As I stated in a previous post, I am mostly a conservative person. But there are two issues that bring out the flaming liberal in me. The first was gay rights. The other is abortion rights.
First off, the "two sides" of this argument are not two sides of an argument at all. One side fights for women's rights, the other fights for baby's rights. So, as far as that goes, it's a wash. I don't want to hurt women or children.
But when it comes down to abortion, there are two big questions I think need an answer:
- when does the egg/sperm combo (the zygote, as I seem to remember from seventh grade biology) become a human baby?
- when does the parent have the right to say the termination of a pregnancy may be in the best interest of the family?
I realize that for some, these answers are written in stone and are commanded from God. But for those of us who live in a non-religion dominated world, these are questions that we have to search for answers to.
In my mind, the zygote-to-baby transformation takes place sometime before the fetus can live outside the womb. This is a grey time, this between when fertilization occurrs and when the fetus becomes a baby. Before that time, though - say, the first trimester - I don't see any problem with abortion, be it hormonal birth control, "morning-after" type drugs, or even mechanical abortion.
If a fetus can live outside a womb (I think the common term is viable), then, in my opinion, abortion is the killing of a baby. And, for arguments sake, let's say that any time after the first trimester, the fetus is a human baby.
Is it always wrong to kill a baby? Again, in my opinion, no.
There are cases which I have seen where the baby would have died, had it been up to nature. But medicine intervenes, keeping a baby alive. I have a justification problem here - you're not allowed to use medicine to terminate the pregnancy when it's pretty obvious the baby will be severely - even fatally - physically challenged. Yet, you're allowed to use medicine to prolong the life of that same child - even when that prolonged "life" is more like torture for the baby. (and I've had surgery. It hurts. A lot.)
Like a friend's baby, born with a terminal problem, who lived for 28 months, endured at least 6 major surgeries, countless minor procedures, knew the hospital better than his own home, and died, hooked up to tubes, surroundedby machines. There was another, well publicised case about the woman who bore the Downs Syndrome child. Without the interference of modern medicine, this baby would have died shortly after birth - it could not feed itself. Yet, the mother was forced to tube feed the baby, and she felt what she was doing was torture. She killed her baby, then she killed herself. She claimed she could not torture her child, and could not live once her child was dead. And this woman was no white trash idiot. She was a respected professor at a major university whose religion forbade abortion.
I can't argue quality of life issues for people who are challenged. I know that these are people, and I know they deserve to live. But I also know that modern medicine has allowed life where once there was none, and I don't know that that's always in the best interest of the family or the child. What happens to that child when the caring family members die?
Questions like these haunt parents who find out that the child they are going to have is going to be severely challenged. I know that the decision to terminate the pregnancy is a terrible one, but I think it's a choice that families should be allowed to make. Just as they should be allowed to let the baby be born and try as hard as modern medicine can to keep that baby alive.
The issue is not one of black or white, and it's not a decision that I would allow someone else to make for me. My heart aches for my friends who terminated the pregnancy of the child with severe Downs Syndrome. My heart aches for my friends who just lost their 2 month old son to complications of his birth condition. I have empathy for people who choose life, and for the people who do not. I can't make decisions for them, and I don't think anyone else should, either.