Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why I'm Not Pro-Choice or Pro-Life

“The abortion industry’s premise is: At no point in the gestation of a human infant does this living being have a trace of person-hood that must be respected. Never does it have a moral standing superior to a tumor or a hamburger in mother’s stomach.” This is a quote from a recent George Will column about the gruesome secretly recorded videos of abortion doctors negotiating the price for pieces/parts of aborted fetuses.  

I wish to make two points before getting to the subject at hand. First, I am an old crank from Flyoverland and I apologize if what follows is not your cup of tea. It’s just not possible to always keep it light in this world, although it is a noble goal. Second, I’m sorry but I just can’t bring myself to use the word one in this or anything I write as in, “If one is pro-abortion.” You are, you’re not, or you're indifferent to the issue.

One is inclined to feel as if one is a pompous ass if one uses the word one in this context. Hey, I didn’t say there wouldn’t be attempts at humor, however lame. Humor is another noble goal.   

Let me begin by announcing my firm support for neither faction.

They've been at each other for 42 years (and counting). I don’t even care for the politically correct labels that they use. Pro-choice? This phrase sounds as if it refers to supporting the right of coffee shops to have as many different versions of coffee that they can dream up (and sell at ridiculous prices).

If you’re pro-abortion you don’t like the term because it rightly provokes a certain squeamishness in many people, perhaps even yourself. “I’m not pro-abortion, I’m pro-abortion rights.” Whatever. The simple fact is that the later the abortion occurs the better the chances this potential little mammal with a big brain will have become a person, and since it’s not possible to determine exactly when a fetus becomes a person, it’s easier to try to not think about it and hide behind the term pro-choice.  

Certain organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, take the position that no restrictions should be placed on a woman's right to have an abortion at any stage of her pregnancy. The supreme court has ruled that a given state has the right to ban abortions once a fetus is determined to be viable, that is, can survive outside the uterus, and 43 out of 50 states have done so. Why?

Because post-viability abortion may be infanticide. I don’t pretend to know when a fetus becomes a person, but I think a civilized society should err on the side of caution. If I were king (the reader groans...) I’d limit abortion to the first trimester for the simple reason that by twelve weeks the fetus looks like a baby, Works for me.

Wait a minute! perhaps we should hold off on deciding this until cheap birth control is available at every convenience store and science develops a morning-after pill that’s available over the counter.     

Pro-life? The vast majority of us are pro-life. Most of us also love mom, apple pie, and Fords. You’re anti-abortion, but you say you’re pro-life because it sounds nobler. Yeah, I understand how passionate you may be about this, I’m a grandfather. However, many of you are even more rigid in your beliefs than your opponents.

Note to your movement: stating that abortion is always wrong, even if rape or incest is involved, may make you feel righteous, or get you votes if you’re a politician, but it causes a lot of folks to think you’re nuts.

Again, I don’t have any idea when a fetus becomes a person. I do know that people, with the best of intentions, screw up. I’m a living embodiment of this fact. I also know that desperate people do desperate things. I know, and so do you, that just because something is illegal it doesn’t prevent someone from seeking out a given product or service, and that there’s always someone willing to provide it if the price is right, no matter the danger to all involved. Do we really want to return to the days of women skulking down a proverbial back alley?

The bottom line is that without a compromise this controversy will never end. It's unlikely there ever will be a compromise because both sides are equally sure they are right, passionate about it, and equally unwilling to back down. The tendency of our absurd media culture to promote controversy and oversimplify for the sake of their bottom line or agenda makes everything worse.  

In the meantime, as the CSNY song says, “teach your children well.” Teach them abstinence, promiscuity or something in between, it’s your job. Regardless of what you believe it’s also your job, no, it’s your duty, to explain that a condom not only prevents pregnancy it may also save their life. 

 Have an OK day.

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©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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