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Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

Over at FB, I started a good discussion when I posted the following: Sometimes I wish the world realized that pro-choice is not a synonym for pro-abortion, nor does pro-life mean just anti-abortion. I generally think abortions are immoral but am very much pro-choice.

That was the whole thing. I knew it might start an intense discussion and was a little nervous about posting it. I’m actually very pleased because the discussion was respectful but honest about the real disagreements going on here. Which is really the best kind of discussion. :-) Some people raised some good points, but they’re the kind of things I haven’t figured out how to answer briefly. So I thought I’d make a blog post out of some of the concerns they raised.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
I have read your reasoning carefully, but there is one thing you do not take into account when it comes to calling an abortion immoral. You speak of human dignity and potential, but yet, when parents have to decide to abort a pregnancy because their child will die before or during childbirth, will only have one hour to live after that (and I know some friends who recently have gone through this), their child will be in agonising pain & will be so severely handicapped.. do you still consider ending such a pregnancy immoral when parents decide for their child to let them pass on with all dignity and peace it deserves instead of putting it through so much? It is hurtful for those parents to be called immoral...
Jan. 26th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
You know, I thought about that one. I didn't talk about it only because it seemed more like euthanasia to me than abortion. If the pain is so agnoizing and the limitations so severe the life is really not worth living, I wouldn't blame them in the least. Particularly if they abort out of concern for the child.

I have a friend who was born with a muscle tone problem and has been in a wheelchair his whole life. His parents were actually advised to abort him because the docs said his life wouldn't be worth living. They were Catholic so they didn't, though, and he's certainly glad to be in life even with the pain (which is severe according to him). When I hear about abortions driven by the child's medical condition I think of him and wonder if it realy is as bad a life as the doctors say it will be. But even in cases like his, if his parents had decided to abort him I wouldn't call it immoral because it was inspired by love and that their child wouldn't suffer. I would think such an act would be tragically mistaken but not the kind of thing I'd want to condemn.

This is exactly the kind of situation that must be evaluated on a case by case basis, looking at the child's prognosis. If we're talking about a case where the child will probably die soon after birth and it won't be a life worth living, then I think abortion may very well be the right course. If they'll live for years but face severe disabilities that's a harder call, but even there I wouldn't call it immoral - it's coming out of love so the decision can be wrong but not really immoral IMO. And even if the parents decide this is more than they can bear up under, well, even there I have a lot of sympathy. I'd want to know the specific details again, like whether adoption is an option in their society and how severe the disabilities are. But if it's immoral at all, there's a lot of mitigation going on. My instinct? In those cases there's still a cost to the abortion, but it's almost certainly outweighed by other considerations like the pain the child would experience, the shortness of his life, and things along those lines.

This is why I was trying to avoid saying "abortions are okay up to this point in time but not okay afterward. I think the further along the pregnancy goes the more justification you need for the abortion. But I also think there are things like serious, fatal birth defects that would justify an abortion even very late in the pregnancy.
Jan. 26th, 2013 08:28 pm (UTC)
Those children can live with a handicap... like Downs, Spina Bifida ect... That is not what I am mentioning here. Would you put a child who will die, as a fact, during birth, before birth or merely hours after birth through inhumane suffering? I have a child with a handicap, and we always have said: even if our child has a handicap... it is so welcome. That is why I am pro-choice. Becoming a parent is a huge responsibility and this is one of them.

It is just that pro-lifers do wish to deny parents that right to choose what is best, what is humane, what is dignified for their own so wished for child. It is not called euthanasia, it is called abortion, plain and simple and in fact it is just the 1% of that total figure of abortions. Yet they rage against such parents from their view point, utterly forgetting that when parents make such a decision because they get to choose what is best for their unborn child out of the human dignity viewpoint. Just the viewpoint you explain how pro-lifers reason. I simply do not get it; I am trying to wrap my head around this as much as I can. But how can they be so hurtful towards those parents? How can they say: take away that option to choose? How can they while those parents grieve for the child that they lost say: you are murderers, you do not value life, shame on you?
Jan. 26th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)

Yes. The problem is trying to treat this as something that *can* be regulated by legalities, when it is really an area in which "legal" and "illegal" can't possibly touch on all of the ramifications involved.

I actually think some day the question may actually be solved (for the most part, never 100%) by advances in medicine and science. What if, for example, it became medically feasible to transplant a fetus from a woman who did not want a child to the womb of a woman who did? Or what if a truly reliable method of birth control was developed--one with no side effects, that could be safely taken at the onset of puberty? Lots of "what ifs" and I think that considering the advances in how early in a pregnancy a premature child can now be kept alive it shows some possiblities.

But for now, such a solution is far into the future if possible at all. For now we need to use common sense--raise girls who learn to make responsible decisions, and leave the ultimate decision to a woman and her doctor.
Jan. 26th, 2013 02:59 am (UTC)
You know, back in the Obamacare kerfuffle it occurred to me that if you really believed zygotes were human just as much as you and I were you should be on hormonal birth control unless you were prepared to at least carry out the pregnancy. Even if you weren't having sex because there was always the possibility of rape, and as harsh as it seems to plan for rape... that seemed the responsibility to do. I'd actually like to find a way to make fertility a choice rather than the default.

I think your point about pregnancy and technology is very interesting. I think saying a woman has a right to end her pregnancy - to not let this fetus make use of her body - is very different from saying she has a right to kill her baby. Maybe in some cases like the seriously terminally ill cases Rhaps describes above, the parents really can make that choice, but in almost all I'd say they really just have a right to end the pregnancy, not the life. I'd be a lot more comfortable if we could find a way to split up those two and (if there are good parents able to pay the medical costs) put them up for adoption even before they're born.
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