07 April 2013

Of Tasers and abortion: A failure of logic

It isn't every day that I agree with the opinion of the State Journal-Register, but today I find myself agreeing  - sort of - with their suggestion that the Springfield Police Department "should re-evaluate use of Tasers on women."

First, a bit of background that prompted the writing of this opinion piece:
On March 30, Springfield police were sent to a parking lot on the city’s west side after a man backed his vehicle into one driven by Lucinda D. White, which was stopped in a parking aisle.
No one was injured, and there was minor damage to the cars. 
White called police, and things escalated. White’s boyfriend began yelling and cursing at the officer writing an accident report. A scuffle broke out between the boyfriend and the officer, and White inserted herself into the fray. 
A second officer applied a Taser “drive stun” — applying the Taser directly to the skin — to the boyfriend’s hip and tried to pull White off. White refused to get on the ground when told to do so by the officer, and she tried to pull away from his grip on her shoulder. The officer then applied a one-second drive stun to her thigh to get her to cooperate.
The incident itself strikes me as rather odd, but I suppose many incidents that land on the police blotter are.

The important aspect of the event is the fact that a Taser was used on a pregnant woman, which led the editorial board to opine:
It’s disconcerting, though, to see any electrical shock applied to a pregnant woman. It also is unclear why it was necessary for White to lie on her stomach during arrest.
I agree, as, I imagine, most people will, though I must disagree with the reasoning behind the opinion:
We do not want to see the city of Springfield caught up in a costly or embarrassing lawsuit. If tweaking the police department’s policy on how best to handle pregnant women could head that off, do it.
The possible risk to the life of the child in the womb seems to be of secondary concern, after the financial risk the department might incur.

One might suppose that the editorial board would call upon the Springfield Police Department to re-examine its policy on the use of Tasers out of concern for the innocent one involved in such cases: the child in the womb.  I daresay, most people would agree that the well-being of the child in the womb should be of primary concern instead of a possible costly financial settlement.

But, I wonder, would these same people carry this logic just a little bit further: If a pregnant woman should not be Tasered because of the possible risk to the child within her, why should it be legal for a pregnant woman to "abort" the child in her womb, the same child that should not suffer adverse effects of a Taser?

We are in great need today of a consistent use of logic.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent points, Father. You're right: the desire of society to protect life in the womb in some situations but not in others results in great logical inconsistencies.