Boy, this might be a volatile post. Let’s hold our breath on this one. Somebody recently asked me my particular viewpoint regarding abortion. Over the years I have wrestled with this for two reasons.
First, I am a male. For some reason that kinda lends itself to not being qualified by gender to have an opinion one way or the other. I’m not the one getting pregnant, I’m not the one bearing the child for nine months and subject to nature’s instinctive desire for nurturing, and, of course, I am not subject to whatever pain and mood swings come and go.
The second reason… if I presume to be pro-life then there’s that question for the purpose of establishing legal precedent, at what point does a fetus become a life worth keeping?
Now, regarding my first reason… not being female and understanding what a female goes through… I realize that a man is generally part of the process for a woman getting pregnant so by that association I suppose a man can have a say.. just not sure how loud that say is.
So I can’t really say yea or nay one way or the other. But there are a couple solid elements of these two views I can sort out. For example, the essence of the pro-life opinion is that all life, because it IS life, deserves to live, and that man should not play God in determining what life lives or dies… and only God can play God. That’s a fair argument to many because that is a moral and spiritual acceptance of God’s power over all things. Then I think, “Well, what about when we execute criminals. Aren’t we playing God there?” If the pro-life moralists hold to their position that all life is precious, then they must surely be against the death penalty. Right? Yet, some are and some aren’t.
Another issue I have with some pro-life arguments is that there are those pro-life people who will compromise their position by suggesting that abortions are okay when a woman’s health is at risk, and following rape. This is where I have a problem. If you firmly believe morally that all life is precious then how can one allow killing a life for another life for health reasons, or killing a life following rape. After all, one could go as far as to interpret those health issues and the rape itself as some kind of divine intervention, the will of God that you are to be raped and have a child. A child from rape is a living thing as well.
I tend to lean at pro-choice because I tend to be more practical in my application of reality vs. religion. If a woman was raped one could call that divine intervention and leave it alone. I accept a reality that the woman will likely have emotional trauma from the physical violation and may not even be an effective parent to that child, it being a constant living reminder of the assault. An unexpected child also is a life changer. If your life was proceeding ahead on your own terms then suddenly an assault makes you pregnant and you are expected to carry the child to term… your life is changed forever. Carrying this further, if the victim keeps the child and the parent is unable to care for it financially then does it become a ward of the state? You might think, well, put it up for adaption and give a loving family a chance to raise it. Well, that will haunt the mother/victim as well knowing the baby is alive out there in the world… and guilt becomes an issue that could lead to depression. The whole thing is far more complex than just sitting back and using God as a reason for allowing a child to be born from a rape. It’s more like, God says keep the child and let the humans work out the details.
Yet, again, having a pro-choice opinion then requires a legal establishment of at what point in the development of the fetus does life exist and how far into the term should the fetus be able to be aborted. One popular notion is that a child becomes life at birth… but at what point can it be terminated prior to birth?
There is a political side of this that can be shared with pro-life people. This is the basic dispute with SCOTUS upholding the Roe vs. Wade decision. If public monies can be used to terminate pregnancies (presumably through welfare health care) then by extension, the taxpayer dollars of Americans who object on moral grounds, are financing the termination of life.
[We can probably fix this real easy. Just have a question on your tax return…
“Do you want your tax payment to pay for abortions? YES NO” Circle NO and all will be well, I am sure of it.]
Yet another example of the separation of church and state in America not being so separate. Abortion is a complex issue all around and it’s one social issue I have a tough time forming an opinion. I do tend to lean pro-choice, as I said. But I am far from firm on that.
In essence, just because I might lean pro-choice does not one bit mean I am pro-abortion.
Now… what about assisted suicide? Deciding if I am allowed to kill myself seems a bit easier to take sides. But that’s for another post.