Botswana 2018

Blog # 4 ABORTION: The Possible Opinions.

Well, if we are going to discuss serious issues –we just as well start with a really, really big one.

Given the current political environment I am reasonably certain of two things: first, new state laws are going to lead to a Supreme Court challenge of Roe vs. Wade, and second, abortion will play an important role in the 2020 elections. Understanding our abortion views is very important.

Please keep in mind I want a dialog. I am not out to change peoples’ minds. I am out to develop my personal understanding and seek to understand and discuss other views in a civil manner. Because the strong emotions are attached to the topic, I have set out a big test for our first attempt at dialog. If you have not read the first three blogs, they are brief and set out some ideas about the need for and description of proper dialog. I recommend them as background for our next steps.

I am not alone in my concern for civil discourse about abortion. In a recent op-ed by Ben Baxter, he noted Christians have failed to heed the guidance of Titus. He said (I paraphrase): Christians have lacked humility. We have been quarrelsome, harsh and discourteous. In the name of abortion we have failed to love as we should.  We need to show love that others might learn God’s love.

 I agree with him. Let’s see if we can’t do better.

I never put pencil to paper (fingers to the computer for you youngsters) and developed a clear, personal  view of abortion.  I have had a generally “gut” feeling, but never a specific examination of what I think and more importantly why I have that particular opinion.

In order to clarify my thinking and have a meaningful dialog, with your help, I want to develop the various opinions one could hold. That is the intent of today’s blog. I will share my personal view in the future. First let’s be sure we are all on the same page in terms of the important factors in considering abortion.

THE EXTREMES

I conceive of the various opinions along a continuum:

First, at the far right is the singular view that practicing birth control is preventing life. Some theological stances have this view based on a literal interpretation of the Genesis statement to go forth and multiply.

Similarly at the far left is the singular position that even after a child is born, the parents have the right to kill the child because the child is handicapped, disfigured, or has an unwanted gender; or the parents are inconvenienced, ill-prepared, or just do not want the child. Some countries have variations of this position as policy; some individuals have this position as a practice.

Next to the extreme right is the singular position you can practice birth control, but abortion should not be allowed under any circumstances. The recent actions by some state legislatures (Alabama for one) reflect this opinion.

Next to the extreme left is the singular position that an abortion can happen any time for any reason right up to the moment of birth. Some state legislatures (New York for one) reflect this opinion.

 With the extremes represented by different state legislatures, it is not hard to see the train wreck coming in the courts and our need for a clear understanding of our opinions about abortion.

OTHER FACTORS

In between the four extreme and singular positions are opinions that are combinations of various factors:

Factor one is the health of the mother. Some people who oppose abortion would allow abortions if the health of the mother is in danger.

Factor two is the legal issue — do you have the right to impose your personal views onto others? Some oppose abortion personally but would allow others to make legal personal decisions to abort.

Factor three is the role of freedom in choices and the responsibility for those choices.  If the woman’s freedom of choice at the time of intercourse is denied, then, should she be allowed the choice to abort? Similarly should a woman who is raped or coerced have the right to choose an abortion? Related, if a woman makes the free will decision to engage in sex, then does she have a responsibility for the outcomes of that decision? And the related issue — what are the responsibilities?

 Factor four is determining the point at which a fetus becomes viable.  And a related point, at what point does a woman have a responsibility for two lives: at conception, at viability or at birth?

A final factor is the responsibilities of the father.

In my opinion the major opinions on abortion can be constructed along the continuum by adopting one of the singular positions or by adopting some combination of the factors.

I will develop my opinion next time. Anyone with ideas about additional factors I have missed, please let me know.

Until next time—love, joy, and peace,

Jerry


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