Roe vs. Wade
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I have tried my best to be "Switzerland" in the abortion issue. I talked about unity in my previous post, and I find that probably the biggest threat to our country's unity, the biggest divide between us, is this issue. With today's anniversary of the controversial Roe vs. Wade decision and the annual March for Life, I feel compelled to share my own position on the issue, trying my best to find middle ground on it.
Yet, how can I find middle ground on an issue where one side feels it's murder while another paints it like it's a basic human right? Here's one thing my position makes clear: it is neither. Abortion is, in general, a great evil, though I do not equate physicians with murderers.
I'd like to draw an analogy here. One possible route I could take to work takes me up South Capitol Street across the Anacostia River. This takes me past the site where, 15 months from now, I look forward to rooting on my Washington Nationals to victory and hopefully a World Series title. What's on that site right now? Lots of construction cranes, a foundation, some concrete, a few rafters... but I certainly wouldn't call it a stadium yet. It will be a stadium, but right now it is simply under construction. Many construction workers are working very at the request of the owners of the Washington Nationals and the City of Washington to build this stadium, which will bring us all great joy when it is complete.
Now, what if tomorrow, the City of Washington or the Nationals' owners decided, out of the blue, that they suddenly don't want a stadium there. They changed their mind, and ordered the construction workers to stop what they're doing. No particular reason -- they just don't want it anymore. Would they be tearing down a stadium? No. But, how do you think the construction workers would feel? Personally, I would feel quite annoyed as I would have done all this work for nothing (if they had a good reason, then I would understand, but I'd be angry if they just did this on a whim). And how do you think the people who are eager to see baseball in the new stadium would feel?
That is what happens when two people have sex. They are making a request to God to send His Holy Spirit and create a life for them. The Holy Spirit doesn't merely snap His fingers and "poof" there's life; it takes Him time to do his work (it is utterly amazing how the Holy Spirit can create so many hundreds of thousands of lives at once). When the baby is born in 9 months, the new life will bring joy to many people, not just the mother and father. But, when two people have an abortion, they are suddenly asking the Holy Spirit to stop (that's in fact what "abort" means). How do you think the Holy Spirit feels about stopping? We won't have ended a fully-built life, but we will have denied both the Holy Spirit and the other people of the world the joy that this would-be life would have brought to the world.
That is the evil I see in abortion. Yet, I see so many people trying to hide this evil. The truth is, there are actually three sides to this issue. There are people who are "pro-life", who are actually "pro-hibitionist", there are people like me who truly are "pro-choice" (in fact, I feel like I am both pro-choice and anti-abortion), then there are people who claim to be "pro-choice" but they are actually "pro-abortion". These are the doctors and organizations like Planned Parenthood who profit from abortions. They try to paint abortion as basic health care. That makes me feel like shouting this from the top of a building: Abortion and birth control ARE NOT HEALTH CARE! In addition to abortion ending a potential life, both abortion and birth control (pills) have potential serious medical side effects. In particular, both have been linked to breast cancer. There are rare cases where pregnancies endanger the life, or the vital physical health of a mother, and in those rare cases I think abortion should be supported. But, it is important to know that these are the exception and not the rule. Many health care plans actually support nearly all abortions, under the guise that "it's important for the mother's mental health." What they don't realize is that post-abortive women often have as bad or even worse mental problems that are actually caused by the abortion. Worse yet, these same health care plans often do NOT pay for expenses related to actually having a child. This obviously encourages abortion and must be stopped.
Yet, there are also a couple of stances among pro-lifers that frustrate me as well. I've seen a bumper sticker on many cars that reads, "LIFE is not a CHOICE." If you read that again, you'll see that this is actually making Planned Parenthood's point -- they'll say "You're right; for people in a crisis pregnancy, life is not a choice; the only sensible choice is abortion." What pro-lifers should realize is that life IS a choice, and should put more of their energy into encouraging people to choose it.
Also, pro-lifers will give you the statistic that "there are 1.3 million legal abortions performed each year." They'll say that the number will reduce to 0 if we just overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision. However, I believe that, if abortion is banned, all that will change in the above statement is the word "legal" to "illegal." Pro-lifers, don't kid yourselves into believing that an end to legal abortion will be an end to all abortion. What needs to be done is to change people's attitudes towards abortion and expose it for the evil it is. This will, as I just mentioned above, encourage people to choose life, and succeed in reducing abortions better than any law will.
One frustration I have with policies is that, in most states, there is a mandatory three day waiting period before a mother can give her child up for adoption. That makes sense, since adoption is a permanent decision and thus is one that can't be taken lightly. But, there is no law mandating the same waiting period for an abortion (which is also a permanent decision and it can't be taken any less lightly). Planned Parenthood opposes this, claiming the reason is it puts an "unnecessary limitation to one's right to an abortion." But the real reason is that, if people are given time to consider their decision, they will be encouraged to choose life and not to have an abortion. Discouraging abortions is bad for their business.
There is a song I was recently introduced to. It is a "hip-hop" song by the rap singer known as "Flipsyde". The song is called "Happy Birthday" (you can see the video for it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5A5sh8IMeQ&mode=related&search). It tells his story of being a father of an aborted child and the remorse he felt over the decision. It is messages like this, in the language of people who are most likely to have abortions, that will discourage them and encourage people to choose life. Note also that part of the lyric also discourages promiscuous sex ("I never tell a woman what to do with her body, but if she don't love children, then we can't party."). That will also help reduce abortions, by reducing crisis pregnancies to begin with (go back and read my blog entry from June 2006). I wish there were more songs like this one.
So, in summary, I have three things to say:
To people who are considering abortion and are "pro-choice" (or claim to be), I say, "Life is a choice. PLEASE CHOOSE IT!"
To people who are pro-life, I say, "Life is a choice, let people choose it."
To the government, I say, "Life is a choice, help people choose it."