Saturday, January 28, 2006


Abortion Rights and Wrongs

Patrick Armstrong at hurricaneradio wrote a post today that prompted me to finish this essay that I began about a month ago.

First, let me openly admit that on the subject of abortion I start from my conclusion and work back to "logically" build a position to support my conclusion. When I was 19 my girlfriend and I discovered she was pregnant. Being before the Roe vs. Wade decision, abortion was not much a option unless we drove to some distant place. In reality, abortion would not have been seriously considered. We got married, I dropped out of college and found full-time employment. We produced a beautiful baby girl who is now 34 years old and provided two grandchildren.

In about 1991, a lady wrote a letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer describing how she had had three abortions during her life with the last one leaving her unable to conceive. I responded with a letter describing my life events. Several people responded in the newspaper and 4 or 5 wrote me personally. Of the ones that supported abortion "rights", all assumed that I had never finished college due to this child's conception and birth although I did not mention one way or the other the outcome of my schooling.

I found it interesting that the abortion rights supporters perceived unwanted or unplanned pregnancy as such a disaster and tragedy that it would ruin your life. For me, this child saved my life. Before, I had no real direction, was muddling through college with a 2.0 GPA, etc. Taking my responsibility seriously, I continued my college education although I had to take time off to earn money to pay tuition, etc. My lowest GPA in any one quarter was 3.75 with 5 quarters of 4.O GPA. After a 3 year break to work, I returned to graduate school and graduated with an M.S. with a 3.97 GPA (easy major though).

I dread to think where my life would have ended up without this series of events. Sure, maybe I could have accumulated more wealth, or traveled more extensively, or whatever, but for me this was the best thing that ever happened to me along with the births of my other three children.

A few weeks past, bunches and bunches of people traveled lots and lots of miles to march in Washington, D.C. (I use "bunches" and "lots" so as not to quibble over actual figures.) My son's small parochial school let school out for a day so students and faculty could go to the march if they wished. For virtually my entire adult life, abortion has been a volatile subject of debate. Some call those who oppose abortion "fascists," "Nazis," and "totalitarian." Those who oppose abortion call abortion supporters "murderers."

While I oppose the act of abortion, I prefer to avoid the hyperbole used by both sides of the issue. I'm not sure exactly when life begins or what the definition of a "viable life" should be. I know a couple whose premature baby weighed 1 lb. 4 oz. at birth and survived to become a healthy child although needs to wear glasses due to such early birth.

The truth is that none of us really "know" when life begins. We can choose when we think it begins and act accordingly. We also can't fully predict the outcomes of unexpected births, or expected births. I use the approach of Pascal's wager, that it is a better bet to believe a fetus is a living human being. I suppose the nuns in my grade school did a good job on "indoctrinating" me.

What if I support abortion and bet wrong. My ever after may not be that great. Of course, if you're an atheist this argument holds no value. But, I don't know how atheist are able to put any value on human life any greater than a common stone.

A funny thing to me is that many of the supporters of abortion rights use the argument that a woman has the right to control of her body. Despite the one/two dichotomy, these same people often speak out vociferously against any activity in which a woman's looks or sexual appeal is "exploited." Why can't a woman earn money by having sex with others? A woman could have sex with 10 men a night and it would be perfectly legal as long as she didn't ask for any pay. Why not be reimbursed for her efforts? These are consenting adults mutually agreeing to an activity.

Another aspect of the abortion debate that disturbs me is the complete onsidedness regarding gender. Virtually, all the choices lay in the woman's hands. Not only do women hold all the power of decision but in some states, such as Ohio, laws allow women to anonymously drop off unwanted babies with no questions asked and no notice to the father. While preferable to abortion, this continues the heavy bias towards women in this realm.

A man's only choice is keeping it in his pants. Many feminists (and male feminists) support this position.
A solitary old man holding a large hand lettered cardboard sign in front of him. Men who are against abortion should keep it in their pants, it said. My husband and I chuckled as we passed him, and he grinned.

That last message stayed with me on the long, slow drive back to New Jersey. He's right you know, I told my husband the next morning. That man with the placard we met as we were leaving. He gets it.
I certainly support this position unless, as a man, you want to be joined at the hip with a woman you may not be able to stand.

Some interesting thoughts on abortion, Democrats and euthanasia here.

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