I heard the other day about an amendment on the Colorado ballot that would define Personhood as beginning at the moment of conception.Â This is clearly a pro-life effort, working to determine a concrete definition of when life begins, which would eventually lead to outlawing abortion by defining abortion as the murder of an unborn child.
I’m not willing to go so far as to use the word murder, but at the same time, I’m not willing to say that a fetus isn’t a living being either.Â And really, what this all comes down to is parsing words in a battle over rights.Â The rights of the unborn child vs. the rights of the unwilling mother.Â To parse words and say “in cases of rape or incest it’s OK, but not otherwise” is disingenuous.Â If it’s the taking of a life, it’s the taking of a life, no matter how that life came to be.Â It’s not the baby’s fault that it was conceived due to rape or incest.
My thought on this matter is, yes, it is a life.Â It is a potential life, because if it were allowed to continue on, it would result in a baby.Â And babies are people.Â But sometimes the rights of the mother and the rights of the child are at odds with each other, and a decision has to be made, as to whether the mother’s rights or the child’s rights take priority.Â The mother, being the sentient being, has the rights, until the baby is born.Â The baby’s rights are secondary to hers.Â Is it pretty?Â No.Â It’s an ugly reality.Â The mother has the right to determine whether she will or will not give birth to a child, period.Â Because we cannot take the child out of her, and give it that opportunity to survive elsewhere, her rights supersede those of the child.
Does this suck?Â Indeed, it does.Â But at some level, I wish we could all get beyond the legal arguing over when life begins or doesn’t begin, and move on to making abortion as rare as we possibly can.Â We can do that by supporting women when they become pregnant.Â We can give them health care and child care, so that an unplanned baby doesn’t signal a death sentence to their dreams.Â We can do this by providing free contraception to anyone who wants it.Â It’s cheaper than providing abortions, and it’s a lot cheaper than providing health care for a pregnancy and a child.Â We can do this by providing age appropriate sex education to children and teenagers.Â Give them the information that they need, so that they can decide for themselves what chances they’re willing to take.
Making abortion illegal will not stop them from occurring.Â Women had abortions before they were legalized, and desperate women will take desperate measures.Â Abortion needs to be available and legal to anyone who needs one.Â We cannot go back to the days of illegal and unsafe abortions.Â But if both sides on this issue would stop parsing words and fighting about the moment when life begins, and spend their money, efforts, and time on preventing as many unwanted pregnancies as we can, perhaps we can truly make it rare.