EDITORIAL : Abortion debate to intensify

Anti-abortion extremist James Kopp was convicted Tuesday of second-degree murder for the 1998 sniper killing of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian. Kopp claimed he only meant to wound him. It’s ominous that with so much violence commencing abroad, we can’t to maintain domestic tranquility.
Prosecuting attorneys claimed that every step Kopp took in preparation for the shooting, from the choice of rifle to his use of a fake name to purchase it, indicated an intention to kill from the beginning. The question America asks: will the violence only continue to grow?
Recently the six declared Democratic presidential hopefuls celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision with their first joint appearance to pledge to protect abortion rights. At a National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice America dinner, each candidate spent several minutes explaining to a crowd how his particular policy would guard against further restrictions.
“The right to choose is an essential ingredient in the full equality of women,” said presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards. He promised to fight for federal laws guaranteeing abortion rights even if the Supreme Court happens to overturn the 1973 Roe decision. Sen. John Kerry delivered an almost threatening message to the president: “If I get to share a stage with this president and debate him, one of the first things I’ll tell him is: There’s a defining issue between us. I trust women to make their own decisions. You don’t. And that’s the difference.” Others criticize President Bush’s recent actions to prohibit health-care providers from receiving federal family planning assistance if abortion is part of the counseling plan (the gag laws: you say abortion, you get no funding).
Many abortion rights activists attest Bush could, in short time, appoint a replacement to the Supreme Court in favor of restricting the procedure, upsetting the current 5-4 split in favor of abortion rights in our nation’s highest court.
Bush, in January, declared one certain Sunday”National Sanctity of Human Life Day” and called unborn children “those without the voice and power to defend their own rights.” Even if you’re not sure what to think about that, at least he says the same thing about the Iraqi people.
Last Thursday, the Senate voted 64-33 to place the first federal restrictions on pregnancy termination since the Roe decision, which made abortion legal nationwide. The legislation bans “dilation and extraction,” a form of partial-birth abortion during weeks 20-24 of pregnancy. This legislation is expected to pass the House next month, and the president, who called it “an important step toward building a culture of life in America,” will undoubtedly sign it if it crosses his desk. Clinton vetoed the same bill twice. Doesn’t that tell you how important party line split will be this upcoming election?
Since other abortion alternatives exist, the ban is much more likely political than practical. For the Supreme Court to rule legislation unconstitutional, it must refer to precedents. With more legislation like last Thursday’s, Roe v. Wade may, in short time, see the end of its days.
There is not enough concern about this issue, however, on the University of Miami campus. It is surprising that such legislation, with the potential to affect all of our lives, our futures and the decisions we will have to make, does not inspire more dissent or support from the college-age demographic, which it will most likely affect.
The issue of abortion will pervade the imminent presidential election but may tragically become shadowed by threats of war and terrorism. Do not let the media draw your attention away from the issues that matter most to you; or, if not you, to your girlfriends, your sisters, your mothers and wives.