Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Controversial Tuesday Coffee Chat - Abortion

Leslie sure picked a topic that is sure to get everyone screaming at one another.  Abortion is a serious issue that needs to be discussed in a civilized manner.  For me, this is a question and issue of public health (both of the mother's and fetus').  I try to keep morality out of the equation.  Though most will scoff at that position, I see it as the logical progression as moral arguments, especially in this case, are circular and have lead us to whether we are now.  The manner in which the debate is framed at the moment (as a religious and moral issue) is only dividing the populace leading to entrenched positions with two sides hurling unproductive catch phrases at each other.

Both sides are guilty of trying to simply an issue that is in no way simple.  One only has to look at the catch phrases of the pro-life or pro-choice movements as evidence.  Contrary to what these organizations are presenting, this is not question that provides a simple black and white response - there are many shades of gray in both positions.  For those that argue that it is a simple choice of right or wrong (kill or not to kill), I encourage you to reconsider that position.  I abhor violence and would never seek to kill. I am anti-war 999 times out of a 1000 but there are instances (WWII) when life is not so black and white.  The globe is much too complex for simple analysis and thus this issue is as well.  The same goes for those that argue that it is a woman's body and their right to choose carte blanche.  There are instances when the decision leaves the hands of the individual for the greater societal good (e.g. the child is full term).  I believe most would concur that an abortion of a child that is about to be born would be an unnecessary taking of life unless the circumstances were extreme. If that extreme case arose, that question then leaves being an individual choice for the greater societal good. The question is where to draw these lines.

The reality is that, I do not know where the line should be drawn.  In order to make a choice, I would have to look at specific legislation, examine the opinions of medical doctors and psychologists before I could make a choice.  I am far from an expert on the topic. The thing I do know however, if I ever had to make this choice is that I would try my hardest to examine the issue as a question of public health rather than as a moral one.  I believe that morality and religion in this case is leading to a lack of civil discussion on both sides which have lead us into a quagmire and a deeply divided population as a result.  This is much too important of a decision to be made on a simplistic version of right and wrong. This is a complex issue which requires deep thought not catch-phrases.

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