On August 29, 1996 Bill Clinton said at the Democratic National Convention, “Abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare.” I couldn’t agree with him more.
Unfortunately, it seems the most ardent modern pro-choice advocates have forgotten the “rare” part of Clinton’s comment.
When it comes to the ethics surrounding abortion, the focus seems to have fundamentally shifted; the question of whether or not the child is a living being seems to have been erased by the masterful advertising campaigns of pro-choice advocates.
The shift has moved to being centered on “a women’s right to choose” and “reproductive rights.” I get why that shift had to happen. Too long were women property of men and unable to make decisions.
Additionally, if the focus is too much on the fetus, there’s a lot of explaining to do. But if it’s centered on the mother’s choice there is not. As a culture we agree that choice is important; we try like hell to limit the limiting of choices.
Despite the re-focusing of the issue, I still struggle with the question: when do the cells in the body become a child? And when is abortion killing a child?
Here are some things I believe about this issue.
First, I think that all human life in the womb has intrinsic value. There is no exception to this. I value children in the womb because I believe God values them.
It gets tricky for me though when I begin to define exactly when life begins. I am not sure that life begins at conception. Maybe life actually begins when there is a heartbeat, or at the quickening, or when it no longer looks like an alien, or when it is viable outside the womb. Some believe that the fetus is not actually alive until it takes its first breath: I can’t go this far. But I know that at some point the fetus is alive and human. Therefore, at some point abortion is actually killing.
Second, I think that all human life outside of the womb (including mothers “with” child) have value. There is no exception to this.
It gets tricky for me here with issues of rape incest, and the health of the mother.
Because I believe that life in the womb has value that means that a baby conceived in rape/incest and other horrible conditions still has value. But, I can also see how the impact of carrying these children to term can be detrimental for the mother who has herself also has intrinsic value.
As for the health of the mother, that is a hard one too. I know women who would die (and did) for their child to be born. I know others who wouldn’t; this is a hard decision as well.
Basically, a mom in the above situations need to make a way forward from a place thats horribly screwed up; the military term for this would be FUBAR.
Third, I think that living is better than not living.
Some make the case that growing up poor, in single families, in the foster system, or with the shame of knowing that the father is a rapist is un-ethical. Abortion is therefore a better alternative. I don’t buy it. I think life is better than death.
- I am against later term abortions because I think that life begins in the womb.
- I am against later term abortion because I think life has intrinsic value even in a FUBAR situation.
- I am against later term abortion because I believe that life is better than death.
Yet, I am “pro-choice” because the decision to have an abortion is not mine to make. I believe that it should ultimately be made by the mother and her community.
Some may be thinking, well you are a man what gives you the right to speak to this subject at all. I don’t buy the idea that this is purely about a woman’s body. This is also about the life of the child which a man helps to create. The modern notion that this is an individual mother’s decision is wrong especially from a Christian perspective. No decision should be made in isolation outside the gates of one’s community.
I am pro-choice because I think abortions should be safe and legal. I think that outlawing them would send us back to a time we ought not go to. At the same time, I think they should be rare.
I think that there should be comprehensive sex education (including abstinence) and access to birth-control; ultimately, this will be the only thing that makes abortions rare.
Here is a great website to learn more about both sides of the abortion argument. ProCon
What is your view on the abortion debate?