My Position is This
This post was started on 1 Novemeber, 2008
I was at the university a couple of nights ago and got talking with a couple of people after class. They are very active in their churches, falling into a more moderate faction within the Charismatic movement. One of them brought up an email he had received from a colleague in the US asking people to pray hard about who becomes President especially given Barack Obama's "liberal" position on abortion. I have always been a fence-sitter on the issue of abortion, disliking the extremists on either side of the issue. (and yes, there extremists on both sides of the argument)
My position hasn't changed so very radically in its substance but I am more comfortable calling myself pro-choice rather than pro-life or anti-abortion. I don't like abortion and I believe there are other choices that should absolutely be considered before deciding to abort. Part of being pro-choice is to make sure that women have all the information at their disposal so they can make as well-reasoned a choice as possible. I consider some so-called pro-choice people to be pro-abortion, since they are interested in promoting abortion -consciously or not - as an easy option for everyone involved. (especially themselves, whether they aware of that fact or not)
For me, the issue of abortion comes down to responsibility: both individual and collective responsibility. Pro-lifers/anti-abortion activists like to point at the mothers and talk about their responsibilities to carry the child to term, for reasons the mother may or may not accept, but largely fail to acknowledge their responsibility to provide an alternative. And Christians (who drive the pro-life/anti-abortion cause) are quite big on demanding alternatives and solutions when they are confronted with criticism from within. Anytime I complained about the state of the Church in the past I was told by MANY people that if I didn't have alternatives or solutions to offer along with my criticisms then I should just keep my mouth shut until I have something constructive to follow up with.
Some churches have met this challenge, providing shelters for single mothers where they can learn life skills like cooking, sewing, how to deal with their frustrations and how to manage their money so they can have something left over to treat themselves with. As I understand it, some of these places have follow-up policies with their mothers, regardless of whether or not they convert.
Still many church going "pro-lifers" I have met feel no inclination to be so charitable with either their time or their money. The mother screwed up and it has nothing to with them if she is unprepared to raise a child, unfit to be a mother, etc. That these children may grow up to be battered, neglected or fail to grow up at all is nether here nor their - abortion is immoral and not permissible. Life must be protected at all costs but when it comes to a question of quality of life? You're on your own kid. Lots o' luck. Excuse me, I have to go manicure my lawn, polish the silverware, go to my weekly home Bible study.
But so-called pro-choicers aren't of the hook either. Many make the same arguments about pro-lifers/anti-abortionists that I have just made but are just as callous towards impoverished children. Better to get rid of the kids rather than to try to turn the situation around. Some of the arguments I have heard from this faction are rather classicist and bear a rather strong resemblance to some of the American Eugenicist arguments from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
When you live in a society that refuses to take responsibility for itself, that allows so many of it own to fall through the cracks - why object at all to abortion? Reading the coroners' files on all the children in the province who have died due to neglect, to misadventure, to despair, to impoverished conditions, due to the natural consequences of history playing itself out - how could I deny that abortion doesn't make sense? Especially in light of the casual disregard and disinterest from all levels of society to these issues? I will object to abortion when society as whole makes it altogether unnecessary. I will object to abortion when society as whole accepts responsibility for making it so.