Abortion is more than just a controversial issue; it is a polarizing issue. But you knew that. The question is whether we as a society can find a resolution to this issue.
Abortion has become the defining issue for many voters, such that political candidates will win or lose elections over their position on this one thing.
After years of watching and reflecting on the controversy, I have reached resolution, at least for myself. [If you plan to continue reading, I hope you read the whole thing before you decide if my resolution has any merit beyond my own mind.]
The basic issue is whether the government should be able to control what takes place inside a human being. And this much I can agree with those who are pro-choice. As much as I hate abortion and regard those who perform them as morally bankrupt and those who seek them as sinning against God and making the biggest mistake of their lives, I don’t now believe that we should criminalize the activity (in other words, ban it.)
The same people who want to tell a woman she can’t have an abortion are the same people who will complain if the government tells them how large of a soft drink they can buy, whether or not their child can bring a lunch from home to school, or what kind of light bulbs they have to buy.
Obviously, there is much more at stake in a pregnancy than in how much pop you should drink; but the fact is that, while that child growing inside her mother has a separate life from her mother, the life and health of that child is completely dependent on the mother. That pregnant mother makes choices every day that will affect the life and health of that child, whether by drinking alcohol, smoking, eating right, taking medication, using drugs, taking prenatal vitamins, and, of course, by seeing a doctor regularly.
If the government wants to prevent her from ending her pregnancy, it should mandate as well all the other matters of healthy pregnancies.
The abortion debate is not unlike the gun debate. Gun control advocates want to limit access to guns in order to limit the possibilities of gun violence. The pro-life people want to limit or ban abortions to limit the number of pre-born children being killed.
By the way, I read today that it is estimated that before abortion was legalized, there were between 200,000 and 1.2 million abortions in the United States every year. We have averaged about a million abortions a year since. So, as in the gun debate, outlawing something doesn’t mean you are going to prevent it from happening. There are already laws against murder. How is that working out?
Those who oppose more gun control see the bigger problem as the evil in people’s hearts and the need to address that. Having abortion legal does not make anyone have an abortion any more than having guns makes someone kill people.
Smoking and drinking large quantities of soda are not wise health choices, but we prefer that the government not be controlling our lives in these matters.
So I can accept that abortion is legal, and I think we need to assure our women that we are not going to try to make it illegal. We should not be losing elections because of a politician’s view on abortion.
When we have talked about making abortion illegal, I think we may have given the impression that the mother is the main culprit here. I have to ask what kind of morally dead, heartless people actually work in performing these abortions.
But now, having said all this, as a society, as a government, I believe we need to make it clear that because something is legal, it does not make it right. And though abortion may be legal, it is not A right. You do not have a RIGHT to kill your unborn child. We won’t prevent you from doing so, but we will try to dissuade you.
The Supreme Court said women have a right to an abortion. I think that means no more than that the government cannot legally forbid it. Rights can only come from God.
Our children are our next generation, our future leaders, our future contributors to society, and our most treasured possessions. Something is seriously wrong when over a million of our children are aborted every year. Life is not valued, and it is not surprising when there are so many killings. Life is cheap.
As long as that child is inside its mother, that mother is responsible for the life and health of that child. Once the child is born or even in the process of being born, the government has the right and duty to protect that life. [In the rare event that the life of the child or the mother is endangered at the time of birth, I believe the priority should be given to the mother. Parents may want to sign consent forms before delivery addressing who they want the doctors to save first if it comes to that.]
In Roe v. Wade, the Court extended the right of government restrictions even further back to the point of viability except in cases of the life and health of the mother.
The government, meaning our society, has an invested interest in our children. There are many laws that affect abortion that any moral government should support.
1) The government should not financially support abortions. The government has no money but what it takes from its citizens. Printing money doesn’t count because it only devalues the money we already have, so it is essentially a tax, which is taking money from the citizens. Aborting babies is not in the best interests of our country, so we as citizens should not be forced to pay for it.
2) Children should not be given abortions without their parents’ or guardians’ consent. I understand that children can’t even receive an aspirin at school without parental permission. Abortions are not simple procedures without major risks.
3) If states want to mandate waiting periods, sonograms, or other impediments to speedy abortions, these should be promoted as in the best interests of both mother and child and not as steps to the future elimination of abortions.
4) It is a fact, though not widely known or publicized, that many women experience serious emotional problems after abortions. Aborting a child is not the same as removing a tumor. We need to inform women of what many women prior to them have experienced. What is seen now as an inconvenience or an unsustainable burden is often seen later as their own child who they killed.
As time goes on and they see children the same age as what their aborted child would have been, it can be more than painful. People need to be made aware of these things before going ahead with this.
5) If every woman who aborts her child gave birth to that child, the number of women raising a child in a single parent household would explode. Not only is that the leading indicator that that child will grow up in poverty; that child also risks much higher chances of other problems such as their performance in school and getting into trouble.
While, as a society, abortion is sometimes seen as a way to minimize problem children, it ultimately devalues all children in that it makes them out to be consumer products, attained for our benefit and discarded or otherwise avoided when inconvenient.
We need to encourage and strengthen marriages. Families having a mother and a father and children are one of the most important things that we need to ensure the future of our country.
Whether you believe that life evolved from swamp gook or was created by God, women have been entrusted with the gift (and the privilege) of bearing our next generation. Children are the most treasured things we will ever have. We teach our girls that they need to become physicists or soldiers or CEOs to really become all that they should be. And children are often depicted as unfortunate hindrances to that fulfillment.
I believe they have been lied to.
Photo Credit: -nanio- (Creative Commons)