Posted: 11/10/12 11:56
by Dave Mindeman
For me, the abortion debate is a constant frustration. Republicans elevated the rhetoric during this campaign cycle to the point of true absurdity. They even took this to the ultimate oxymoron - legitimate rape.
There are only three words in the abortion debate that have any relevancy. Those words are....
I don't know.
No matter how matter of factly you say it, the statement that life begins at conception is just not factual. You can believe what you want to believe about it, but the definition of life is still an "I don't know" rationalization.
People in the "pro-life" movement have skipped over "I don't know" and have begun to believe that whatever they say is fact. This belief system allows a natural move to "rape is God's will" and "women can shut their bodies down during rape" type statements which are needed to explain an untenable position.
We don't know if the union of a sperm and an egg actually represents a "person". If that is absolutely true then we probably have enough "humans" in in-vitro clinics to populate another planet.
We have got to get back to "I don't know". We have to return to focusing on reductions in abortions and not on criminalizing them.
The belief system that pronounces what is life and what is not will continue to produce men like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. These type of leaders keep moving the point of the argument. They have to justify a position of abortion as an illegal and morally wrong act. Since they believe that life absolutely occurs at conception, then they have to find a rational way to explain putting the mother's life in danger and justifying a pregnancy in rape.
The more reasonable answer still is...."I don't know."
An abortion is a medical procedure. It is a part of reproductive health. Republicans constantly remark that government cannot make decisions for people...that such decisions constitute a loss of individual freedom. Then why in the world should we allow the government to make an intimately personal decision about a woman and her pregnancy?
Our only job as a society is to produce societal conditions that will make it easier for a woman to decide to go through with her pregnancy if she wishes. We need to make sure she has access to birth control. That she gets prenatal care. That economics will be the least negative part of the decision. And that societal judgments are left out of how we view her own personal decision.
I would prefer that abortion be a last resort. But I also believe that I have no right to make that decision for anyone else.
My hope is that someday abortion politics will cease to be. That our only role as a society is to support a woman's personal decision whatever that may be. That our discussion derives more from "I don't know" than "I demand".
"I don't know" is not a profession of ignorance. It is the gateway to real compassion.