I have to say up front that I despise that I am even writing about this topic. I told my wife when I started this blog that I was not going to get into it and would leave it alone. As many of you have seen I have stayed fairly hands off with it when it comes up in the comments. But there are many of you who are having these discussions in the threads of other posts so I have given up on ignoring it. I will give you my thoughts. on the subject, but I will not, I repeat I will not, pretend that I have a definitive answer or that I know the right path forward. I am just offering thoughts, nothing more, nothing less. And then you can all debate away….
Why does someone who writes a blog that focuses on politics refuse to cover the topic of abortion? Because I don’t think the abortion is a political issue. It has been made into a political issue, but it isn’t. Roe versus Wade will never be overturned, ever. No matter how much everyone wants to claim otherwise, it simply will not be overturned. There is no constitutional authority to overturn it, and there will never be enough of a consensus in this country to change that. And I have news for all of you that want to debate it below: No matter how solid you think your argument is, you are never going to change the opinion of those who feel the opposite. I have never seen it happen, not once.
That is not to say I don’t encourage debate on the topic, because I think the debate is healthy if everyone can agree to my ground rules. And those ground rules are the same I ask in every debate. Use logic, Do so respectfully. I know you are passionate about this subject, but take a moment to really think about the opposing opinions presented. Don’t blow them off as religious zealots or deranged baby killers. That is what the politicians want you to do. THINK. discuss. Try to understand. You don’t have to agree but you can respectfully agree to disagree without being angry about it or bitter that they won’t change their mind.
I want everyone to remember one thing before you start this debate. Think about who you are debating with. I have not found any person who has posted on this blog to be a monster in any way. We debate on this blog every day and we know those debating here are not bad people no matter which side they fall on. Those on the pro-life side are not horrible people who want to take control of your womb. They are merely christians who’s faith tells them that this act is wrong. And they don’t understand your side. Those on the pro-choice side are not monsters who just want to murder children. They are merely folks who don’t share that belief and who want the right to make their own choices with their own consequences. And they don’t understand your side.
Take this opportunity to learn the other perspective and understand the other side a little better. Take this opportunity to find out that the other side isn’t made up of bad people, just different opinions. By coming together and discussing this civilly we take a giant step in thwarting the divisiveness that government is attempting to sow between you. But above all, know up front that no one is going to change their mind.
So where do I fall? I have to tell you that I don’t rightly know. I struggle with this debate because I do not like abortion at all. I don’t condone it, nor would I do it. But at the same time I recognize that I don’t have the right to make that decision for someone else. On the big parts of the debate:
Where does life begin? This seems like a good starting point. It seems that one side says conception and the other says “at some other point”. I fall into the second category at this point in life. I believe that life begins at the point where the life can exist on its own. I know that is a tough thing to define. And I don’t have a firm length into pregnancy where that happens. I know at 3 months a baby could not be taken out of the womb and survive. Because of this I don’t think that this is a person yet. I know that many babies born at 7 months can be saved, so they are people at that point. The gray area comes in between. But the answer for me is that life begins at the point that a child can survive “outside the womb”.
Does the bible give a better definition of defining the moment that life begins. Does it specifically say that life begins at conception? I ask because I don’t know the answer. Or is the “moment of conception” belief merely an edict of the Pope or some other human faction of the church? I am interested in learning where that particular definition of the beginning of life came from.
Is abortion wrong? I believe that it is. While I don’t recognize the child as a separate entity until it is able to survive on its own, that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect that it is a growing organism that is going to become a separate entity. To that end I do not like the idea of abortions happening. It is taking the chance at life away, regardless of whether you believe that life currently exists or not. So if I were a woman, I would not have one. If my wife or daughter or sister were wanting an abortion, I would do my best to persuade them not to have one. But I would not forbid it. It may permanently and irrevocably damage our relationship, but I cannot tell someone else what to do with their body.
Should we legally stop people from having an abortion? Absolutely not. I know that some of you are already rolling your eyes and your opinion has dropped of me already. And that makes me a bit sad. But here is where I must live what I believe. I do not believe that I have the right to tell another person what to do with their body. And it doesn’t give me more of a right to do so because “God said so”. Because maybe they don’t even believe in God. And I don’t have the right to force my beliefs on them, whatever they may be. I try my best in life to not be a hypocrite. I know I screw that up sometimes, but I try. So I put myself in this situation:
I am a woman who got drunk at a party and ended up pregnant. It was stupid I know. I counted the days since my last ovulation and thought I was safe from getting pregnant. I was apparently wrong. Now I am 2 months into this and realizing that I don’t want a child. I have two options: carry to term and give the child up or have an abortion. So I weigh those options. I personally don’t want to carry for nine months, face the prospect of missing 2-3 months of work that I cannot afford to miss, and face the lifetime threat of some child coming back to me and making me feel like shit 20 years from now for “not wanting them”.
So I weigh the option of having an abortion. I know what the church says. It says I am wrong, that I am going to go to hell if I have an abortion. After considering this, I decide that the church is wrong. I decide that I will live a good life and ask Jesus for forgiveness for what I am considering. If God is what the church tells me that he is, he is going to understand. He will know how much this decision weighed on my soul. And he will know that I didn’t do this on a whim. And he will forgive me. Or maybe he won’t. And then I will have to live with that for eternity in hell. But I don’t believe that will be the case. So I decide to have an abortion.
How can I tell that girl that she is not allowed to make that decision for herself? Because I believe she is still at the point where life has not begun. She, in my opinion, still has the right to make whatever choice she wants and face the consequences for her action. If there is a God, he is the only one fit to judge her for her actions, not me. God says don’t kill. God also says don’t judge. Who am I to determine which of those edicts takes precedence.
Do Christians have the right to legislate on abortion? Absolutely not. I know that the christian faith is the overwhelming majority in America. I also know that the founders specifically mandated that a person’s religious beliefs should not and cannot be forced on to a believer of a different faith. And that includes a faith that does not see abortion as wrong in the eyes of their God. And I believe that if Christians attempt to take this step they are setting themselves up for a major disappointment somewhere down the road.
One place where BlackFlag has always been absolutely correct is that whatever right you give government to do to someone else, you also give them the right to do to you. You want to give government the right to tax the rich more heavily than you, then you have given the government to tax you or tax the poor more heavily than the rich if they deem it necessary. If you give them the right to tell non-christians that they have to adhere to a christian belief, then you give them the right to later tell christians to abandon their faith if some other religion were to gain the majority. You are looking to tell others that they cannot do what their faith says they can do. Would you be willing to accept the same limitations placed on your worship if the tables were turned? If not, then you already know the answer.
Do pro-choice folks have the right to unfettered abortion? No, I don’t believe that they do. At some point you cross a line where that child can live on its own outside the womb. If you have an abortion at that point, I believe that you are murdering a living person. Where you draw that line is tough to define. I am open to any suggestions as to how this could be done. I also do not believe that the government should at ANY POINT be paying for a woman to have an abortion, with the exception of rape. If a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, I am OK with her receiving government help to terminate the pregnancy. Outside of that, zero government assistance. It falls under that silly personal accountability thing I adhere to.
Wrapping it Up…
As you can see I don’t have the answer for how to handle this whole abortion thing. I know what I believe, but I don’t know that I am right or that I am wrong. And I don’t have the answer to how to fix it all. I just know that I have a problem with me thinking that I have the right to tell someone else what to do, no matter how moral or immoral I think their actions are. I think the idea of murder is clear, and I will stop it where I can. But I don’t know if abortion is murder because of my point about where life begins. I know there are some absolutes in terms of morals: stealing, for example. And I know that there are morals set up by society that I must adhere to if I want to live within that society. I am OK with that too. So I am OK when a church decides it will not allow members who have had an abortion or who are gay. It is their own little mini-society and they can run it with whatever morals they like. But I don’t think that all morals can be applied to an entire country.
So now I set you free to tell me what a horrible person I am. I have done my best to prepare myself for the backlash for what I have written. I have done my best to accept all of you despite the areas where we may disagree, I hope that you can do the same for me. I would not have touched this subject if it hadn’t been breaking out all over the place. I want the other threads to focus on the topics in them, not this issue so I am sacrificing myself in the hope that it will keep the debate focused in this thread rather than the other ones.