Choosing what is life in the abortion debate
I often ask myself why I am pro-choice, why I feel it is ok for a woman to terminate a living, growing being that is inside her, yet I am inherently against murder, against capital punishment and the right of the state to take away the life of another.
I toss the arguments over and over in my mind, trying to find the loophole that will confirm I am not a hypocrite, that my thoughts and feelings stem from solid reason, not from emotion and sentiment.
It is still difficult for me to put my finger on exactly why I feel that murder, by person or by state, is heinous, yet think that abortion should be legal, and is acceptable.
To drag the debate through some pop-culture mud, it is almost the same moral conundrum that presents itself over scenarios such as those displayed in the TV show Dexter.
Why do we cheer for the title character, a psychopathic killer, each time he manages to outwit the police and survive to see another episode? Why are we relieved when he manages to cover his tracks just in time and escape being caught out by his colleagues and family?
He has just viciously murdered and mutilated a human being, so why are we happy that he has gotten away with it? Even though the people Dexter murders are vile rapists and murders themselves, who prey on the innocent & the unwitting, they are still humans, and Dexter is still taking a life. Yet it seems the satisfaction we feel when he succeeds is because we consider the people that Dexter kills to be not worthy of life!
As much as many would not like to admit, many do unfortunately put value on life, we do feel that there are some who are worthy of life and some who are not. And it seems that those who are pro-life, and disapprove of those of us who are pro-choice, feel that when we condone abortion, or at least the right to choose, we are putting a value on a life.
The debate over abortion is consistently bought back to the argument over what constitutes life, and whether or not it is ok for a mother to choose whether or not that life survives.
Humans are the only living organism with the capacity to think about “what if”, “if only”, “could”, “should”. We are the only beings able to imagine situations, or consider something in a way that is different to how it actually is. People lament over what the lives of the unborn could turn into if they were left to develop. They make points such as “if Nelson Mandela’s mother had had an abortion, the world would’ve have missed out on so much goodness!”.
If Nelson Mandela’s mother had had an abortion, they would not be making that point. We would not know Nelson Mandela, and we would not feel anguish over how the world would be better if he had have lived. What if Adolf Hitler’s mother had had an abortion? 6 million others would have been spared! For the sake of 1 life! If those last 2 points seem cheap, it’s because they are. They are as cheap as the argument pro-lifers make about what a foetus could turn into if kept alive.
A foetus could turn into anything, good, bad, average, genius, dole bludger, millionaire. A foetus, growing inside a mother, is alive, yes, and no doubt with the capacity to feel and react. But so is a lamb. Yet we have no problem with killing one of those and putting it on our plate to eat at Sunday lunch.
People invest so much emotion into what a foetus “could be”. But take away that idea, and what you are left with is something non-viable, with no real emotions, no memories, no relationships, no intellectual capacity, nothing to contribute, it is not really a “life” as we know it, not ‘a life’ in that sense. It is simply ‘alive’.
And while we’re on the topic of “what if”, what if contraception was not used? What if all of those times that conception was possible, all those times that people had intercourse, yet prevented any sperm reaching an egg, and therefore prevented a life, what then? Is that not as terrible as preventing a viable life from resulting from pregnancy? Or does the tragedy of abortion for some simply lie in the fact that something that can move, something with a heart beat, is being terminated?
What it all boils down to is personal choice, as with most things in life, and if someone who is pro-life does not agree with abortion, then what they can do is choose not to have one.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…