Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sorting Out Abortion

I grew up in a strongly pro-life environment. Our church would sometimes go and hold signs outside of abortion clinics, and 'Abortion is Murder' was the accepted doctrine. Even when I began questioning other aspects of the worldview I was brought up with, I didn't question this one. An abortion was the taking of an innocent life. I was against abortion in all cases, because even if you were raped, the baby did not ask to be born. He was an innocent victim; someone Rick Santorum might--perversely--refer to as 'a broken gift'.

What a weird fuck Rick Santorum is.

As I moved on in my worldview, I stayed away from abortion. Tentatively I was still pro life, but the passion the subject brought up made me uncomfortable to broach it with anyone.

Recently however, I have been thinking about it, and I would say my position has shifted from tentatively pro-life to tentatively pro-choice.

Why pro choice? Because I feel a pro-life stance would require a kind of absolutist outlook on the issue that I can no longer muster. Abortion is complex, and life is complex. Long ago I decided that there were instances in which the taking of life was acceptable, so I can no longer declare 'all murder is evil'. I do believe a fetus is a person. My opinion is not that the fetus is just a mass of meaningless cells. An abortion is not the same as removing a tumor. It is the canceling of a life. That being said, some lives can be canceled. As in war. As in euthanasia. As in self protection, As in suicide, as in the death penalty. There is a time and place where these activities are well reasoned conclusions. I cannot tell someone who has been raped that they should be forced to carry a baby to full term, or to be responsible for raising their rapist's baby. I have seen too much to maintain such a stance. I have seen enough to come to the conclusion that in nearly every area of life, a person needs a choice, and the preservation of all life is not always to the benefit of the greater good, or even the good of the individual (two things which I believe should and can coincide).

It is my opinion that the pro-life stance is one that has no room for conditionals. The pro-choice stance is the one that leaves room for conditionals, and individual variance. A person who is pro life except in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother might want to re-evaluate the label they put on themselves; their stance is more closely aligned with the pro choice argument, which allows that life is not inherently sacred, and that the betterment of the individual--and thus society--can sometimes only be realized at the termination of another life.

So it is pro choice for me. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My opinion on this is that there is nothing that is as permanent as death. The world is filled with uncertainty and ultimately, the only thing we truly have while we're here. The only time I believe that it is ok to take that away is if the thing that you take it away from shows that it has no value for life. The only way I can think of to show that is to take/try to take the life of another. I realize that there are complexities there and plenty of grey areas. Ultimately, I believe that as long as the unborn child can think and feel, it is wrong to kill it unless you can show it doesn't value its life.