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Can there be a middle ground in the abortion debate?

Guest Commentary


Last updated 9/13/2018 at 5:07pm

I recently took my grandson back to the Midwest to get better acquainted with some of his relatives. He is only recently aware that he is related to a huge clan of Midwesterners.

While there, I watched as two of my kinfolks debated whether or not Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to fill the opening on the Supreme Court. The debate gravitated to Roe vs. Wade then moved on to the morality of abortion.

One was adamantly pro-choice and the other just as firm pro-life. The pro-life asked me if I could think of any situation where it was OK to kill an unborn child. I responded that I could reasonable think of a few times when I would accept a premature end to a pregnancy.

The other protagonist smiled and said, “So you are pro-choice.” I responded that I was generally pro-life but not in all circumstances. Both glared at me. When I said, “Well, doesn’t it depend on the circumstances?” They both turned away, ignored me and continued their argument.

I don’t mean to be wishy-washy, but I find that a polar world usually leads to fights and seldom gets anything resolved. Even our legal system is ambivalent on the rights of an unborn.

It is absolutely legal in our country for a mother-to-be to get in her car, drive to an abortion clinic and terminate her pregnancy. If, however, she is hit by a drunk driver on the way to the clinic and sustains injuries that terminate the life of the soon to be aborted unborn, the drunk driver is guilty of vehicular homicide. It is legal for one person to kill the fetus but not another. Is the unborn a life with full protection under the law? Yes…and…no, depending on the circumstances.

As I said earlier, I am generally pro-life. I am not sure when the unborn becomes a human being. It becomes alive at conception, but for several months it can only survive within the body of mother-to-be.

I agree that during gestation, she has the greatest responsibility and should be the primary decision maker, but should she have the sole right to decide whether the fetus lives or dies? I don’t know.

I think abortion as a routine means of birth control is morally wrong. When my dad and I had the “talk” many years ago, he said that the ability to conceive a child includes the responsibility for that child forever. I assume he had the same talk with my sisters. If he didn’t, he should have.

Under normal circumstances, a mother-to-be should also be morally responsible for the life that she and Romeo conceived. I would have trouble being rigidly pro-life, however, if mother-to-be was my 14-year-old daughter with her entire life before her.

Should parents have some voice in the decision? They are responsible for the actions of their minor children. If a young teen damages someone’s property, the parents are liable.

Should parents share the responsibility for the irresponsible actions of Romeo and/or mother-to-be? Responsibility normally includes a certain degree of authority. Is a young teen mother-to-be, who has already made one bad decision, mature enough to be the sole decision maker for her future and for the future of the unborn?

What about Romeo? Should young Romeo be responsible against his will, if mother-to-be decides to become mother-in-fact? What about a mature Romeo who wants very much to be a father?

To me, the whole issue is full of “what ifs” and circumstances. I find it impossible to be staunchly either pro-life or pro-choice. I don’t like Roe vs. Wade because it stretches the Constitution, and every time we stretch the Constitution we risk breaking it.

But, Roe vs. Wade is what we have. It has been the law of the land long enough that we are used to it, and for all its faults, it works. I think we should let the issue be.

Brett Kavanaugh seems to have the qualifications to be a good Supreme Court Justice. He said that he wouldn’t change Roe versus Wade. I hope he keeps his word.

Frank Watson is a retired Air Force Colonel and long-time resident of Eastern Washington. He has been a free-lance columnist for over 19 years.


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