Friday, August 30, 2002

Abortion



"If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament"
Florynce Kennedy



Abortion is a hot-button issue, one that touches deeply the innermost questions of man's religious and moral beliefs and government is at its worst when it argues its right to legislate such matters. In fact, to the degree that abortion is most often a cause where God and religion are called as witnesses, government is prevented from the debate by constitutional separations of church and state. Yet prevention is not enough, in the furious dialog we demand to know where our candidates stand.

I stand exactly on the same ground from which I consider all matters of philosophy or religion, intrigued by the arguments on either side and between the cracks of such matters, interjecting my own thoughts with vigor. Then, I would hope, coming away with somewhat modified opinions and eager to sit in once more where intelligent thought respects another's intelligent thought. Maybe that's a cop-out, but there are many things in this world about which I am constantly changing my point of view. The ground keeps moving and I see it from different angles.

In a more perfect arrangement, I would hope that conception was a desired condition and that no child, once conceived, would be abandoned in its chance at life by abortion. Lacking such perfect circumstances, I am willing to trust to the love and good will of the women who would be mothers to these unborn. For me, any other position is absurdly dictatorial.

It seems to me that those who scream at and parade before those choosing to abort their pregnancies are taking precious little account of the well-being and future of both the potential mother and the potential child. Those supporting anti-abortion laws will leap to their feet with my use of the word "potential." So be it.

But a child, potential or not, requires more than mere birth from its parent. Raising a child is a twenty-year commitment of care and concern, love and education, frustration and perseverance. To demand this by law of every woman who conceives a child is spiritual regression as well as a practical impossibility. The reasons for abdicating such responsibility are as varied as thirteen year-old mothers incapable of motherhood and forty-five year-old mothers unwilling to begin again. But they have in common the fact that they are problems and decisions of mothers and certainly not of the state.

In a condition of such impenetrable darkness, where any true enlightenment could scarcely find its way, I am more than willing to trust to the imperfect but heartfelt decisions of the women concerned. For my part, I argue that it is outrageously arrogant of government to take an official position in the sexual lives of the women of America.