Clarification: When I write, I don't prepare or organize my ideas, I just write what I would say if I was talking to you in person, so sometimes my blogs end up a little messy. I don't even proof-read what I write before posting it so you may find grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences. Sometimes I'll read my blogs a day or two after publishing them and I may re-write things that weren't too clear and any embarrassing grammatical mistake. Also, English is not my first language, so I apologize if reading my blogs become a struggle. Of course, if this is the case, I would imagine you wouldn't continue reading.

Jun 26, 2013

Abort Mission (Thoughts Of An Ex-Pro-Lifer)

The abortion debate is one of the most delicate and controversial issues today. It's a powerful topic that ignites passions like no other topic, and it's the reason for lost friendships, fist fights, and even terrorism and death. For this reason, I try not to talk too much about it, or at least, I try not engaging people on the subject on my own social network profiles. I know lots of good people, at a personal and professional level, who don't share my same views on this matter. That doesn't mean that I don't understand where they are coming from, because I do, as I was once one of them.

I was born and raised in a country where 90% of the population is Catholic and abortion is illegal. Even when there might be a small percentage of "pro-choice" people, they keep to themselves, so there really is no debate. "Abortion is murder" is basically the official opinion of the whole country. Abortion does happen in clandestine locations, but most people would rather have a kid than risk their lives, reputation, and freedom, as it's a crime punishable with jail. Not only that, but anyone who's been involved in any way in an abortion is automatically excommunicated from the Catholic church. It is a big deal. Although, when you grow up in a place like that, it doesn't seem like it is a deal at all. It's very rare to meet someone who is pro-abortion, at least publicly.

Just like everyone else, I was Catholic and thought abortion was wrong regardless of the circumstances of the pregnancy. It's not too hard to indoctrinate impressionable kids at Catholic school, let me tell you, but it gets even easier when you have very strong social pressures from all directions, which are the product of the religious superstition that's so deeply embedded in the social fabric of the country. At this point, the anti-abortion learning process is automatic, really, there's no need for campaigns or any of that.

Back then it was a no brainer for me, there was not much to think about. All pro-abortion arguments were disregarded as selfish excuses with no base. I believe that those strong feelings and inflexible reasoning I once had are very similar to the sentiment pro-life people in this country have today. It was black or white issue for me, and even scarier, I was more than sure I was right.

There's never going to be a final solution to this debate, ever. Even when sometimes pro-life people try to use science and statistics to validate their position, in the end, their perspective is pretty much based on religious beliefs. See, most Christians, particularly Catholics, believe that the moment an egg is fertilized, God provides it with a soul. Basically, it's considered a person from the very first moment of conception. This is why it really doesn't matter if the abortion is done before a certain amount of time, you're still ending someone's life. It doesn't matter if we're talking about unwanted pregnancies (that include rape situations), lack of stability/resources, potential for deformities, Down Syndrome and other conditions, or even cases where the mother's life is in danger, you're killing an innocent person who's done nothing wrong. Period. Pro-lifers are fighting against the murder of innocent and defenseless people. Well, kinda, because this train of thought brings up many questions about their attitudes, but I'll talk more about this later.

On top of that, they provide real verifiable life examples of all those situations that are used as "excuses" to have abortions, where not having an abortion generated extraordinary results and happiness. I personally have a friend who decided to keep the baby product of a horrible gang rape, and she couldn't be any happier with her choice now. It's truly admirable of her and I know for a fact that her kid is one loved and happy kid. What can you say to something like that? Also, it's known that abortions usually come with a psychological price, and there's been cases where that price was a little too high. So, it's not only about the lives of innocent people, but also about what's best for the women.

Even if you already know about all that and don't think those arguments are good enough, what you need to understand is that the picture they paint together present a very strong case to a great number of religious people, or even to someone in the who hasn't made up their minds regarding religion, it could sound very convincing. I think it is a mistake to dismiss the pro-life movement as "men trying to control women's bodies" or similar statements you hear from the pro-choice side. I was pro-life, and I can tell you I was only interested in what was best for everyone, it had nothing to do with power, control, etc. It was almost a loving choice.

I'm not against abortion anymore, obviously. It didn't happen overnight, and the story about the evolution of  my opinion is a boring one, so I'm going to spare you from it. It's much more interesting to tell you the reasons not only I'm pro-choice, but why I believe is the morally correct choice.

First of all, let's be clear, not even the people who claim that abortion is murder believe in such statement. If they do, then they are being extremely lenient about it, because what they are basically saying is that anyone involved in an abortion is guilty of premeditated murder, which could be punishable with the death penalty. If they really think abortion is murder, then they don't give a shit about all these American children being murdered every day. Make the babies 1 year old's instead and present the same scenario, and you would have a national uproar calling for the death and torture of all the people involved in the killings, doctors and mothers and assistants, even the receptionist. If someone tells you abortion is murder, you can effectively tell them that they are assholes for not doing anything about it, just to make a point, I mean, not to insult them.

Second, being pro-choice has nothing to do with babies, but with a choice based on personal beliefs and science, and it can't be dismissed either as selfishness and psychopathic behavior. In my own case, it all came down to realizing that what I believed in, which I thought was the best for everyone, could only apply to me and those who thought like me.The pro-choice point of view is as valid as any other belief, plus it's backed by science. It is not possible to prove that God gives souls to fertilized eggs, and no matter how strong is your faith, your feelings and your own experiences, it can't be considered a fact that a fetus is a person. Even scientifically, it's hard to say when a fetus becomes an individual, a person with rights. It's even possible to draw this line after birth, if you get into philosophical ideas of individuality, awareness and consciousness. I respect if you believe that there's a person with a soul at the moment of conception, you are free to believe that.

I think that calling someone "murderer" and "baby killer" for choosing to have an abortion, or for supporting that choice, is extremely rude and self-righteous and arrogant, especially when it coming from Christians. Didn't they learn anything from their biblical Jesus? Who are you throwing rocks at, sinners? If you feel/think/believe that a fetus is an individual with rights from the moment of conception, or after a number of weeks, it doesn't mean you are right, it doesn't make it true. Your beliefs are no more valid than any other belief, you aren't closer to the truth just because you say so. It's even more absurd to claim that your religious beliefs are more accurate than science. Although, it's easy to develop a superiority complex in any religion.

What's important is that these are not their "babies" that are "getting killed", and those aren't people who are OK with murder either. Not because a possibility based on religious beliefs is considered (the possibility that a fertilized egg is really a person), people who don't share the same views shouldn't have to live their lives around such possibilities. What I mean is that if you don't really know if what you believe is absolutely true, but you choose to act on the safe side, just in case, to think everyone should behave the same way is a little arrogant. People don't have to consider the religious-based possibility you present. Think about the kind of mess we've be in if we did that with every single belief there is. Maybe we should all stop cutting our hair just in case the Sikhs are right, who knows? Wanting to eliminate the right to choose to have an abortion is about wanting to impose your personal views on morality and your beliefs on others, plain and simple. This is what pro-life people should think about and be aware of, because in the attempt to make the world a better place, we can easily forget about the other possible perspectives.

If you think abortion is wrong, then don't have one and don't judge people who don't believe the same you do, and the one example you know of someone who chose to abort for vain and selfish reasons gives you no excuse or reason to assume all people who choose to have an abortion is doing it for the very same reasons and are horrible people like the person you know. People who get abortions aren't doing it to kill children, neither the doctors who perform them think they are killing people. An abortion doesn't make them less than you. Let them be, and mind your own business. Even if you think that not having an abortion is the best choice for whatever reason, it's not for you to take that choice, it's not your life, and there are an equal number of situations where an abortion resulted, or would result, in the best possible outcome, this is fact. Be humble, be good, and instead of demonizing others because of their beliefs, try to understand them, try to love them, or pray for them, or whatever, don't go ranting that they'll burn in hell. Seriously.

Think about it, please.

That is all.
Thank you.


IOYOI said...

The story of the evolution of your opinion cannot be boring; it means that you have passed through a process to stop "forgetting about the other possible perspectives". You used your brain and questioned your opinion. Some people are not aware of the reasons for being against abortion and they consider themselves as good people just for being "pro-life"

CE54R said...

Maybe I'll write it down for you, if you're that curious. I still think it's kinda boring, and probably no that different than many other stories of evolving opinions. If I get the time in the next few days, I'll post it here.