Saturday, August 2, 2008

Something I Just Don't Get

My mother was pregnant with me at the time of the Roe v. Wade decision. Abortions happened before my time, of course, but I've always found it disturbing that my generation was the first to be declared dispensable, and that if my mother had been of a mind to have an abortion at the time, I might never have been born.

The abortion debate is ongoing, but is not particularly hot this election season.

Most everyone has his mind made up about this issue one way or the other, with views ranging from opposition in any circumstance, to opposition with a few exceptions, to support with some exceptions, to support in any circumstance.

Most discussions of this issue dissolve quickly into emotional fiascos, but when rare civil debate occurs, it usually centers around the questions of whose choice outweighs whose, and whether or not we're dealing with actual life in the womb, and at what point in gestation a developing baby should be regarded as a living being with rights of its own that trump the mother's rights and choices. The most informed people on both sides have answers ready for their opponents on all of these points.

Just for the record, I regard a developing baby in utero as a life of its own, from the earliest stage, with rights that override mom's preference as to whether he or she should live. And, just for the record, so does my mom. She has three sons, loves us all dearly, and there was never a chance she would have had an abortion.

We've all heard the arguments on both sides, but there is one aspect of abortion and pregnancy that I've never heard anyone tackle. It is a simple, practical point that doesn't even require faith in God to consider. It's something I just don't get.

I just don't get how 40 weeks outweigh a lifetime.

40 weeks is the length of time of a normal pregnancy, with many pregnancies actually being a little shorter. Most pregnant women, in fact, don't even learn they are pregnant until some of this time has already passed. By the time we celebrate a child's first birthday, that child's lifespan has already exceeded the time he or she spent in the womb.

I know, I know. I'm a man, not a woman. I don't understand what pregnancy is like, and I never will. I'm not claiming I do, nor minimizing the drama and trauma a woman endures in a normal pregnancy and delivery, let alone a childbirth complicated by medical issues. Pregnancy and delivery involve a lot more than watching 40 weeks pass. Of course, an abortion involves a lot more than a mere removal of tissue, to be sure, although few abortion advocates want to talk about this.

The fact is, a pregnant woman faces mental and physical trauma either way, whether she delivers her baby or has an abortion.

Another fact is that a pregnant woman who does not wish to raise her baby has no obligation to do so, and never has. With countless couples longing to adopt a child, even an unhealthy one, it's amazing to me that any woman sees no option but to abort an unwanted baby.

Isn't it funny how different people are when they have to account for their actions face to face, rather than being able to do what they want without explanation? I have found that the "toughest" person, by this world's standards, often becomes nervous, vague, and shifty when faced with an eyeball to eyeball reckoning for his actions. The tough talk in front of his peers disappears in an instant before even the most unassuming and non-threatening questioner.

How different would the abortion debate be if someone choosing an abortion had to explain the choice to the baby, or more intimidating still, to the adult that baby would eventually grow into? Or, even, to the preschooler that baby would be in just a few years?

How would you explain to someone that, for the sake of 40 weeks out of my adult life, you can't have any life at all? (And, no, the fact that I freely received my own mother's 40 weeks makes no difference...)

Who would make such a claim to someone who could respond?

Who would accept the short end of such a trade-off, in any area of life?

For that matter, how many abortion advocates would accept the short end of that stick? I daresay they would run for relief to the same court that gave them Roe v. Wade.

40 weeks vs. a lifetime.

I just don't get it.


Paul Ford said...

I can admit that I've personally witnessed three births from my wife, and each one was truly amazing. I cannot imagine however, witnessing any deaths by abortion. This would be very traumatic. In fact, it is a very difficult topic, but you have done a very good job in causing us to think about the issue.

Mom said...

Good discussion David. It makes me think of Jeremiah 32:35. I don't think the Father would have thought His created people would have stooped to this abomination either!

lwestin said...

Point well made. I've often thought about that very thing. As someone who has been pregnant about 320 weeks in total, and given birth eight times...something about the delivery 'trauma' that makes it bearable is the knowledge that it ends soon!(Not to mention that it brings forth a wonderful result!)

I think part of the answer is that women are often surrounded by very selfish 'others' who lay out the 'choices' in a self-serving way. We always have to be willing to reach out to women with poor support, and give them an alternate view of the future - at least those 40 weeks!

Samantha said...

Wow, lovely!
That has always been my argument, too. What is 9 months of your life to get through when you can give the gift of Life.
Our infertility has made my husband and I more active in the pro-life movement.. and this argument is the best to use.
Thanks for sharing!

Chuckie said...

Do you mind if a use this for a PSA piece? This would send a really powerful message to the pro-death crowd!

"How different would the abortion debate be if someone choosing an abortion had to explain the choice to the baby, or more intimidating still, to the adult that baby would eventually grow into? Or, even, to the preschooler that baby would be in just a few years?"

David Dominguez said...

Chuckie: Yes, absolutely! Thanks.