Tuesday, May 26, 2009

He Said: The Abortion Debate

In this weeks issue of Time Magazine there is an interesting article by Nancy Gibbs on Understanding America's Shift on Abortion she says that recent polls show that Americans are becoming more increasingly pro-life:

In 1995, when Gallup started asking the question, the split was 56-33 in favor of abortion rights. Now the lines have crossed, and 51% call themselves pro-life while only 42% say they are pro-choice. It's a shift that stretches past personal convictions and into legal constraints. For 35 years, a majority of Americans have wanted abortion to be, essentially, legal with limits. But the movement toward greater restraint is clear. In the mid-'90s, when pro-choice forces were especially dominant, only 12% believed abortion was always wrong; now that number has nearly doubled. At each extreme, slightly more people now believe abortion should be illegal under all circumstances (23%) than legal under all circumstances (22%).

One of the reasons that younger Americans are becoming pro-life according to Gibbs is that "People under 30 are more opposed to abortion than those who are older, perhaps because their first baby pictures were often taken in utero."

I think she makes a very good argument that with sonogram technology women can see that as early as ten to twelve weeks that the fetus is very developed. She also says that in some states they give stark evidence of the babies development prior to abortion.

Nebraska is the latest state to debate what activists call "window to the womb" laws, which require that women be shown an ultrasound of the fetus before going ahead with an abortion. The Missouri Senate just passed a bill that would require doctors to talk about a fetus' development and its ability to feel pain.

I think the LDS policy on abortion is one that takes in to account the possibility of terminating abortion for extreme situations such as rape or deformities. The leaders first encourage a person to keep the baby but allow for personal choice in consultation with a woman, her family, and church leaders. I am not sure how many women actually have an abortion after this process since it is not discussed.

In my own life I encountered an abortion situation which made me very much pro-life. I wasn't a member of the LDS Church nor was my first serious girlfriend. After high school when I was seventeen this first girlfriend was a fifteen year old upper-middle class girl who was very sexually active. She was your typical Catholic school girl. She had relations with three boys during the same three month period in which she became pregnant. When she discovered she was pregnant she decided to have the baby. I loved her even knowing that she had two other boyfriends being young and naive I offered to marry her. Her mother who was a radical feminist and president of the NOW group in Las Vegas did not want her daughter to repeat the same mistake she felt she had made at seventeen and scheduled an abortion. The girl and I tried to convince her that we should get married. My father met with her mother and they both decided that the best thing for us since the paternity was unclear was to not marry and for the girl to have an abortion.

The night before she was to have the procedure I went to their house and stood in the front yard and held a knife to my stomach. I was not intending to kill myself but to make a point about how I viewed abortion. For fifteen minutes I gave reasons for why what they were doing was murder in my eyes. The whole neighborhood came out and watched my performance. My parents came to get me. Finally I heard someone say that the police had been called so I threw the knife down and ran off.

My girlfriend babysat a local judge who lived one block away. I went to his house and rang the door bell and told him about the situation and asked for his help in getting some legal counsel in stopping the abortion. He told me that I had no rights in the decision and that the girl and her parent could do whatever they wanted with the unborn fetus. I hid under a cardboard box behind some hedges after my brief conversation with him as the police tried to apprehend me. They shined their light on the box but didn't see me.

I made my way home and my father and I went to see the Catholic priest. He was totally unsympathetic to me and harped on me for nothing going to church more often saying he didn't remember ever seeing me in his congregation so he wouldn't get involved and there was nothing the church could do for me anyway.

The next day I tried to go down to the hospital but my dad restrained me. My girlfriend who didn't enjoy the morning sickness had the procedure in forty-five minutes. Her family immediately sent her out of state to keep her from running off with me. I saw her one time before she left and one time years later after I joined the church and went on a mission. Sadly having the abortion made it so she could never have any children which at 21 she regretted. She had been married three times from the age of eighteen to twenty-one and felt unfilled she could never have a baby.

This experience caused me to reject the Catholic Church and embrace the LDS church which is pro-family. Three months after my experience I read the Book of Mormon, received a testimony, and joined the LDS Church. A year later I went on a mission. Eventually I married an exceptional returned sister missionary who believed at the time the same way. In fact when her father a Protestant minister discussed birth control with us she used the argument of which child should we give up if we only had two children like they suggested. After our second child my wife had toxemia and our Mormon doctor suggested she not have any more. She was adamant that with a change of diet she could have more. I briefly thought of following that counsel but respected her decision. I have never used birth control including a condom except an occasional use of abstinence my entire twenty-six years of marriage and have had nine pregnancies resulting in eight children. Personally I consider abortion a reprehensible practice and only in the case of rape would I consider it even then I would probably oppose it in favor of adoption should one of my seven daughters be raped. If a medical situation had occurred I think I would have accepted an impaired child but I would have thought long and hard about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment