Abortion is a black and white issue to some people. There are many who have made up their mind – abortion is either always wrong and a woman should never have the option to go through with the procedure – or the woman should always have a choice whether or not she wants to have an abortion; it should be a legal right. In between these two extremes there is of course an infinite depth and variety of views on what is “right.” Some may say abortion is only acceptable a few days after conception; others will see even late-term abortions as acceptable. Some will agree that abortion is wrong, but since there is such a clash of interests that some form of abortion should remain as a legal option.
Roe v. Wade stands as the bar that has been set concerning abortion rulings. That landmark 1973 case said that laws banning abortion denied women the right of privacy granted in the 14th amendment. In the system of checks and balances, the Judicial Branch is meant to interpret law and can deny law if it is found unconstitutional. This is exactly why it is tied up in the courts. Of course, this does not deny Legislatures the right to write up a law that says life begins at conception – I can’t even imagine the debate in the courts if they had to protect the legal right to life of a fetus, yet deal with the precedent in place concerning the right to privacy! With a Democratically-dominated Congress and Executive branch, I don’t really see any legislation passing any time soon that will define life as starting at conception.
I have found abortion to be an incredibly complex issue. I have avoided commenting on abortion on this blog or in any discussions I have recently had. I think I can honestly say I am practically torn on this issue. On the one hand, I have had two people who I respect an incredible amount when it comes to political issues who have said that there should not be a ban on abortion. Then again, there are people I respect very much who are hardcore pro-lifers (including Ron Paul himself). What is this issue really all about? Life, Choices, Murder, and a whole lot more.
The problem with abortion is that there is just no easy answer. One could make the argument that it is similar to alcohol, marijuana, gambling etc. in the sense that it will not necessarily be seen as the “right” thing to do and oftentimes will even be looked down on by many people. But the thing is that people have the choice to do this or that regardless of whether people think it is ‘good’ or not. But the analogy cannot be drawn to abortion – the argument is flawed because when one aborts a fetus it is not just the person who does the aborting who is affected (even though in my opinion they will feel the effects for the rest of their life) but also the fetus, the “life” that is necessarily affected.
One could also argue that abortion is in all instances murder. But again, it is not murder in the sense we know murder as. I think that many Americans see a big difference between an abortion in the first trimester and one that is later (that actually requires the dismembering of their body). Why is that? It is surely different than murder in the traditional sense, since murder of a human being happens when they are already living and breathing on this earth, and it takes much more to murder someone than to have an abortion, or else there would not be the immense amount of abortions as there have been in recent time. I think the argument that there is clearly life, or at the very least potential of life, starting with conception is a very strong case against abortion, though. The problem is that those who disagree do not see any other strong argument in opposition of abortion.
But how far do we go when it comes to abortion legislation? Do we have an all-out ban on any abortions in any circumstance? Or do we allow all abortions? First, I strongly believe that this is a state-by-state issue. If abortion in Minnesota is the same as abortion in Wisconsin, then why is it a state issue? In my opinion the federal government already has taken way too much power from the states, and I believe that the Constitution needs to be respected when it says that all powers not specifically given to the federal government are reserved for the states. That is where my train of thought comes from. But even if it is a state issue, what exactly should be the ruling on abortion? I have a hard time supporting an all out ban. I believe it is more complex than that. The fact that there is such debate over who is right, I don’t believe that the government should be legislating to that extent over a woman’s body. I am opposed to abortion personally, but I also believe in personal rights so I am very much stuck in the middle.
Can I denounce abortion and not be in support of an all-out ban on the practice? I believe so. This is one place where I think the church has become way too involved in politics. Instead of being the first place someone would turn when they become pregnant, the church has become a mortal enemy of anyone who even considers an abortion. I believe the same is true with gay marriage. The ban on gay marriage in California has not caused anyone to rethink their sexual orientation. If anything, it has turned them much farther from the church. I feel as though too much weight has been put on the legislation of abortion. I think that if someone has an issue with abortion, it should be with the doctors and the individuals who are taking part in it. I am not trying to make those who take part in it seem evil, but instead of trying to push this legislation through you should see who it is you are taking issue with. Instead of thinking legislation will end the issue, one should consider investing their time volunteering for some organization that reaches out to women considering having an abortion, or even adopt a child! Maybe donate money to a nonprofit that helps out mothers financially who make the choice to not have an abortion. There are endless options to what someone can do to curb the abortion trend without legislation. I know, I know, it sounds crazy trying to find solutions outside of government! *note the sarcasm*
I will never say I think abortion is “right.” I truly believe it is an extremely complex issue that has many variables. But I hope that this blog will help other people understand why I am not “without-exception” pro-life and in support of an all-out ban. I think there are better ways to address this issue than the millions of hours (and dollars!) spent to advocate legislation that would ban all abortions, everywhere, without exception.