On Abortion

Ugh. This isn’t really a post I wanted to write. Not because I don’t have feelings on the subject, but because so many people have a fairly high chance of sniping at each other in the comments section, and I don’t have any time to police the comments section these days.

However, I also recognize that’s a terrible reason not to speak up on an issue when I speak up on almost every other significant issue to come down the pike, and so I’m going to get over my reluctance and say a few things on this important topic.

This is actually one area where I personally am very proud of my church’s stance on the issue, and where I am fully in line with its statement. Here’s the most relevant part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s statement on abortion:

Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.

Now, an explanation from me. I am against elective abortion when it’s something done for personal or social convenience. I know there’s the pithy “women had a choice when they decided whether or not to have sex” statement anti-abortion folks like to trot out, and I agree with that sentiment, assuming the woman did, indeed, have a choice in the matter. Getting pregnant is a natural potential consequence of having sex, even if you are using some form of birth control. I don’t believe ending the life of a child (or a potential child) because it isn’t convenient is a good enough reason. The “my body my choice” memes making the rounds aren’t something I can get behind 100%, though of course I also recognize that I am not and will never be a woman, and I have no chance of ever getting pregnant, and so it will never be my body or my choice. I’m still part of society, though, and I would vote for a law that outlaws abortion for personal and/or social convenience.

At the same time, I definitely recognize there are times when that choice was ripped away from a woman, and I am so grateful my church recognizes it as well.

Why do so many governments insist on removing any exemption clauses on abortion laws? I have to assume it’s because they worry that if those clauses exist, women will just claim they were raped in order to have abortions. And so they decide it’s more important that no abortions happen than it is that some women are able to have some say in the matter of what happens to themselves in the case of rape or incest.

I find that despicable.

If a woman wants to claim something that isn’t true in order to fit the stipulations of the law, that’s up to her, not me. I’d rather protect the ones who really need protection. I would be fine with any law that prohibited abortion for personal or social convenience, so long as it included exemptions for the cases outlined above. Without those exemptions, I don’t believe any law should be passed. So I’m very much against the recent abortion laws being passed.

Which likely means I’m irritating friends on both sides of the issue with this post. Not the first time, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone. I would like to think there’s more people in my boat, agreeing with elements of both sides of the debate. But don’t we all like to think most people agree with us most of the time?

I don’t have anything to add beyond what I’ve said here, other than a request that people keep the comments civil. Here’s hoping.

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