The debate over life will likely not end soon, but biological advances have necessitated new tactics for those not squarely on the side of life.
Recent rhetorical propositions indicate a new method by which those who are unwilling to vocally or intellectually oppose abortion attempt to rationalize a deflective position. In order to assuage any guilt on the matter, they advance the notion that rather than acting affirmatively within the pro-life or pro-abortion choice movements, one may straddle the moral line by simply suggesting that we collectively redirect our efforts to reduce unplanned pregnancies. Apparently once one has adopted this position the ongoing death of millions each year are rendered ‘relevant status pending action on an issue which cannot be resolved’ and no further action is necessary to realize the absolution of any lingering guilt.
A few things of note: If, as we are consistently told by those not active within or in opposition to the pro-life movement, are to stay out of the bedrooms, the sex-lives, and the (member of the female anatomy)s of the abortion seeker, how can we prevent unplanned pregnancies? The answer I often hear is to create circumstances which provide women with the tools they need to prevent pregnancy or to have and raise the child without having to make any sacrifices whatsoever.
First and foremost this suggests that women, of their own volition, are somehow either largely incapable of preventing pregnancy or do not know how. I give women more credit than that, and I suspect that if one were to survey the women arriving at the abortion clinic for their appointments as to whether they know how they became pregnant and how they could have prevented the pregnancy, you would find that nearly 100% of them would answer yes on both counts. Second, this seems to suggest that the hundreds of millions of public dollars being pumped into free contraceptives for all takers each year is ineffectual. Third, it ignores organizations such as First Choice Clinic, The Perry Center, and St. Gianna’s, (and many others across the country) which provide help for women before, during, and after pregnancies and births. Fourth, the rhetoric is typically crafted in such a way as to suppose that every woman who becomes pregnant in adverse circumstances will become a ward of the state.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]It sounds like it is being suggested that it is our responsibility to take away the reasons people do what they do before they can be expected to be accountable for the results of their actions. Why only in the area of unintended pregnancy? [/mks_pullquote]
Why should we treat irresponsible sexual conduct as a foregone conclusion? What other irresponsible behaviors do we treat likewise? Should we presume that everyone texts and drives and provide that if an innocent person is killed in the process the responsible party be absolved of wrongdoing because we have yet to provide them with the resources to text and drive safely? After all, people are ‘going to do it anyway’, why should the subject bear any further responsibility for that natural choice? The fact that they knew it could happen is clearly not enough; should they be burdened by the responsibility of living with the results of their actions when validating the death of another innocent human being could allow them to live out their life without guilt or hardship?
How about speeding? If people didn’t have to be to work at a certain time they wouldn’t be forced to drive recklessly after sleeping in as a result of a night of heavy drinking which hindered their ability to wake up to their alarm. Without the burden of having to be at work on time they would never have blown through a red light and killed a family of four, but it is hardly reasonable for them to be forced to account for those deaths unless and until we address the reasons they sped in the first place. Maybe they didn’t kill anyone but lost their license because they had too many speeding tickets. Perhaps a lack of funds to purchase a radar detector caused them to have unnecessary encounters with the police, and for that reason they should not have to suffer with the consequences of losing their driving privileges.
It sounds like it is being suggested that it is our responsibility to take away the reasons people do what they do before they can be expected to be accountable for the results of their actions. Why only in the area of unintended pregnancy?
Short of sterilization, there is only one sure-fire way to prevent pregnancy- and it is totally free; not having sex when you do not wish to become pregnant or to impregnate. Oh but that’s unrealistic, people are going to do it anyway. Okay, that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean it is my responsibility to extricate them from their circumstances when the biological reality of the act proves effective. Sure, sex is to be enjoyed; it is a wonderful bonding experience; there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with enjoying sex, but it is also how babies are made. This is among the world’s worst-kept secrets. You’d be hard-pressed to produce an individual old enough to conceive a child in America who couldn’t tell you how children are conceived.
There is (and will always be) the option of contraception. Contraception is widely available for little or nothing and is generally effective; but not 100% effective. Contraception fails; and the failure rate of varying methods of contraception is readily available for consumers to weigh prior to use. That said, one employing the use of contraceptives must prepare him or herself for the possibility that it will fail and that he or she is now a parent. This knowledge is not a secret nor does it necessitate action on the part of anyone else in the determination as to whether or not one utilizes it and engages in sexual activity or not. That is not my business or yours, it is the responsibility of the subject.
The ‘ward of the state’ argument, which often manifests itself in the suggestion that one cannot oppose abortion unless they support every form of government subsidy/welfare program ever conceived, is another insulting red-herring. This line of reasoning presumes that women are incapable of either raising a child or offering that child to an adoptive family on their own. I know many single mothers and many children who were born under adverse circumstances, and I certainly don’t think any of them would be better off dead. Women are smart and capable. In the absence of an abortive option, they are fully able to make a good decision for their child without being relegated to governmental dependence.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]The ‘ward of the state’ argument, which often manifests itself in the suggestion that one cannot oppose abortion unless they support every form of government subsidy/welfare program ever conceived, is another insulting red-herring.[/mks_pullquote]
The fact that people make mistakes regarding procreative activity is not my (or your) responsibility does not change the reality that there is and should be support available for those people. Pregnancy centers and maternity homes (supported almost exclusively by those in the pro-life and Christian community and generally opposed by those in the opposite camp) are great options which afford the subject the opportunity to either carry their child to term and parent or offer the child up for adoption- two options which a woman would rarely, if ever regret. They also provide education to women regarding healthy choices and lifestyles.
Does the acknowledgement that WE are responsible to ensure others don’t make bad decisions encourage them to or discourage them from making better decisions? Is it reasonable to absolve others of the responsibilities of their actions and to expect them to modify their behavior? Should the prospect of cause and effect cause us to alter our moral standards to protect the subject from the ‘effect’ unless and until we can guarantee that nobody will choose the cause which leads to the effect in question? What if it means massive loss of life and liberty? When is it worth it?
There comes a time when we simply must acknowledge right and wrong and craft our laws and standards on the basis of what is right. There is no gray area when weighing the possibility that one may face inconvenience as a result of a choice they made willingly and knowingly vs. the biological reality of the death of an innocent living human being.
I share the desire that we experience fewer unplanned pregnancies, and contend that in the absence of a convenient and moderately inexpensive option to eradicate the prospect of responsibility by abortion, unplanned pregnancies would decline precipitously purely for the fact that people would modify their behavior. Would some seek ‘back-alley’ or alternative abortive options? Probably; and that is tragic, but not so tragic as over 1 million elective abortions per year. Would over 3,000 people every single day do the same? Not even close. The fact that people make bad choices is not a disincentive for protective laws. There are laws against selling one’s own organs. People are desperate for money, but how often do you actually hear about people having ‘back-alley’ organ extractions, and when you do, do you rush to legalize organ sales so they can do it ‘safely’? There are no laws by which all people abide all the time, but if the responsibility of the government is to protect the general welfare of its citizenry, it is not unreasonable that laws should protect the most vulnerable among us. The elimination of abortive options over time would necessitate taking responsibility for one’s sexual appetites and being accountable for their missteps. Laws have been proven to aid the moral imagination. Look at smoking bans and how quickly smokers have come to be looked at as disgusting and vile predators. Smoking used to be an acceptable personal choice. How quickly has the perspective changed after strict laws regulating its use were adopted?
Americans at large pride ourselves for our self-sufficiency and personal accountability. Why should this be any different? If it is an, ‘if this then that’ question, before making the assertions we should look at the propriety of the ‘this’ and the acceptability of the ‘that’. If we are to be effective in our advocacy, we must work with something logical, scientifically sound, and completely lacking in bias, prejudice, or contempt for anyone: If you engage in sexual activity, then you may become a parent.
If we continue to deny the reality concerning procreation, we needn’t accept the reality regarding humanity. If we accept the realities of both, this will become a much more inclusive, loving, and nurturing country and world filled with wanted children and grateful parents.
Let’s right a wrong and address a problem logically and in that order. It’s the way things get done.