Sunday, August 10, 2014

Political Discussion: Abortions

I almost never talk about politics for two reasons: first, political opinions are generally closely held and personal, and there's generally nothing to be gained by voicing them. If someone disagrees with you then you may have just lost a (potential) friend. If someone agrees with you it doesn't affect their opinion of you at all because of course you agree with them. The truth is the truth, and we generally don't hand out gold stars to everyone who agrees that the sky is blue.

My second reason for never talking about politics is because in many cases I'm simply undecided. It's irresponsible to decide a stance on most of these hot button issues without taking the time to really think about it, do some research, and really analyze the conflict. To be honest, I just don't have the time to form opinions on everything responsibly, so I defer.

That said, as the future President of the United States of America I'm going to need to develop clear opinions about some of these things. I'm not really sure what all of the issues are, though, so if you're interested in hearing my opinion on a matter, let me know and I'll start looking into it.

In the meantime, recently the subject of abortions has popped up thanks to an Alabama law that would have closed three of the state's five clinics if it hadn't been deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge. So, let's jump into it.

The primary conflict of abortions seems to be a disagreement about the value of unborn life. The Pro-Life camp believes that human rights are owed to an unborn child from the moment of conception while the Pro-Choice camp believes that human rights are bestowed upon it at some point down the line. This leads into some really deep, often speculative discussions about what qualifies as "personhood."

I'm not going to get into that discussion here, though. The fact is, unborn life is a gray area of existence, and as such people are never likely to agree about at what point human rights should be conferred to a child. I can take a best guess, but there's no definitive "right" or "wrong" here. Even religions, the most popular go-to arbitrator for ethical problems, generally don't have much information about his gray area of unborn life. We're on our own for this one.

It's also worth noting that, as a man, I will never have to have an abortion. It's an experience I'm simply, biologically excluded from. Given that and the grayness of the core conflict, I honestly don't see why my opinion should have any bearing on this debate at all. This is really a matter that should be decided by women.

That said, there are women on both side of the conflict. Many people consider the issue to be a matter of women's rights, but I don't think the Pro-Life women see it that way. If they believe that human rights ought to be conferred to a child at conception, then for them it's a human rights issue defending the unborn child, which is in no position to defend itself. This protective view makes a lot of sense to me.

However, as I said, the definition of life is gray here. Most Pro-Choice women don't see an abortion as murder because they don't yet consider the unborn child to be a person. However, I think there are Pro-Choice women who do consider unborn children to be people, yet they recognize the grayness of that distinction and choose not to enforce their belief on others. They support the rights of other women to make that distinction on their own because, really, we just don't know.

And that view reflects my own. I do not believe abortions are ethically sound and, were I a woman who accidentally got pregnant through consensual intercourse, I probably wouldn't choose abortion. However, that would be my choice, and I would not blame a woman that arrived at a different conclusion and decided to abort. So, I believe I am definitely Pro-Choice.

One final note: I think we can all agree that we would rather women never have to make that choice in the first place. To that end, I believe sex education is very important. If we are open and honest about the subject to children as they enter puberty they can make more informed decisions later on. That combined with easy and abundant access to contraceptives could make abortions less and less of an issue. This seems like a much easier choice than deciding the personhood of unborn children.

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