Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why I Consider Myself Pro-Life... Sorta...

As I've already noted, I wrote a post at ThePolitic arguing that under a government funded system of health care/health insurance, the government had to fund abortion.

A lot of the discussion has focused more on abortion than on the more narrow point I was trying to make (which I knew it would, and, in fact, I think people stayed more on topic than I thought they might).  Naturally, a lot of people take the post to imply that I am pro choice, and I guess compared to some, I am.  However, I am not completely comfortable with that designation.

My basic position is that at the very beginning of pregnancy, the fetus (please allow me to use that word no matter what stage of gestation we're at - I don't want to look up the actual terms) is not a person.  It does not have personhood; it is not human in the "inherent dignity of humanity" sort of way.

The moment before birth, the fetus is a person.  The fetus has a soul, and deserves all protections that we would afford any other person, even those outside the womb.  So, the question becomes, when does the fetus become a person?  And, I don't know.  I'm guessing that when we get close to viability, the fetus is a person.  In terms of development, 24 weeks seems like an okay time to decide that a fetus is legally a person.  Again, I have no certainty of this, and I am open to persuasion, but that's my best rough guess.

So, I support early stage abortions.  I oppose late stage abortions.  (And, by the way, at the point that we would outlaw abortion, I'm against a rape exclusion.  I'm sorry, I know it seems cold and cruel, but at the point that the fetus is a person, the circumstances of conception do not alter its/his/her inherent dignity.  I hate writing this, but if abortion is wrong, it's wrong.)

Now where does this leave me on the choice/life spectrum?  I have no idea.  The reason that I would self-identify as pro life if I was forced to wear a label is because I am slightly more concerned about protecting life than protecting choice (though I think both are important).  Basically, if presented with the absurd choice of outlawing all abortion (let's exclude true medical reasons) or allowing all abortion (up until the moment before birth), I would choose the former.

Of course, this doesn't mean much.  I'm not going to be presented with such an option.  I just thought it best to lay out where I stand as I drag myself into this debate.

[Update: I should note that I am taking this as a very simplistic binary hypothetical.  I am not taking into account any political implications - such as, which position would move us to a better situation - or real world implications - such as the proliferation of back alley abortions.]

On another, similar, note, writing at RH Reality Check, Jodi Jacobson quotes a lengthy passage from my post in a Roundup of abortion and reproductive health articles.  Needless to say, Ms. Jacobson is now my favourite reproductive health blogger.

...well, for the sake of my marriage, maybe my second favourite reproductive health blogger.  (Ticking off the wife would probaby make my reproductive health moot.)

Anyway, this is probably as good a time as any to post this:

And if I'm blogging about Ben Folds and sex, however tangentially, I have to post this:

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