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My position: Abortion

I am pro-choice.

Let me follow that statement immediately with the following: I think abortion itself is a horrible alternative. I don’t deny that it is destroying a potential life. I think it should be an absolute last resort after carefully considering a number of alternative solutions:

  • Practice abstinence – Sex is for consenting adults who understand the risks and the rewards involved in having sex. If you are underage, please seriously consider waiting until you are an adult. By adult, I mean one who has completed several years of higher-level education, has a job, is capable of supporting a child financially and emotionally, and understands the risks/rewards involved in sexual intimacy. The legal age of consent is a good ruler to measure by because it is largely based on the financial and moral tolerance of society.
  • Find a committed partner – Aside from the lower risks of venerial disease, becoming a part of a committed relationship means that you are both responsible for deciding when to have a child. Together you can wait to create a family until you are financially and emotionally prepared to nurture strong successful children.
  • Use protection – If you do engage in sex, use a condom and use birth control. Be smart. Know your partner and know how to protect yourself from venereal disease and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Be vigilant – If you choose to engage in sex with multiple partners, get checked regularly for STDs. If you are a woman, play close attention to your cycle and test for a pregnancy as soon as you suspect it. If you engage in unsafe sex, take advantage of the Plan B or similar pills.
  • Seriously consider adoption – If you do get pregnant, there are many couples out there who want to adopt healthy babies. If you are not ready to become a parent, consider adoption even before you consider keeping the child. After all, when a child comes into this world, the child’s well-being is paramount. Many adoptive parents are able to provide a safe and nurturing home for your child, which you may not be able to do.

If you end up getting pregnant, make a careful decision but make it quickly. If abortion is your only alternative, the sooner it is performed, the better. Even if I don’t consider arguments for the health of the baby, the mother suffers increasing health risks and emotional risks each week that a pregnancy lasts before an abortion. The longer a potential child gestates, the harder it is to deal with the feelings of remorse, loss, and guilt for destroying that potential.

When it comes down to the argument of the morality of abortion, for me, religion has no place in the discussion. Humankind has known a system of morals ever since the earliest societies. The prominent religions of today have only been in existence for a fragment of humankind’s overall existence. The argument that older religions confer morals to the newer religions is wag the dog. Morals are a part of creating religion, not the other way around. We live in a society that practices many different religions (or no religion at all). It is patently unfair to demand that the “moral teachings” of one religion should trump all others, regardless of how popular it is.

However, there is certainly a morality to be considered when dealing with abortion. Even if you argue that a child doesn’t take on life until birth, it is still a horrible thing to destroy that potential that has been growing inside of the womb. In our modern world, there is information everywhere on birth control and planned parenting. There is no need to be caught by surprise. Wait to have sex until you’re ready. When you are ready, make careful informed choices about what you do and who you do it with.

I choose to use the phrase “potential life” carefully. I do not believe that a fertilized egg or a non-fully developed fetus is a human being. Heck, I have a hard time considering some of the fully-grown people I’ve interacted with in my lifetime to be human beings. However, the potential is still important. It at the very least constitutes an emotional investment on the part of the mother.

Plan B Pill – Even for the staunchest of Pro-Lifers, it’s hard to argue against Plan B in a reasonable fashion (don’t argue with unreasonable people, it’s pointless). Plan B has different effects depending on when it is taken. It can prevent the egg from leaving the ovary (ovulation), or it can prevent the sperm from joining with the egg (fertilization), or it can prevent the fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation). Most Pro-Life advocates state that life begins at conception. In two out of three working scenarios, Plan B prevents the pregnancy before this happens. The third prevents an egg from attaching to the womb. That’s the very first step that a fertilized egg has to pass to even become viable. Many fertilized eggs are flushed out after sex naturally. The eggs that are leftover after assisted conception are thrown away or used for research. Nobody seems to be crying over the death of all those babies. Many fertilized eggs fail to implant or are rejected naturally after implantation. Imagine how over-crowded this planet would be if they were all carried to term successfully (yes, I know many failed pregnancies are consecutive).

Plan B works, and it is safe. While I don’t advocate unsafe sex, I strongly support considering the alternative if unsafe sex happens. It is a cheaper and less painful alternative to an abortion or bringing a child to full term. More about Plan B

Contraception – Condoms (male and female), spermicidal lubricants, and birth control pills/patches/injections are just some of the very safe and thoroughly tested forms of effective contraception available today. They are tools. They allow adults to control when a pregnancy occurs. If we judge morality outside of religion, there is no reason to deny their use. If you believe that sex is for procreation only then you don’t need them (AND I feel sorry for you). However, raising our kids today without teaching them about contraception is a bold act of ignorance. Abstinence-only education only accepts one of my bullet points above. Denying that kids will have sex, even after a virginity pledge, is just plain stupid (oh, and here, and here – heck, just google abstinence pledge). Perhaps abstinence is the ideal, but the ideal is rarely reality. If we really want to protect them and lower the rate of teen pregnancies, contraception must be a part of “the talk” in school and at home.

*Rainbow Disclaimer – I approached this article with a perspective on the kind of sex that can create a child, namely that between a man and a woman. I do not in any way mean to imply that sex doesn’t/shouldn’t occur between consenting men or between consenting women. When it comes to STDs, Gay sex can and should be approached with forethought and careful consideration in the same way as heterosexual sex. Homosexual sex isn’t for me, but I certainly don’t mean to disparage anyone who prefers it.

Comments Closed

One Response to “My position: Abortion”

  1. on 15 Feb 2007 at 11:48 am Damien

    We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but as a friend, I have to say that I applaud the thoughtfulness of this article. You are well-informed and take into account not only the potential of the possible child, but the possible emotional damage to the mother as well.

    I too am pro-choice in that I will admit that there are times that an abortion may be necessary. Like you, I think it is a horrible waste of potential life and extremely scarring to the psyche of the mother and even the father (to a lesser extent).

    In the end, it all comes down to personal responsibility. If you cn’t take care of yourself, then keep your legs crossed and keep it in your pants. We have too many dee dee dees runnng around as it it.

    Bravo, Mike!!!

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