Category: Politics

by Richard R. Tryon and others

No issue in recent political history has come to be any larger than one involving a part of the civil rights camp- the part that represents a feminist cause supported by many men that allows that abortion on demand is a fundamental right of every woman; and the opponents who support the so-called "Right to life" to mean that all living material formed by the union of egg and sperm have instantaneously acquired a right to life to be protected by the laws of man.

Politicians love to avoid such an argument for it is thought to be a lose-lose situation. Try to say words that look to be friendly to both camps. Read on to see an alternative.

Is abortion murder? This is the telling question put to all of us, especially during an election year, when those that want to promote legislative action to support one point of view or another mount their most intensive efforts to win the minds of voters.

In an age when everyone tends to be so very busy that important issues are thought about and decisions rendered with minimal effort, it is strange that such an important issue as life or death can be decided by the mob that listens to or sees a series of twenty second sound bytes or pictures aimed at putting our body count into one column or another.

Over the years since 1996, I find I have tried to write about the subject on three of those election years- 1996, 1998, and now 2000.

You may find it odd that I am not strongly in the camp of one or the other two major camps in the great debate about abortion. Yet, I do not think I am one of a very small minority, but one of a majority, that recognizes that the issue is too complex to have only one answer. Yes, murder is wrong, but so too is procreation that can not be supported in a way that a meaningful life can come forth following every conception. In fact about 40% of all such conceptions are spontaneously aborted without anyone knowing that it happened! And this is common in all of the plant and animal kingdom on God’s earth.

Yet, those who ignore this fact, find that no pro-choice decision to abort should be allowed on this planet! All those conceived in any way, planned or unplanned, known to be healthy or destined to die soon, the result of rape, incest, or accident- all represent the creation of life that must be preserved at all costs- including to some, the loss of the life of the mother, who has no superior rights, regardless of her other familial responsibilities.

To come to such a conclusion, one has to determine that meaningful life begins either before or at the point of conception; or at birth. If before, then every egg or sperm that is not saved from a termination by murder only compounds the problem. But, clearly sperms and eggs are not dead material until some action brings them out of their protected life inside our bodies male or female. Most zealots of the right to life tend to ignore this detail too.

So, where are these people right? Yes, there is a case for them to make for pro-life! It is a case that relates to the Ten Commandments prohibition against killing of certain types. Of course, some read that law to mean that one must not relate to any killing. Some are vegetarians for this reason alone. Fortunately they are able to accept killing of plants or they would starve!

Still, the respect for life is not to be ignored or demeaned. Wanton killing of plants or animals is wrong. But God did not prohibit self defense as sometimes leads to death of an attacker. Nor has God left us no intelligence capable of making things grow better to feed more people by using technology to assist in farming.

Where then do the “Right to life” people have it right? The answer is found wherever the parties responsible for creating life have the ability to preserve, nurture and protect it using their God given powers to do so. For most couples in a heterosexual marriage, the will to accept such responsibilities comes very easily. The rewards of such a position are easily found to be related to the most important parts of such persons lives! They do not need to possess their children, but they do need to be in a partnership with them that starts with a very lop-sided relationship when the egg and sperm have no power of their own.

Those that understand the beauty of the marital union that creates life know how sacred and important it is to them, and they tend to want all others to know and enjoy the same level of satisfaction that comes from being able to be responsible parents.

Unfortunately, the best of these have not found a way to force their convictions upon all others; nor have they found ways to assume the responsibilities for those who choose not to so assume or else lack any ability to do so.

No male priest has come forth to offer his body to be used to develop a way for him to carry an unwanted or aborted fetus. Few, if any nuns have volunteered to help either. Rather we have only a zealous crowd that wants to force all pregnant females to be denied any chance for abortion, no matter the circumstances of either the expecting parents.

What we have therefore is a circumstance then in which some want to outlaw free choice and others want to preserve it. Somehow the pro-lifers have to be content knowing that their God is capable of handling as many cases of sinning as are automatically recorded in the soul of the individual. We do not need to do the job for God, nor do we have to make any determination to keep score for God. We can encourage couples and women to avoid unwanted pregnancy and even offer support for those who fear that they can not cope with it of either sex. However, we dare not intervene to make the decision for such persons.

Does this mean that the pro-lifers have little to show for their concern? Not really. They are free to teach and encourage responsible parenting to all who will listen. They are also free to practice what they preach!

What about the position of the pro-choice crowd?

There position is only risky to them personally if they are put in a position of choosing to abort at any stage and have at the same time a moral conviction that they are responsible to their sense of God for their action. According to the laws of the land, they have no legal concern as long as they do not commit infanticide or murder of a baby that has been born and is breathing on its own.

They do have a larger and potentially legal concern if they wait to the point of delivery before deciding upon an abortion choice, for at that point meaningful life with an activated soul is at hand.

So, how does the compassionate conservative address this question and find a conclusion that satisfies the typical voter?

From the above analysis of the pros of each group of thinkers on the subject of abortion we have listed points of favor. The most intelligent position to take as a politician, if one can’t dodge the issue, and no honest man or woman wants to do that, is to face the facts and speak out. No other position is going to be more closely aligned and/or maligned by the press than this one when put to the test of the posture of the proponent of compassionate conservatism!

The answer lies in the noting that it is the individual responsibility of those who conceive to handle the problem of a possible need for abortion. The compassionate conservative should want to counsel all women that think they face the need to consider such action with a very determined effort to make the right decision for herself, with consultation from the father, if known and available.

Such counselors are willing to provide access to a variety of social help resources, but do not demand one result or another. One can oppose abortion in concept and deny its action to oneself without condemning those that come to a reasoned choice that is different.

But, to do so, one has to determine a reason to allow that meaningful life does not begin before or at the time of conception, but at the moment of birth. Nobody can say with certainty that any fetus is destined to live just because it is close to the time of birth. In one case a mother lost two in the last stages of pregnancy- one from an illness with a high fever and the other from strangulation on its own umbilical cord at birth! Neither would have been a candidate for late term abortion, but if they had been, who could have foretold that the decision to save the life would have been so soon thwarted? The state could not have saved either life. Both were treated by the mother as among her array of five children conceived by her marriage.

If one studies how a God might have provided a means of sorting out those that would ultimately have a chance to achieve an eternal status in Heaven, one can sense that it would probably make sense for it to happen only for those fetuses that make it to a live birth when a first breath ingests a means of activating the immortal soul. For God to design this function as an event that happens instantly at conception makes little sense. When we know that 40% of all such conceptions are aborted without our being aware of it, it seems far more intelligent to defend the right to life when it begins in a way that eliminates all chance of death before birth.

So, if one considers all of the above, one has to try as a politician to get the voters to understand that any simple ‘litmus’ test regarding abortion vs right to life, needs to be qualified to show that:

A. If you recognize the sanctity of marriage as one that includes the enjoyment of sexual privileges and obligations; and if you accept the responsibility of conception that includes an obligation to encourage its development, you do not accept abortion as a means of birth control. However, you do not deny its being considered, if you are aware of the opportunity to replace a hopelessly defective fetus sooner with one that can be given the chance to develop- one that otherwise would not even have a chance to be conceived!

B. At the same time, you accept the concept that others may have circumstances that defy your ability or that of any law to try to force a judgment that prohibits or encourages abortion as an unfortunate and difficult means of avoiding parenting responsibilities for which the parents are unable to accept. This is an important matter in our spiritual life, but we leave that to the relationship between the individuals involved and their Maker.

C. Separate from these principles, attention must also be given to the matter of human sexuality as it pertains to a variety of practices that occur inside and outside of the marital relationship. The next article attempts to deal with this additional set of moral issues.

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