“But the babies!”

Roe v Wade was made law in 1973 when I was in my late 20s. That means my entire adult life has included the debate over abortion, and I’ve viewed the issue from both perspectives, because, well, that’s what news people do. I was also deeply involved in the strategic thinking involving the use of abortion as a key fund-raising plank for Christian Republicans. As such, my window overlooking the conflict is perhaps a bit different than yours. Cynical? Perhaps, but I feel it’s justified.

Firstly, let me say that I’ve never heard anybody – even the staunchest supporter of a woman’s right to quality medical care in this matter – say that they are “for” abortion. No matter what form of new math you use, the case cannot be made that people who support choice are, in fact, supporting the killing of babies. This really grates on me, for pro-lifers occupy a seat of self-righteousness here in their attacks on people who vote choice. It is simply sloppy logic to erase the truth in favor of a “murdering the babies” emotional meme, no matter how effective it is as a fund-raising or support-inducing cause. Good and well-intentioned people seem incapable of thinking this whole thing through in favor of the emotional appeal that comes from those who are not so well-intentioned.

The best, most compelling analogy that I can make for the pro-choice position is the NRA and guns. That’s right. The NRA doesn’t argue that its members want guns to kill people; they simply want their weapons IN CASE the situation ever comes up where they’re needed. This is the Second Amendment in a nutshell. It’s why most anti-gun arguments fall flat. If we assume that guns kill people, then we ought to be able to make an argument for some form of restraint in gun sales, but that’s beside the point.

It’s this “just in case” argument that wins in the case of abortion. When my own daughter came home from the doctor after her 20-week pregnancy check-up that revealed a badly deformed fetus with severe chromosomal deficiencies, I was very glad that abortion was an option. My daughter, who is very well-grounded, wouldn’t even consider it, so she carried the child until she gave birth. The baby, a boy, lived six hours. Had she chosen to end the pregnancy, I would’ve been just as proud of her as I was for carrying this child. But only the hardest of hearts would force such misery – carrying a child you know is going to die – on a young woman. Why is this so hard to see?

So legal abortion just doesn’t automatically lead to abortion, and that’s where Christian people miss the point of why we have no law prohibiting it, and that’s the way it has to be.

But, Terry, abortion is murder, and there are laws against murder. True, but so is a mass killing at an elementary school. If we can justify guns in the wake of such, what can the anti-abortion lobby truly expect in this most personal of family decisions? Is abortion wrong? Is owning at AR-15 wrong? Again, Terry, owning an AR-15 doesn’t mean you’re going to use it to slaughter children at a school. Right, and that’s the identical argument for why we need to leave abortion alone. An “unwanted” child doesn’t automatically mean there will be an abortion, which is why we must leave this decision up to the family and the medical community.

This view IN NO WAY endorses abortion, and that’s where the disconnect exists. William F. Buckley used to rail against abortion as immoral – not illegal – and that’s where the argument belongs. That being so, there would still be plenty of work for pro-lifers to do in making the case that abortion is the taking of a human life, so as to convince women to consider other options. This would be a much more productive position, but it wouldn’t raise the money that a “we need to outlaw abortion” position does.

And then there’s the horrible reality that abortion being illegal wouldn’t do a thing to stop abortion; it would just move in back to the dangerous underground practices that existed prior to Roe v Wade.

Meanwhile, missing from the debate is the reality that the abortion rate has gone down considerably over the years since Roe v Wade. The abortion rate is now below what it was in 1973, thanks to concerted efforts at birth control. The point is that the culture is already correcting the “wrong” of abortion by reaching the most vulnerable with birth control methods. And, since it’s “working,” the question of why this doesn’t satisfy the extremists is worth asking. The answer, of course, is that the right needs abortion around which to rally the emotions of decent, God-fearing people to vote against their own best interests in supporting this one, highly manipulated issue.

The special interests – those puppet masters with sinister motives – have a bottomless well of energy they can tap to get what they want, for even if abortion wasn’t an issue, they would still rail against the behavior that led to “unwanted” pregnancies in the first place – sex outside of marriage. Effort here would also affect birth control, for the act of fornication is the problem, not how humans use various chemicals and barriers to prevent pregnancy. If the Kavanaugh court ever manages to overturn Roe v Wade, this is exactly where the evangelicals will go.

And won’t that be fun?

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