On Abortion

On the issue of abortion, if I were forced to choose either pro-life or pro-choice as group with whom my views most align, I would say pro-life. I would choose this label for three reasons: first, as a Catholic, I appreciate the Catholic Church’s position on the subject, seeing their view as most similar to my own. Since most people who associate themselves with the view of the Catholic Church call themselves pro-life, I see myself, mostly, as one of them. Second, I do think that abortion should be illegal in most circumstances. I will elaborate on this point later. My view seems to be more in conflict with the pro-choice movement than in agreement, so I don’t think I could fully call my self pro-choice.

However, this does not mean I am fully pro-life either. I have a lot of issues with how the pro-life movement deals with the subject of abortion. As a result, as well as another reason that I will explain later, I don’t think I could associate myself fully with either movement. Finally, I would consider myself pro-life for my own political gain. Being pro-life would not only allow me to differentiate myself from other liberals and Democrats, but I would be able to find common ground with Catholics and Republicans who consider abortion their ultimate political issue. One of the reasons I cannot fully associate myself with either movement is because abortion is a non-issue for me.

Of course I have a position on abortion, but it is not something that I would pursue policy-wise, or claim that I am a champion for. Neither the fact that abortion is legal, nor the existence of some restrictions on abortion bothers me. My official position on the issue of abortion is as follows: I think that abortion should illegal in most cases from the physical birth of the child until some point in the middle of the pregnancy, which I would probably leave up to individual states to determine; a state could ban most abortions after a specified date, within the range allowed. The cases in which abortion would be legal would include when the mother has been raped, the mother’s child is a result of incest, the mother is a minor, and if the life of the mother is in danger.

Now some would argue that the government should not impede on a woman’s right to choose on this issue. I would completely disagree. I am not a libertarian; I am nearly the opposite of a libertarian. Especially in matters of medicine and health, I think the government should be actively involved in these situations. In a similar manner, I do not support the parent’s right to choose which, if any, vaccinations their child receives. In fact, I don’t understand why so many liberals, socialists, and Democrats make this argument; it completely contradicts their views on so many other important issues.

Other responses to my views would argue that if abortions were illegal, women would still perform them, just in unhygienic and dangerous ways. This argument is a bit more compelling, as it is used in a similar way to decriminalize marijuana and other illegal drugs. Additionally, the era of prohibition, when alcohol was banned, is a good example of the failure of such a law. However, the argument is also used to find pointless laws pertaining to gun safety. The reason why such a claim, that banning something just forces people to accomplish it dangerously, can seem both beneficial to a policy and a detriment. This distinction largely depends on whether the policy is reasonably close to addressing the root cause of the issue. With regards to abortion, banning it does not seem to come reasonably close to removing its root cause; a fact that dilutes the urgency of the issue.

Neither the legality of abortions, nor its opposite, does much to mitigate why women have abortions in the first place. This is where my views and the views of the two movements differ. I think both movements would agree that less abortions is better than more; it’s just that they differ in how to achieve that goal. However, neither movement’s priorities are aligned to properly accomplish this task. The best way to lower the abortion rate is to make contraceptives low cost, if not free, and freely available, to teach children about safe, consensual sex, to support young, single women who choose to keep the baby, to make sure the father is actively involved in the raising and financing of his child, to support adoption and foster care programs, to reduce medical and nutritional costs for babies and young mothers.

These programs will help women to not only not become pregnant, but also encourage them to keep the baby rather than resort to dangerous medical procedures to abort the baby. It seems that neither the pro-life movement, nor the pro-choice movement, sees these solutions as more adept at lowering the rate of rate of abortion than merely determining its legality. The Catholic Church’s position is most similar to my own with regards to abortion, pregnancies, and babies. As a result of this similarity, it seems most logical for me to identify with the movement that most Catholics identify with, pro-life.