Abortion and Other Mundane Issues Derail Florida’s Drive to Be the “State of the Future”

by Bobby Reyes

March for Reproductive Rights | Photo by Louise Palanker via Wikimedia Commons

Part III: “Florida, the State of the Future” Series

The problem with many Republican (and even some Democratic) public officials is that their governance lacks visionary ideas that excite their constituents.

People like to seek a way out of mundane and humdrum existence. Most especially the young workers (read, “taxpayers”) detest the dull, boring, tedious, monotonous, and, yes, unimaginative lives (and day jobs) that their society’s policy-and-decision makers push as “normal lives.”

Many public and private-industry leaders confine themselves within “the boundaries of the mundane world” to borrow an oft-quoted phrase.

Remember what this column said last Wednesday? Here it is again: “Imagine if all of Florida’s state, local and congressional leaders devoted all their time to socioeconomic development and healthcare, education and non-partisanship governance. Imagine if they did not devote lots of their time campaigning against the vaccine, use of masks and other pandemic protocols, against the teaching of human rights (especially for the individual sexual preferences), gutting public schools, denying the pro-choice right of women, illegal immigration (when Florida is one of the leading melting pots in the country), and so on. And so forth. Perhaps, Florida could be at least the second most-developed state — behind California.”

By the way, abortion-rights activists scored an upset victory in Kansas on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, when voters rejected an amendment that would have allowed the state legislature to ban the procedure.

What happened in Kansas probably adds more luster and rationale to the candidacy of Agricultural Commissioner Nicole (Nikki) Fried, who appears to be the only pro-choice candidate for governor of Florida. She can defend her pro-choice stand easily since she is of the Jewish faith. The Christian men of the cloth, especially Catholics, conveniently forget that the Jewish religion was way ahead of Christianity (and Islam, too) in the matter of when life begins.

The mainstream media reported that the vote comes just six weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. People can conclude that Kansas remains one of the few Red States where abortion is widely accessible. It also provides hope to abortion-rights supporters betting on ballot initiatives in other conservative states to restore or maintain access to the procedure.

“What happened in Kansas probably adds more luster and rationale to the candidacy of Agricultural Commissioner Nicole (Nikki) Fried, who appears to be the only pro-choice candidate for governor of Florida. She can defend her pro-choice stand easily since she is of the Jewish faith.”

What is good for Kansas is also suitable for Florida, right?

Per my school education on the “Abrahamic faiths” of the three major Judeo-based religions, I learned in a Catholic school in the Philippines — Jews consider the start of life with the first breath of the newborn infant. Medically speaking, the embryo (that becomes the fetus) in the mother’s womb is not breathing (on its own) before it is delivered.

The candidacy of Nikki Fried — as a Floridian American of Jewish faith — may introduce this fact in discussing the controversial topic of abortion. Many leaders, especially of the Catholic Church or evangelical-Christian denominations, do not mention in their condemnation of the right of women — as an implied right in the U.S. Constitution — to seek an abortion, especially in cases of rape and, or incest has been the belief of the Jewish religion. And most Christians call “Jesus Christ, a Jewish carpenter.”

According to Jewish law, human life begins at birth, not conception. Many foundational Jewish texts assert that a fetus does not attain personhood status until birth.

Here are more Jewish views on abortion (as gathered from reference sites): In Jewish law, right and wrong, good and evil, are absolute values that transcend time, place, and environment. They defy definition by human intuition or expediency. Jewish law derives from the Divine revelation at Mount Sinai as expounded by sages faithful to, and authorized by, its writ. The Talmud rules that if a woman is in hard travail and her life must be saved, the child must be aborted and extracted. The mother’s life comes first. The fetus is not a human life until it is born. But 19th-century Rabbinical works state that it is immoral to destroy a monster child. Modern rabbis are unanimous in condemning abortion, feticide, or infanticide as an unconscionable attack on human life. However, Jewish law allows abortion if the pregnancy will cause severe psychological damage to the mother.

Since this columnist is not a biblical scholar and not an authority either on Jewish and even Islamic studies, those interested may just do their own research.

“According to Jewish law, human life begins at birth, not conception. Many foundational Jewish texts assert that a fetus does not attain personhood status until birth.”

There is approximately a 4,000-year theological period from the days of the Patriarch Abraham to the birth of Jesus.

“‘So the whole number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17). The numbers may be linked to Daniel 9:24–27, which states that seventy weeks of years, or 490 years, would pass between the restoration of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. Since they commonly placed generation at 35 years, this means precisely 14 generations.

The Catholic Church’s current position on abortion is only 144 years old. It was initiated by, and stated in, the 1869 document Apostolicae Sedis of Pope Pius IX.

Yes, leave the question of abortion as a personal, family, and medical matter. State and federal officials should instead devote their time and attention to “back-to-basic governance,” as previously discussed in this column. Perhaps a governor of the Jewish faith, who is also a woman, can fight more for the legal and human rights of women in using their conscience when it comes to abortion — especially if the woman’s decision is also approved by her parents, their religious advisers and their family physician.

Yes, perhaps Governor Nikki Fried can use her visionary ideas on socioeconomic empowerment to bring new excitement to her constituents, the “We, the People,” and stakeholders of a Greater State of Florida of the Future. And leave mundane matters to the private sector, especially the religious branch of it. To paraphrase Jesus Christ, “Give to (the government) Emperor Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

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