Let’s do it! Let’s talk straight about abortion and a woman’s right to choose (to take the life of her unborn child). Kathryn Shihadah recently posted an article on her Patheos blog calling for “straight take about abortion.” As someone who also holds strong and well thought out views on abortion, I thought I’d answer her call. Below are my responses to her call for “straight talk about abortion.”
Pro-killing vs. Pro-Choice/Abortion
Pro-choice people don’t really want to kill babies – they just want to let the pregnant people make up their own minds.
Really? May I inquire of you what the end result of an abortion is? The intended end result of an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy in all cases. Death is the goal in 100% of abortions. In other words, you really mean: pro-choice people want to let pregnant people (women/females) make up their own minds to kill or not kill their unborn child.
Whose business is it, really? What right does a legislator in my state capitol have over my body, my life?
Okay, your life and body are part the equation, but not only your life and body. The unborn human person growing inside your body is genetically unique. It even has its own set of fingerprints. These fingerprints exist only once in the entire history of the cosmos. From beginning to end, of all the billions of people that have lived and will live, these fingerprints exist once. Furthermore, the person attached to those fingerprints is unique and will never exist again… ever. Therefore, not just the your body and life are at stake here.
By What Right…?
What right does a legislator – or anyone other than myself and the father – have to tell me I must carry a pregnancy to term?
To any “pro-life” evangelical still reading, can you articulate an actual answer to this question?
Props to you to include the father in the discussion. Many pro-choice advocates do not. Kathryn, what actions lead to this pregnancy? When one makes the choice to engage in an action that leads to procreation, one assumes the responsibility of that act. Your emphasis on choice after the act is misplaced. The choice to not engage in the act and thereby not procreate removes the “need” to terminate said pregnancy or carry the pregnancy to term. Again, once procreation occurs, the women is responsible for the human result. In cases of rape and incest, I appeal to “two wrongs do not make a right” argument. The unborn child should not suffer for the actions of others. Abortion in such a case creates two victims.
At What Stage of Development?
You may like to think a one-day-old zygote is a human being, and you may have Bible verses to back you up – but you can’t impose your religious beliefs on my body. Impose them on your own body.
Kathryn, a human zygote is a human being, just at an earlier stage of development. You and I were both in the zygote stage of development. We were also infants, toddlers, teenagers, adults, middle-aged, and eventually (God willing), elderly. This is not a religious belief, it is science. And again, there is more involved here than your body. (See above)
Imposing Religious Law On Abortion or Human Decency?
We have a name for the practice of forcing one’s religion on others: we call it Sharia Law…
No one is forcing religious views on anyone. This issue transcends religion. This is a human decency issue, not a religious issue.
What do we hope to accomplish by outlawing abortion anyway?
Well, we accomplish the protection of the most vulnerable during their most vulnerable state of development. We also save lives. We save the unborn from chemical death and dismemberment. All in all, I think we accomplish quite a bit outlawing abortion.
Don’t You Have Anything Better To Do?
Do we think our rules will somehow purify our country? Because if that’s what we think, we need to get a clue. The United States is so guilty of so many crimes – crimes that impact many millions of already-born human beings – there are certainly other issues to get involved in, issues that don’t tread on a woman’s right to choose what’s going to happen to her body.
In other words, to paraphrase, don’t you have something better to do? No, outlawing abortion will not “purify our country.” Also, diverting the focus to other “crimes” does not lessen the impact of this “crime” on our country. Oh, and again, there is more involved here than just a woman’s body. (See above)
Get in your legislator’s face about world hunger, poverty in our nation’s cities, sex trafficking, the price of medical care. There are a million ways our country can be better and do better.
Kathryn, I totally agree with you. We can do better. We can also multitask. Let us tackle the issues you address AND also outlaw abortion. Let’s support all Americans from conception to natural death. Let us uphold the dignity of the human person. Here is a helpful link to Catholic Social Teaching.
Better Off Dead Than Poor…
Jesus didn’t command us to make our neighbors as religious as we are – he commanded us to be compassionate and loving.
I know what you’re thinking: “it’s not loving to allow my neighbor to kill her baby.”
Coercion is not really love. And obligating a child to live in poverty is not loving.
Again, this issue is not a religious one. This issue concerns human decency. Moreover, as I former child of poverty, I find the suggestion that an in-utero death via chemical or dismemberment more loving than a life in poverty abhorrent. Most humans exist (and have historically existed) in poverty. This is no justification to abort them. “Better off dead than poor” is not loving.
Unhelpful Either…Or Thinking On Abortion
If you really love her, address the issues in her life that lead her to seek abortion. Help her get out of the cycle of poverty. Help her get a decent-paying job, insurance coverage, and child care. If you want her to have a baby, she’s going to need money to take care of it – something like $250K just to get him/her through high school. (Nobody is going to take on a $250K burden just because you say they must.)
I address this above. Again, here is a helpful link to Catholic Social Teaching. This type of either…or thinking does not help.
Why Not Try Self-Control?
Help her get contraception. The availability of contraceptives causes a significant drop in the abortion rate – so if you don’t like abortion, fight to make contraceptives available in your county. Some conservatives have been demonizing or even trying to outlaw contraceptives, and they are driving up the abortion rate.
How about the choice to not have sex? Pregnancies do not happen magically. No sex, no pregnancy. I honestly do not get how much of the discussion about abortion overlooks this fact. This act does not need to take place. How about we exercise some self-control?
End of Life Issues and Human Decency
Leave the issue of abortion to the families who are dealing with a pregnancy. Do not presume to impose your religious conviction on total strangers.
End-of-life decisions are hard and painful – and intensely personal. And not our business.
I reiterate, abortion is not a religious issue. It’s a human decency issue. Pro-life people seek to protect the unborn from unimaginable pain and death. Just as slave owners were imposed upon before the Civil War to free their slaves, so too our laws must impose not killing unborn innocent human being who occupy wombs. “End-of-life” decisions do not belong in our hands. As creator, only God has the authority and right to give and take life.
Regardless, human decency entails we honor the dignity of all human beings regardless of developmental stage and geographical location.
Kathryn’s, I welcome your response to any of my “straight talk about abortion.” God bless.
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