A reader left a valid question on my last post:
... where is the answer to the question regarding the rights of unborn children?
In the current abortion debate, there are really only two answers I'm allowed to give: that they equal or override those of the mother; or that they are always superseded by hers.
It's not that cut and dried to me, not so black and white. In fairness to the questioner, I will try to explain my thoughts, but I ask you to remember that I'm neither theologian nor social scientist. It's by no means completely clear in my own mind. What I say here is only intended to give you a glimpse into my thought process on this complicated and emotional issue.
For me, it comes down to this: The rights of a mother and child are inseparable during pregnancy. I'm as saddened at the angry voices that call women who seek abortions murderers as I am at the defiant voices that cry for us to ignore the statistics. Neither pole, in my opinion, recognizes our societal responsibility for what drives women to abortion.
I'm old enough to remember what women did before it was legal. I've seen the pictures of women impaled on coat hangers, which today are dismissed or even called "just desserts" by some in the pro-life camp. I can't condemn living breathing women to that fate again.
But I also can't ignore that lives are lost in abortion. There are certainly women who believe that a pregnancy is no more than a lump of tissue until the moment of birth, but neonatal medicine alone shoots that point of view down for me, and for most women I daresay. The vast majority of woman who turn to abortion do so with sorrow, and with acute awareness that in different circumstances their pregnancy would have been a much loved child. No one chooses abortion because they think it's a good idea, they choose it because it's the only possibility they see.
So, in my opinion, if we really want to protect the rights of the unborn, we'll listen to their mothers. This doesn't bring an immediate halt to the 1.4M abortions that are taking place in the U.S. today. But looking out over the years, I see a better chance for making abortion as rare as we all want it to be if we stop the debate and work toward compassionate solutions to the challenges that bring women to abortion today. Added to clarify: Those solutions, in my opinion, offer the best chance of reducing the number of abortions long-term.
And again: I offer my point of view not to try to sway people to it, just to explain how I view this complicated issue.