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By Paul Meekin
“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions. I understand that they feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a “host.” – Rep. Justin Humphrey
Oh Mr. Humphrey, whatever point you wanted to make, it doesn’t matter. When it comes to abortion, you can’t use a word like “host” to explain the relationship of a mother to a fetus and expect to get away with it.
Mr. Humphrey’s point is a baby inside a woman’s body isn’t the woman’s body. The woman is ‘hosting’ a growing child inside her – and the father has a right to its life as much as the mother.
You can disagree with that. But argue the point, not the man.
Currently, abortion is a crap shoot. There are five states with only one abortion clinic. You may have read this law stating abortion would be illegal after a heartbeat was detectable, and this heinous story where aborted fetuses would be required to have a proper burial.
Roe V. Wade gave the states the ability to regulate abortion to protect the health of the mother and child. Yet, regulation demands that you listen to the heartbeat of the fetus before aborting it. Regulation demands you must pay out of pocket for the burial of your fetus. And yes, regulation means only having one clinic in an entire state.
Those are cruel and unusual punishments. If you’re a fetus in the middle of this, you gain personhood around the time your dad is hankering for a sandwich and a nap, or inhuman cells until the doctor smacks your ass. Forget about the same page. We’re not even in the same library.
“Abortion is a tragedy…it should be legal, it should be safe, it should be a lot rarer than it is right now.” – Fictional President Matthew Santos of “The West Wing”
From the Right, a prevailing argument is that there is a living person growing inside the womb of a woman from the moment of conception. Think of it like a seed. Is a seed alive? No. But you fertilize that seed and a little green stem sprouts up, and that is life. It’s not a tree yet, but you cannot deny something is growing. Eventually, it’s transplantable from its gestational fertilizer and will survive on its own.
But when does seed become sprout? Is that seed alive after it’s been planted, before it sprouts, and before it can be transported from its gestational soil? Is it when that sprout has leaves? Or when its roots reach a certain length?
From a pro-life point of view, a fertilized seed is life. It’s growing, and it is the responsibility of the soil to keep that seed safe, fed, and alive until it can survive on its own.
If a mother is not ready for that, she shouldn’t let anyone play in her soil without gloves on. There are countless contraceptives, marital aids, “Abstinence+” techniques and heck, the Catholic Church released a handy calendar to help.
For the record, no one ever got pregnant by not having sex. Well okay maybe one person.
Conservatives do understand there are circumstances that could warrant an exception – in instances of rape, incest, and the health of the mother, which conservatives, including Donald Trump and the Mexico City Policy, agree on this.
The question is when does a fetus become a human being? Upon a heartbeat? Upon 10 fingers and 10 toes being seen via Ultrasound? Upon birth? When it can kick? And that’s a question folks have a hard time with, and one pro-choice advocates tend to refuse to answer.
“Since fetuses are physically incapable of believing, speaking, or assembling, they cannot have or exercise any constitutional rights. This puts them in a totally different category than regular human beings.” – The Pro Choice Network
They say you’re never really ready to be a parent, but some people are really, really not ready. According to The Women’s Center of Florida, about half of all American Pregnancies are unintended, and about 88 percent of abortions occur within the first 12 weeks.
The demographics for abortions match up with what you’d expect. ‘Privileged’ classes are much less likely to have an abortion because they can afford to have a child, while African-American and Hispanic women are more likely to abort.
The Left are “realists”, stating that people will have unprotected sex and will get unexpectedly pregnant and it’s far better to terminate a pregnancy a parent doesn’t want than to bring an unloved and unwanted, in some cases drug addicted, child into this world.
Adoption isn’t optimal – bringing a baby to term, only to never see it again has to be a special kind of emotional terrorism.
Have no doubt abortions will happen, legal or not. Like drugs or sodomy or speeding, regardless of law, it’s the will of the people and must be respected – else you risk creating a calamitous scenario for both the mother and the unborn child inside of her.
So, we have a situation where regardless of how you define life, the most humane course of action may very well be stopping that life from ever existing in order to save it from a life of turmoil and regret and pain and resentment.
“There is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.” – The Pope
A lot of current legislation centers around limiting how far into a pregnancy you can receive an abortion, or making you feel like an asshole for having one, versus banning them outright.
The left has shown little leeway on this front. Even in the third trimester, it’s said abortions are the right of the mother, and it’s no one’s business but hers. By the third trimester a baby has all the accoutrement of a human being. We can agree by this point what’s growing inside the mother is something more than a collection of cells.
It’s also true that third trimester abortions are rare. But that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. There are plenty of rare things that are considered wrong yet deserve scrutiny – like election fraud.
My advice? Compromise. Cut it out with the laws about listening to heartbeats and headstones. Support stem cell research and let at least some good come from a bad thing. On the left, consider regulations on abortion post third trimester. Maybe give people trying to talk about this issue a little leeway. They’re freaked out. They think children are dying by the million every year. And…yeah, maybe the father should have a say, legally, in what happens to their unborn child if they’re a fit parent.
I don’t know. I’m trying.
Libertarian ideals hold little comfort. Until we agree when a fetus becomes life – or start to have that discussion – limited government, free markets, individualism, and non-aggression hold little wisdom, and probably lean toward a pro-choice ideology – at least until late in a pregnancy.
So, here we are. On separate pages in separate books in different libraries in totally different states. Divided. Angry. Scared. Perhaps all the insight in the world won’t change your feelings or thoughts about the actual humans on either side of this, and that’s fine.
It is horses that wear blinders, tow everything they know behind them, and shit in the street.
My answer to the Pro-life vs. Pro-choice question is always “Of course I’m pro-choice”. Not because I “stand with her” or want a pointy vagina hat, though I do… and I do, but my reasons are selfish and based almost entirely in the fact I don’t want kids.
I wish I could say it’s because I believe pro-life people hate women. I wish I could say it’s because a baby isn’t a human life until it takes its first breath. But I can’t, because I don’t know.
I would hope society…trusts the women tasked with making this sort of choice. Yes, there are outliers and incidents and cases where abortion has been utilized irresponsibly. If I’m willing to say Gun ownership is a fundamental right, and that they are in fact tools for protection, despite a growing number of incidents, perhaps those same people can agree that the right to terminate a pregnancy is also a tool of sorts. A tool, much like a firearm, that can have tragic consequences by ending another life to protect yours – but is inherent to personal liberty and privacy and security and freedom.
If we can maybe get together on this, see neither side is fundamentally evil or wrong – and do ultimately mean well – maybe this world won’t be the kind of place you’re scared to bring a child into.