I’m not sure how the immigration one is a compromise, since it seems to me to be more extreme than either end of the mainstream views.

And on the abortion one, you’ll run into trouble as technology advances and the minimum viable age is pushed back. Should the laws be re-written once it becomes possible to save a preemie at 19 weeks? Besides which, why is that age a significant criterion anyway? I’ve seen some proposed criteria based in some way on brain development, which ties into our ideas of what constitutes a “person”, but viability outside the womb doesn’t really have much to do with that. Is a person on a life-support system a non-person? Heck, born babies are absolutely dependent on caretakers, too. Most of us aren’t really independently-viable until somewhere in the double-digit ages. Is the idea that a woman past that point in pregnancy ought to give live birth and put the child up for adoption instead of aborting? That’s not a very good idea, since babies born that early usually don’t survive, and even if they do, are likely to have severe developmental problems, not something you should be wishing on anyone.

The immigration one was designed to remove the incentive to cross the border in order to have a baby and remove the problem of what to do with illegal parents and legal children when deportation is necessary.

The abortion one is just an arbitrary line before which abortion is legal and after which it is not. I personally believe that a fetus terminated at one-week gestation is not murderous in any way but I also believe that an abortion at, say, 32 weeks is unquestionably murderous. The “20 week” rule is just a line intended to put a concrete number to what, in reality is probably a very fuzzy line.

EDIT: My immigration idea allows for naturalization and all other legal methods of becoming a citizen other than simply birth on US soil. My statement of it above is incomplete.

And as an addition, I know that “unambiguous evidence” is a hard thing to prove and that would have to be further refined.

I add this, though, because a sister-in-law of mine had ultrasounds of her fetus’ misformed body (no brain, basically) and still-birth was assured. I know that many pro-lifers, though, would’ve forced her through her full pregnancy and wanted her to birth a lump of flesh in the hopes that a miracle would save the baby.

Number 1 is Unconstitutional.

Number 2 is almost the law already, though it’s the 24th week, not the 20th, and health of the mother also has to be (and currently is) protected, not just "life, "which is no protection at all.

Basically, I would find both of your suggestions unacceptable as stated.

  1. I say up the ante. Everyone born in America has to pass a citizenship test at a certain age, whoever they’re born to.

  2. Discussions about cut-off dates for abortion are so odd. Women who don’t want kids don’t stay pregnant for six months for kicks. They either haven’t had enough sex ed to know they’re pregnant, have been molested/raped and are in extreme denial, are raising money to afford an abortion (a Catch 22, because the price rises the longer they wait), can’t get one before then because of a lack of providers (thanks to anti-abortionists), need to wait until they can take time off of work or school, or aren’t diagnosed with a physical problem until that point (or the fetus isn’t). If people don’t want abortions after that point, then they’ve got to stop making abortions before that point difficult to get (by threatening doctors’ lives, encouraging shame in people who get and give abortions, boycotting Planned Parenthood and running their clinics out of town, etc.).

Which would result in an ever-growing population of stateless non-citizens inside out borders. And it looks much more like a cave in than a compromise; what, exactly does the pro-immigrant side get from that?

Among other problems, this would mean that a woman would be forced to give birth even if it caused her serious harm; as long as it didn’t quite kill her. Crippled for life, giving birth to a baby with multiple severe defects she won’t be able to care for? Fine.

No, especially on abortion.

They would presumably be able to hold a passport from the country where their parents have citizenship.

What happens if you’re born in the U.S. while your parents are undergoing the years-long naturalization process?

Probably a silly question, but on a more serious tone, how many elective post-20-week abortions do you think actually occur, anyway? What problem does your proposed abortion law purport to address or solve?

Sure, it’s incomplete as an immigration policy. But that one aspect of it I don’t think would affect much else. It simply lays down one qualification. So, let’s say all the other aspects of a new immigration would be to your liking, what is your opinion of the one mentioned?

I’d say you don’t qualify. As neither was a citizen at the time of your birth. Right?

This was exactly my situation. My parents were legal immigrants on the naturalization path, but when I was born they had only been in the country four years. They did become US citizens as soon as they were able, but that was after I was born.

Constitutionally irrelevant.

And if the other country says “No, we don’t want them or acknowledge them as citizens”? We don’t get to unilaterally tell other countries that “this kid is one of yours”.

Well, unless Proposition 204 passes, and the OP prays it will.

I don’t “pray” nothing. The whole question is to explore repercussions.

I guess I see anti-immigration people as, largely, “Let’s keep the brown people out.” This keeps some out but leaves a clear path for legal, but reduced, immigration. I saw it as a potential middle ground that maybe all could agree to.

Yes, I know it’s currently unconstitutional but there’s a process to change that.

The abortion thing, 24 weeks, surprises me. I didn’t know that. I thought, what with the sound and fury over “partial birth abortions” that there were very few limits on abortion. I saw my suggestion, once again, as a potential middle ground.

EDIT: A big of googling says Proposition 204 is the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals act.

Because no matter how many times I post it, it never seems to take…*

1.1% of induced abortions occur after the 20th week of gestation.

*Not directed at you personally, Bryan Eckers, I just find that particular bugaboo so tiresome.

As I understand it, that is pretty much exactly the reaction wanted by the people generating that sound and fury, and what they like a whole lot less is when someone checks the statistics and finds out how rare this procedure actually is, and that when it’s done, it’s most always for a very good medical reason. It’s conceivable to me that someone might have had a purely-elective late-term abortion, but I don’t know of any cases, even here in Canada where it’s actually completely legal.

My fault. It’s a Simpsons reference, but the original quote was “Proposition 304.”

So-called “partial-birth” abortion is virtually always performed in the second trimester, not the third (although it’s common to see the completely political and medically meaningless phrase “late term abortion” which encompasses anything past the 1st trimester and is intentionally designed to create a false impression that the procedure is performed in the third).

less than 1/10 of one percent of all abortions are performed in the third trimester. Third trimester abortions are, by and large, already illegal except to protct the health or life of the mother. Very few facilities will perform them (only three in the country, I believe), and they usually involve cases where the fetus is already dead, or soon will be, or when there is a compelling medical concern for the mother.

It should also be noted that the ban on intact dilations and extractions (the infamous “partial-birth” abortions in the lingo of the pro-life movement) does not actually prohibit any abortions – it only prevents a particular method for performing thm – the safest one.