Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Answering How to Best Approach the Abortion Issue

I ran across this post/question on a social media outlet. "JH" favors option #2 in his proposition to gradually reduce the number of abortions.  But has that actually ever worked?

JH’s proposition:

"This is particularly aimed at…the pro-birth brigade.

First of all: Can we agree that we all want fewer abortions? We could even aim for zero abortions in the long run.

The discussion then becomes how best to achieve this goal. There seem to be two opposing schools of thought.
1) Legislate against abortion. This is typically led by the religious right. The problem is that they go further and seek to deny education to women on abortion, contraception, sexual health, anything sex related at all really.

2) Allow abortion up to a date determined by viability of the foetus and provide educational resources to women (and men) in order to prevent pregnancy in the first place. This is typically led by the more liberal groups who use secular reasoning rather than emotional rhetoric to address the issue.

Which is most effective in reducing unwanted pregnancy, particularly among teens? Why is that?"

My response:

Yes, we can agree that we want fewer abortions and want to aim at zero in the long run. However, as a Christian who believes that all life is sacred, and as a human that believes all human beings have the fundamental right to life, I believe zero abortions should be the beginning goal.

First, we should understand each other in terms of what we mean by “abortion”. I understand abortion to be the intentional killing of an unborn child.

I don’t agree with your presentation of the “two opposing schools of thought”.

1) Legislating against abortion is appropriate because abortion directly denies the right to life of certain human beings (those not yet born, and even of those partially born). It isn’t necessarily the “religious right” who are for this; rather it is a position held by those who defend every human’s right to life. Would it be fair to say that “the right to life of all humans is typically only held by the religious right”?

It’s disingenuous to say that the “religious right” want to deny education on sexual matters to women. That is a gross misrepresentation. What they actually want is to educate women (and men) on the sanctity of Marriage, the two-fold purpose of Marriage and the marital act, and respect for sexuality as it has been given to us by God. They want to teach men and women not to abuse or make a mockery of their sexuality. They also do not want to mislead people into thinking that they approve of extra-marital sex by providing things (contraceptives, access to abortion, etc.…) that would encourage extra-marital sex. Further, many in the "religious right" believe that parents are the best educators for their children and they don't want a one-size-fits-all approach on sexuality being delivered to their children by people who do not share common views on morality.  You might disagree with the “religious right” on their views of sexuality and our origin, but to say they do not want to educate women just because they don’t teach what *you* might think is correct is disingenuous.

I would argue that the “religious right” do more educating on abortion than anyone else does. In fact, the vast majority of actual information I have been able to find on what abortion actually is, does, and looks like, has come from groups which might be described as “the religious right”. Those opposed to the “religious right” seem opposed to the spread of such information. So, I would say you have it backwards there.

2) Allowing abortion up to a certain date determined by the viability of the foetus is subjective and it still denies the right to life of a living human being. Who gets the final say what “viability” means? And why is that certain point of development different from another point of development? Why are humans who cannot survive outside their mother’s womb, for example, denied the right to live? Are they unworthy of life just because they depend on someone for nourishment? Infants who can live outside their mother’s womb are no less dependent upon someone else for sustenance.

Providing educational resources to *prevent pregnancy in the first place* is an excellent idea! The problem is that the “religious right” you referred to earlier is the only group that does this. They teach abstinence from sex until Marriage, which happens to be the best, safest, most effective method for avoiding pregnancy. Others seem to believe that teaching teens/adults about contraceptives, and providing those contraceptives, will somehow reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. The problem is that the opposite is actually true. Since the dawn of contraception and education about it, people seem to have taken that as permission, or sorts, to have sex at will, regardless of Marriage, and unwanted pregnancies have risen. Contraception gained popular status between the 1930’s-1960’s, and abortion shortly followed. The two have shared what appears to be a correlation ever since. No amount of contraception availability and education has reduced the number of unwanted pregnancies or abortions, ever. It’s not because contraceptives aren’t effective in and of themselves. It’s because, in my opinion, providing them and teaching about them sends the message that we expect everyone to engage in the very act that leads to pregnancy…while expecting that act not to lead to pregnancy. It makes more sense to teach people to avoid the act that leads to pregnancy in the first place, until they are ready for that responsibility, doesn’t it? That’s not “emotional rhetoric” used to address this issue; that’s logic.

Legislating against abortion and educating men and women about the reality of sex and what sex actually leads to (pregnancy) is the best option, particularly among teens. This teaches them that all humans have the right to life and that having pre-marital sex can lead to pregnancy, even if they have access to contraceptives. The reality is that no amount of contraceptive access and education has done anything to reduce the number of abortions. The “religious right” position, however, has had actual results in closing down some abortion clinics. So, they at least have some positive results they can point to in ending abortion.

Image courtesy of "The Looking Spoon".

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree, I believe that the availability and acceptability of contraception has (as was predicted at the time the Anglican Church first allowed it) simply lead to promiscuity and inevitably in-wanted extra marital pregnancy - then on to abortion.

    "Female contraception" - essentially the pill and other hormonal methods have also encouraged men to think that they have a right to ask for sex and unmarried women to think they have an obligation to provide it.

    Sex education in its whole approach is wrong, in that it emphasises 'sex' not morality and responsibility.