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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Pros and Cons

I'm having more and more trouble figuring out terminology. With all these Planned Parenthood videos out (nine, at last count), we are having more discussions on "anti-abortion" and "pro-choice". Of course, there are other terms to be applied. The "anti-abortion" side would normally prefer "pro-life" and would prefer to call the other side "pro-abortion". Both sides object to the characterization of their positions in these terms. But what is right?

I am not, in fact, anti-abortion. If "abortion" is the termination of a pregnancy, it would include "miscarriage" (also called "spontaneous abortion"). I don't object. It is not that a pregnancy is sacred. It is the life that is in the image of God. No, my objection is to the intentional death of the baby involved. Now, of course, given our level of technology, the two are inexorably linked. We cannot, today, remove a baby from a womb and have it survive. But the removal is not the problem that concerns me; it is the life. Thus, I cannot rightly be termed "anti-abortion", only "pro-life". If there are those who think that pregnancy is sacrosanct, then they would be classified as "anti-abortion". (And don't fall for that false line about "anti-choice". Everyone is "anti-choice" in some area or another because everyone believes that your choices and mine should be limited in some area or another.)

So is it fair to classify those who favor the procedure as "pro-abortion"? They generally object. "We're not pro-abortion; we're pro-choice." Applying the same thinking to this as I did to my own "pro-life" position, I'm not sure that many are actually "pro-abortion". That is, they aren't suggesting, "Every woman should kill a baby or two in their lifetime." They are "pro-abortion" in the sense that it should be available, but only that it would be an available choice. To be fair, then, I don't think you'll find very many "anti-abortion" types or "pro-abortion" types either.

So, not many "pro-abortion" and not many "anti-abortion". And, of course, I've established "pro-life" as a viable term. Here's the difficulty I'm having. Let's say that we did accrue the technology -- the artificial uterus or whatever -- that would allow a fetus to be removed from its mother's womb and maintained until it can be self-sustaining. Would mothers wishing to terminate their pregnancies opt for this? Would Planned Parenthood switch over to recommending this choice? The sad fact is that I don't think they would. Choosing between "terminating this pregnancy without residual" and "terminating this pregnancy knowing that somewhere out there a baby that was mine will live on", I don't think that most would select the latter. So, if this is true, what term can we fairly apply? If many of us are "pro-life" and many others would prefer to terminate the life of their baby rather than allow it to live on elsewhere1, what term would rightly be applied? This isn't simply "pro-choice". Isn't this "pro-death"? If someone prefers killing a child to letting it live, isn't that the right term to apply?

Like I said, I'm having trouble. This term disturbs even me. Unfortunately, I can't seem to escape it. When we've arrived at the point that mothers would rather terminate the life of their babies -- made in the image of God -- than let them live, can it be deemed anything but "pro-death"? And if pro-death is as prevalent today as it appears to be, is there any wonder that human life is so much cheaper today, considering all the murders and killings? I mean, if a man kills his 1-year-old so he could play a video game or a woman kills another woman because she wasn't upset enough when their football team lost a game, what value is human life? Is that not pro-death? And why would we expect anything other than murder and mayhem from a society that embraces this position?
1 Lest you think this is a silly position for me to take, ask yourself a question. If most women would gladly let the child live if they could, why don't they? There are no laws against giving a baby up for adoption. There is no shortage of people who wish to adopt newborns. There are plenty of places available for mothers to have babies without excessive cost where they can give them up for adoption. Given this obvious, easy, readily available, non-lethal option, why are there so many babies still being killed in the womb?

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