Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I have hesitated to write about the issue of abortion directly in my blog for some time now. It is a very controversial issue and I have not wanted to upset anyone by sharing my thoughts on this subject. Persons on both sides will probably find my views upsetting.

First of all, let me make it clear that I see absolutely no difference between the "Islamic" brand of terrorism and that of "Christrian" extremists who bomb abortion clinics and murder physicians in the name of some misguided "pro-life" stance. The murder of Dr. George Tiller on Sunday was an act of pure terrorism and definitely not Christian in any way.

Although I am a woman and a liberal, I think abortion should normally be allowed only within about the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks, so before then, going to term with a healthy baby is just a potential. A woman should know by the 12th week (which is actually 10 weeks since conception, because the weeks are counted from the first day of the last period, with ovulation occuring two weeks after) if she wants to go to term or not and should decide, within this time, to abort or not. If she misses this deadline, then society should provide her with before and after health care, living facilities if necessary, and with adoption possibilities if that's what the woman wants, or with job training and social services including child care if the woman chooses to be a single mom and to work. Of course there could be very exceptional circumstances, like the woman develops a case of toxoplasmosis or German measles and doesn't want to bring a physically challenged child into the world. There should be provisions for safe later-term abortion in very exceptional circumstances having to do with the health of the mother or the viability of the child-to-be.

The dialogues that go on about this subject are usually either/or, black and white, with conservatives "against" and liberals "for", when what is needed is some kind of an in-between place. What really gets me going is that most of the people I have ever spoken with who are dead-set against abortion are also rabidly against government-provided social programs and services that would be truly needed if abortion were to be banned again, and most are also against programs about safe sex and birth control. Banning abortion will not prevent women from seeking abortions in ways that are not safe, as they did before abortion became legal, so that as before many women will die, along with their unborn fetuses.

Many of the people I have spoken with about this issue also supported the invasion of Iraq that has resulted in the deaths not only of more than 4000 US soldiers, but also of an estimated more than 1.3 million Iraqis whose country will never be the same again - who will not be able to go anywhere without reminders of pain and sorrow - so many lives and loved ones lost in this ill-conceived misadventure. So, conservatives who supported this war and who support war in general, how is war okay and abortion not okay? I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer to this question.

I think a woman should have a right to choose to a limited extent, and that society should be prepared to assist women who choose to continue their pregnancies. Maybe more women would make pro-life choices if they were assured of a social safety net.


Tango daddy said...

Yours is a nice common sense approach to a subject that will never go away. Most simply stated I believe a womans choice is hers to make. This issue cannot be decided by church or state, in a perfect world both could advise but the lady makes the call!!Great post

christopher said...

I agree with Tango Daddy that what you wrote was eminent common sense. As with the abortion issue, as with most other issues, the solution (and the truth) lies always somewhere in the middle.

What you wrote is not dissimilar to a short piece which Michael Tomasky of the Guardian (UK) wrote today about abortion.

It seems to me that the most vociferous opponents of abortion are men who are politically conservative, and who are therefore Republican.

These men, Republican men, while waxing lyrical about sanctity of the lives of the unborn, don't extend this to the lives of people after they are born.

As Bill Maher has said, more people die under Republican administrations than under Democratic ones.

There are always two reasons for everything: the stated reason, and the real reason.

The stated reason Republican men give for opposing abortion is the sanctity of life. But the real reason (although this may be unconscious) is that they wish to keep women under their control, and how better than through keeping them barefoot and pregnant.

Outlawing abortion is the means to this end.

marain said...

Thanks, Tango Daddy, for your comments here. Your When Church Makes Murder post inspired me to finally write something about this issue.

Christopher, thank you for the link to the very interesting Guardian article. I like it that the author, Michael Tomasky, talks about a third side which itself can be subdivided and within which I obviously belong. I've never seen this in print anywhere before. He is so right that the media focus on the extremes and ignore what's in between.