The few thoughts on this emotional subject from a man who's had a vasectomy.
1. Facetiousness aside, I say to the folks who believe that men should not be participating in this debate: "You're wrong." I understand that it is the woman who becomes pregnant, but it still requires two ingredients to make the baby.
2. Life starts at conception. People who wish to protect abortion rights only tie themselves in knots when they challenge this. I understand the baby cannot survive outside of the mother's womb for much of the pregnancy, but to deny that the "fetus" is a living, growing entity is just silly.
3. The labels make me nuts. "Pro-choice", "anti-choice", "pro-life", and worst of all "pro-abortion." As far as I know, nobody is pro-abortion. I believe this should be the starting point for the entire discussion: "Nobody likes abortion, so what can we do to lower their numbers". Bumper sticker debates are tenuous at best, but a recent one from folks who would outlaw the procedure says: "Pray to end abortion". I may not support the way they would enforce this sentiment, but a goal of no abortions is a noble one.
4. I've been a little belligerent towards people that support keeping abortion legal thus far. Now it's time for me to focus on those who would make abortion illegal. Sex happens, folks. Stick your fingers in your ears, and shout "nah, nah, nah, nah" all you want, this fact will not go away. Abstinence education is a farce at best and dangerous at worst. The best way to prevent unplanned pregnancy is sex education that includes information about birth control. In fact, this is the crux of the entire issue. Abortion is the ultimate "closing the barn door after the horse has escaped" debate.
5. Social conservatives can't have it both ways. The demand for abortions will always be high as long as folks continue to deny the efficacy of realistic sexual education. It's time for the ostriches to take their heads out of the sand.
6. To all those people who would make abortion illegal, there's more to being "pro-life" than just mandating that a woman must carry a child to term. I've noticed that many of these same people are in favor of limiting access to healthcare, limiting access to public assistance, dismantling public education, and limiting funds for social service agencies that would assist a mother and her newborn. There's a difference between "pro-birth" and "pro-life". Which one are you?
7. Putting a child from an unplanned pregnancy up for adoption is worthy of praise and support.
8. For many women (and men), dealing with an unplanned pregnancy there are no "right" answers. For many of them, an abortion is the "least wrong" answer.
9. It would be wonderful to live in a world where every baby is healthy and planned for. As I said above, that's a noble goal. It's also (sadly) unrealistic.
10. As I've gotten older, any "wisdom" I've achieved can be traced back to the development of empathy. Instead of continuing to vilify one another, I believe we'd do better if we tried to understand one another. I think we'd realize we have more in common than we think we do.
I hate apologies that start with "if", but... if I've upset or angered you, I'm sorry. That was not my intent. It was, rather, to start a more honest dialogue between the various points of view.
P.S. I was about to publish this when I realized I hadn't stated my position on whether access to abortions should be legal or not. I think I'll leave it like that.