Friday, October 9, 2009

Why is abortion such a big deal? (Part 1)

Yesterday I wrote about an open letter the Religious Institute published in which they promote access to abortion for all women regardless of circumstance.  Let's look at why some of us "religious types" oppose abortion in light of the letter's arguments.  Several arguments will be addressed over the course of the next three days to keep the length down to something reasonable.

Many people think that some of us put too much emphasis on abortion.  Don't we realize that to be "pro-life" is to support all life; like the poor, the marginalized, the hungry and so on?  Doesn't the focus on abortion take the focus away from these other people who are also weak and vulnerable?

Everyone agrees that we need to help the poor and the marginalized.  Everyone agrees that we need to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  We may disagree on how to do that, but no one says they're "pro-poverty".

However, there are people, even Christians, who say the mother's life (not just life but convenience and happiness) take precedence over the life of her unborn child.  In that sense we have a fundamental disagreement about reality.  Everyone says poverty is bad; not everyone says abortion is bad.  That's why the focus on abortion is so necessary.

Imagine if many people thought it was fine for all of the kids in Africa to starve to death.  Don't you think there would be a huge ruckus from "religious wackos" who want to persuade the public into believing that the plight of African children is a bad thing that we should work to end?  Of course we would.

As an odd sidebar; many pro-abortion people say they want abortion to be "rare".  If there is nothing inherently wrong with abortion, who cares if it's rare?  Anyway, I digress.

But, isn't pushing for abortion to be illegal just pushing people into getting dangerous illegal abortion? 

What gets covered in the media is the push to make abortion illegal.  What doesn't get talked about is the push (by the same people) to make adoption more accessible and available, to open more crisis pregnancy centers that can help fund a baby to term and ensure that the mother and baby get the medical attention they deserve.  There is much more that goes on with ending abortion than just changing laws.

The primary goal is to change minds.  We want to change the minds of women and men so they see children as a blessing and not a curse.  This is why consistent "pro-lifers" also oppose artificial contraception (that's conversation that's already been addressed).  As long as people see pregnancy as a disease they will seek abortion.  When they see pregnancy as a blessing, even if they can't keep the child themselves, abortion becomes an illogical choice.

In that sense, we are "pro-choice".  We want women to make a choice; a choice that everyone, including their baby, can live with.

That said, making it illegal will reduce abortions dramatically.  The mantra is always "make abortion legal and it will magically decrease".  That has happened in 0% of the countries that have legalized abortion.  It's backward thinking.  Legal things are more likely to be done than illegal things; that's just common sense.

We have no intention of passing laws and letting pregnant women just suffer the consequences.  The pro-life movement is involved at all levels of making a workable alternative to abortion, regardless of a woman's circumstances.

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