Friday, September 7, 2012

How a Home Birth Changed My View on Abortion pt. 3

So here I am.  Conflicted.  

You see, I firmly believe morality cannot be legislated.  John Calvin tried, and all he succeeded in doing was creating a lot of unnecessary laws.  The hearts of the people weren’t changed because they obeyed the laws (or didn’t).  The USA tried to legislate morality by enacting Prohibition.  By all accounts, immorality thrived beneath the law.  Obviously, Prohibition was an abject failure, hence its repeal.

I also believe my rights end where another person’s rights begin.  That means, although I have strongly held personal religious and political beliefs, I do not have the right to impose my beliefs on others.  

If we look at abortion as a moral issue (as pro-lifers tend to do), we do not have the right to impose our moral beliefs on others.  To do so would be tyrannical.

If abortion is a religious issue, we still do not have the right to impose our beliefs on others.  The Crusades and the Inquisition are accurate examples of what happens when a particular interpretation of religion or another is imposed wholesale on large groups of people.

That leaves abortion in the realm of politics.  A lot of pro-life individuals believe that pro-choice equals pro-abortion.  This is absolutely false.   Most pro-choice persons do not advocate mandatory blanket abortions for all unplanned pregnancies.  Instead, the pro-choice belief is that each woman has the right to decide whether she is willing to accept the health risks inherent to pregnancy and the responsibility of parenthood.  No one is better suited to make such a life-altering decision than she.  Thus, the issue is one of personal choice, not morality or religion.

Let me put it this way.  I do not smoke.  I believe the health risks associated with smoking outweigh any benefits.  I have family members who do smoke.  I wish they wouldn’t, because I am concerned for their future quality of life.  However, I do not ostracize or condemn these individuals.  They are adults who are making their own choices and accepting the associated risks.  I do have the right to ask them not to smoke in my home.  I do not have the right to ask them not to smoke in their homes.

Likewise, abortion is not something I would choose for myself.  However, I do not have the right to invade another woman’s private medical condition and demand she follow my moral compass. 

Where does that leave me in the abortion arena?

Currently, I am personally pro-life - I cannot think of any circumstance where I would choose abortion. 

BUT I am politically pro-choice - I cannot think of any circumstance where another woman’s body or medical condition and the associated risk or benefit is my business.

Frankly, it’s a scary place to be.  I’m in uncharted territory.  And I’m looking at political candidates with fresh eyes.  I do not want another woman -any woman- to feel the helplessness I felt in being forced to follow protocols against my will.  I never want any woman, regardless of youth, race, color, or socioeconomic status, to be without a voice in decisions regarding her own health, her own body, and her own well-being.  I want her to have a choice.

And I have my choice -an empowering home birth- to thank.