Everyone get excited, it’s another white male here to tell you all about what you should think on abortion!
I struggle with abortion. It’s not that I don’t get the whole “my body, my choice” side of things, but that I’m not sure where I sit on the sanctity of life. Or more specifically, when that sanctity begins.
I tend to be a pacifist when it comes to things like killing other living things (outside of mosquitoes and a few other random pests, or for food). And so, I find myself in the same place when it comes to the topic of abortion. And it gets a little more wonky because I think all of us, regardless of religion (or lack thereof) see life as being somewhat sacred. Murder is wrong. We don’t like the idea of prescribed euthanasia. Heck, many people aren’t even for the death penalty for murderers nowadays. Our opposition to murder means that somewhere, deep down, we all recognize that there is a right to life that we all share.
Which, presumably, would also apply to the unborn, at least to some degree.
So the question then moves on to “When does the unborn have a right to life?”
And people have answers. For some it’s at the moment of conception, for others, it’s when the fetus is no longer working as a parasite and can live on its own outside the womb, even if it might need a little help. For others, it might be somewhere in-between. I’m guessing the answers on when are pretty darn varied among all of us, but I’m pretty confident that almost everyone agrees that it happens sometime before the actual birth.
For myself, I don’t consider myself a man with answers, just plenty of questions, and I ultimately don’t know that I know how to draw that line between saying one moment in a fetus’s existence is when they gain the right to life. This has been my ongoing struggle with the very discussion of abortion, that I do believe there is a right to life we all share, but how do we determine a specific point after a baby is conceived as being more life-like than the previous one?
BUT! I’m not actually opposed to abortion. And I’m definitely opposed to a Texas-sized stance on abortion.
Like I said, I don’t have the answers about anything. That includes the female body. I mean, I’ve got a pretty competent general understanding of the anatomy and how things work, but, I’ve never operated one directly. And just like I have questions about the right to life for the unborn baby, I have questions about the right to a woman’s control over her own body. I like knowing I have a significant amount of autonomy over my own body and would certainly struggle if I were suddenly told that it was going to be rented out by another human for the next nine months without my consent and no option to evict.
While I may cringe at the idea of abortion as a too-late-contraceptive, I also know there are plenty of pieces to this puzzle which make it difficult to place unquestionable rulings on. There are health concerns, those good old Sophie’s Choices, where the mother may die if they bring a child to term. And considering how poorly we are willing to support a child after birth, I completely understand the strain an accidental pregnancy could have on a young mother.
Actually, there are plenty of things that could come up once you start looking into what the well-being of the kid might be after birth. A pregnancy from a rape could definitely lead to a mother who can’t even look at the child. And considering the hell that is our current foster system in America, there are plenty of questions about putting the kid up for adoption as well. Not to mention how many people we have living under the poverty line and people who simply don’t have access to a support system or resources necessary to take on the full-time job which is taking care of a kid.
This may feel a little distracting from the original question, but when we’re discussing the concept of enforcing life on little ones who will have to struggle through life, our welfare systems immediately come into the picture. And right now, there are many of us who can’t help thinking of the welfare systems in our country as something that people will abuse, as opposed to something people need to survive. Like the school district near me in Waukesha, WI, who decided they would reject the federal free meals for kids program because, as the person actually named Karin put it, it would spoil the kids. Spoil them? By making sure they had food on their tables?
I’m sorry, Karin, but I’ve seen those meals they’re offering. They are not being spoiled. It’s not like they’re being given caviar and filet mignon. No, they’re getting old Uncrustables and apple sauce. They’re being given the bare minimum necessary for survival. They might as well be getting the MREs we send overseas, as they’d probably have more protein in them.
Why are we so willing to expect every single fetus to live when we don’t want to help them live after they come out? Now, I know that not every single pro-lifer out there is like Karin and there are plenty who do have concern for the child after birth, but at the same time, when people like Karin are the ones making the rules, what hope do these children have? We’re expecting people who aren’t responsible enough to use protection during sex to carry children to term and then also expecting them to suddenly be responsible enough to care for a child?
It took a global pandemic for our nation to finally start making sure our kids had ready access to food through the free meals program. These same kids still had the same food uncertainties before the pandemic and will still have them long after. How long do we actually expect to keep giving out this free food once our country returns to some version of normal?
Look, I’m not personally a fan of the idea of abortion, and I’m happy to say I’ve never been in the situation where it’s been a discussion for me. I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t have been so quick to dismiss the idea if I had gotten a girl pregnant in high school. I also know there are many valid reasons that someone may need to end a pregnancy before it is completed, meaning that abortion is not inherently wrong. And that’s really where I stand on abortion. I’m waffling somewhere in the middle as someone who is happy he’s never been put in the tough situation where he’d need to even consider it, and as someone who, even if he had to consider it, wouldn’t be considering it for his own body, but for someone else.
However, I do have some pretty definitive thoughts about how we should take better care of the kids who do make it through pregnancy. In fact, I can give you all the definitive answers on my feelings about how we should be doing better for our less fortunate in general. The answer is always that we should be doing more. Food? Yes. Shelter? Yes! In general, if the question is should we do more, my answer is “YES!”.
But if the question is “should abortion be illegal”, my answer is generally a no. Regardless of whether I have difficult with some of the specifics of abortion, there are more than enough reasons in which abortion can be medically necessary which makes it downright dangerous to place blanket statements against them. And anything past that, I might have to look toward someone with a uterus for a little more insight. I like things to live, and I’m certain there are people who are using abortion recklessly, but I also know that there is so much more to it than simply murdering babies.