Monday, April 19, 2010

Controversial Topics

Last night in small group, we were talking about a controversial topic. I love talking about things, though, because it helps me to distill and articulate what, exactly, I believe. When Kim shared an article about the Pro-Choice movement, I started writing what I meant to be a fairly brief comment. Instead, it turned into the following post:

I have really mixed feelings on a lot of levels about abortion, but a law preventing state funding in cases of maternal jeopardy, rape and incest?? I am one of those who finds it morally wrong - but not everything morally wrong is illegal, or should be. Because, of course, though their are a lot of similarities in the American justice system to Judeo-Christian beliefs, they are not in fact the same. I have always been pro-life for moral reasons, and because I do also believe that abortion can cause women a lot of harm as well, physically from complications - though I know these are fairly rare and that it's a basic medical procedure - but also potentially psychologically. I'd like to see a lot more support for women facing that choice, from counselors who are not biased one way or another.
I'd also like to see more intelligent sex education - that yes, does include abstinence, because it really is the only 100% effective way of preventing pregnancies and STDs - but not abstinence-only, because people need to be fully educated to make whatever decision they settle upon, and I want to see better access to and insurance coverage of birth control for women. I truly hate when abortion is used as a backup plan for people who were careless with birth control. I know, as I just mentioned, that no form of birth control is 100% effective, but when people have unprotected sex and use abortion to "clean up their mess" I feel that is taking advantage of a serious medical procedure best reserved for emergencies. This particular thought, I know, is shaped by an acquaintance I had in high school, who, at 15, came to me one week and said, "I'm pregnant" and the next week said, "I got rid of it." I was only 16 myself, and I cried a lot of tears for that lost life. Over the years, she went on to have another abortion and an unplanned pregnancy that she carried to term, and kept the baby. I found myself incredibly frustrated by what to me seemed to be a failure to learn from the past and a total abuse of a system taken for granted.
For those considering abortion, I would encourage them to never, ever take the decision lightly. I know that many or most people don't, but I feel the need to stress that. There are options, and yes pregnancy could be very difficult and challenging at the wrong time in your life, but I do wish more people would strongly consider adoption. It's so sad that when there are families who are infertile and longing for a child of their own and wanting and waiting to adopt (or families who already have children who possess that extra grace and love to take in another child), when there are millions of healthy pregnancies being terminated in North America (this discussion opened around American law, but I'm Canadian, so I now broaden the topic slightly.)
All of that said, abortion is legal, and I believe it will stay that way. My moral opposition does not translate to a legal argument, and a person does have a right to control their own body, under the law. And so, as much as I could never do it myself, as much as every lost child grieves my heart, and as much as I believe it to be a morally wrong choice - that is my choice. I believe that freedom of choice involves being able to make fully educated decisions for yourself. I advocate full and unbiased education. Whenever possible, even when difficult, I would urge women to choose life. But ultimately, that is what it is, and what it must be: a choice.
So I find myself in a complicated position, aligning fairly closely with Hilary Clinton's view that "abortion should be safe, legal, and rare." I am right in the middle of two diametrically and sometimes violently opposed viewpoints. I am pro-life. I pray that everyone would choose life, but I recognize that right of choice. I am pro-life, and I am pro-choice. I don't know if that would make me any friends in either camp.


-R- said...

Your opinions in this post very closely mirror my own opinions about the subject. You're not alone!

Amy said...

I'm with you and -R-, I also am pro-life, but I don't believe that a medical procedure is something that should be made "illegal". When people are oppressed, evil abounds. In that vein, if abortions were to be made illegal, people would continue having them just in a very unsafe way, causing more death than keeping abortion legal would cause. I think that you're right about the education. Too many people aren't educated well enough on the topic. I could go on and on, but I'll stop. You hit the nail on the head.

Jane said...

I am more pro-choice than pro-life. I see a lot of people with kids and think they shouldn't have them.

Accidents happen, you can be careful and you can still get pregnant. A child shouldn't be brought up in an atmosphere of "I had to have the child", it should be brought up in an atmosphere of "I want to have a child". However, I do agree it shouldn't be seen as a method of contraception.

Yes there are people out there who want kids and can't have them yet there are still loads of kids in the care system without parents. So I don't think people should be firing out unwanted kids on the off chance that someone wants it.

Annah said...

Jane! That's funny you say that because that's how I feel. Some people just shouldn't have kids. PERIOD. If they're going to raise them to neglect them, then abortion should be a choice they have available to them. All in all though, I think it's about respect and not imposing my views on other people. Live and let live is what I say. I liked your post!