Timmer's Rant on Abortion
With so much attention to Roe V. Wade being misused as a contrived political hammer against Judge Alito during his Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, I have wanted to address this subject, and a fellow blogger gave me that opportunity on her site.
Amy Proctor is one of my favorite bloggers. Not because we always agree (we don't - especially on this issue), but because she is an honest, compelling and fearless writer who is not afraid to address the most controversial issues. Below are my comments to her excellent and provocative article, Abortion Debate, which I encourage everyone to read.
This is about feelings and philosophy - not precedents, cases, or spin. See if
you agree with any of this, or perhaps where YOU would draw these lines?
My feelings have evolved a great deal on this issue. Having grown up as an adopted son, in my early years I was completely against abortion, thinking that even in 1962 I could have easily been aborted instead of carried to term and given up for adoption. I knew nothing at all about my natural parents at the time, but assumed that my mother was single and unable to care for a baby (me). It turns out that I was correct in that assumption, as my wife has turned up some information on my beginnings.
In my late twenties, I met a Norwegian girl in Greece who had been abandoned, penniless and pregnant, by her boyfriend - with no way home. She was determined to have an abortion and was set to go to the free hospital in Athens - notorious for its surgical blunders and lack of sanitation (doctors even smoked while in surgery). I took pity on her, and borrowed money to pay for a private clinic for her procedure. Now, I had crossed the line that I had drawn on this issue for myself.
I took a hard look at my involvement, and decided that perhaps abortion was the lesser of evils in some cases - but where to draw the line? Was I right or wrong in this? I was uncertain.
Since that time, I have met MANY women who have had multiple abortions and seem to use it as a form of birth-control - apparently not having the will or intelligence to force their lovers to wear condoms. I myself am extremely fortunate not to have (as far as I know) impregnated any during my own skirt-chasing days.
The woman who adopted me, it turns out, had been raped repeatedly by her own father while growing up. Although I can't prove it, many things my adopted father said to me over the years made me suspect that she might have been pregnant from her own dad, and either lost it or had had it aborted. One such piece of evidence was my adoption itself, as she was no longer able to bear children (and abortion was a very crude procedure in the 1930's and 40's).
I am not hindered, nor blessed, with religious beliefs or doctrine on this issue. My own sense of it comes from a moral foundation that I have developed from life's experience - nothing more and nothing less.
Why am I telling you all this? Because (well, you don't really know me so it's easy, and) I want you to know that my philosophy is not a knee-jerk reaction to headlines or pundits of today, nor anyone elses words or conclusions adopted by me unwittingly. I have given great consideration to this topic.
Here is what I do believe:
1) CONSENTUAL ADULT SEX RESULTING IN PREGNANCY: It is the woman's choice to have sex, protected or not. If pregnancy should occur, I don't think it is too much to ask of her to live with the consequences for 9 months. There are more GREAT couples than ever that would love to adopt such a child. The father of this child should be legally compelled to render financial assistance to the mother during this period, and the state or federal government (in a limited sense) as well, whether through grants or low-interest loans.Bottom line: There is MUCH to consider with abortion. To say that it is black and white is, to my mind, like saying all drugs (including the medicinal kind) should be outlawed. I want us to look after our women and children - doing everything possible to preserve life for both. Adoption in this country is RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE and difficult...why is that?
2) RAPE RESULTING IN PREGNANCY: This is a truly heinous crime, and the victim should not have to bear the child of her attacker if she chooses not to. She has already endured enough. HOWEVER, a state or federal program that would provide financial assistance, housing, job-training, educational assistance and counseling might help to convince some rape victims that, ultimately, some good could come from all of what has happened - that carrying to term and (if she chose) adoption is an altruistic option - this, and her ability to choose it for herself, could heal some of the psychological wounds she has had to endure already.
*As an aside, convicted rapists and child molesters should be surgically castrated, with their organs preserved and stored in case of new evidence, appeals or (which happens) the victim eventually confesses that it was not rape at all.
3) LIFE-THREATENING PREGNANCY: A great potential for abuse here, as there are undoubtedly plenty of unscrupulous doctors who would sign anything for a fee. My sense tells me that, in a perfect world, this decision should sit with the mother and her immediate family. If she is legally unwed to him, the father of the unborn child has no place in this decision.
4) PREGNANT CHILDREN: The hardest issue of all. So many factors to consider, that no hard and fast law could hope to address this with any modicum of efficiency or enough compassion. But there is no question in my mind that Parents (of both minor partners) should be informed of a resultant pregnancy and held legally responsible for sexually active children age 17 or less, and their offspring. As in the first two items above, state and federal incentives for carrying to term and ultimate adoption (if chosen by minors' parents) should apply here in varying degrees as well.