I keep trying to think how to phrase my “nuanced” feelings on the pro-life, anti-abortion, pro-choice debates.
This is not just a metaphor. I feel at some bone-deep level like I want to blame my ideological archrivals the Com majors for this, and for global warming and the extinction of the dinosaurs. Communications majors will claim they could not possibly be involved in the extinction of the dinosaurs. (That’s because they have no imagination.)
It bothers me on this profound level that someone has hijacked the meaning of perfectly innocent words like “life” and “choice” by putting the prefix pro- in front of them. And now they mean something different. I am not sure what exactly they mean with the pro- in front, and I am pretty sure the haziness is part of the point. Thinking out complex issues is hard.
Back to real dinosaur talk. I think we all agree that dinosaurs are extinct. Communications majors leave that reality there. English majors like me are already thinking about Jurassic Park and bodily resurrection and the fact that someone needs to keep those COM majors in check, because they would still be “impartially” reporting news up until the moment when the velociraptor eats them.
These territorial disputes only sound like total jokes until you are actually in the average Liberal Arts college and on the student newspaper. We really do get upset like that.
I like to think we all agree on things like human decency and respect for life. But what do we mean by those words? For example, are Communications majors really human or are they possibly some other species? Do we have to treat news reporters decently when everything is basically their fault? Including dinosaur extinction?
Insert grievance of choice against group of people you don’t really like of choice. The grievance can be entirely made up. I have found that many of our grievances are when you stop to think about it. What we really mean to say is “I would like that person’s stuff.” But first we need a “reason” to do it. So, we find some words and put them together.
People get murdered every day. Based on the color of their skin or their geographic location, we shrug and say things happen and continue with our morning coffee. Young kids go to bed hungry while their parents are doing drugs in the other room. My feelings on the abortion issue are “nuanced” for those and a hundred other reasons.
My feelings are not nuanced in the sense of subtle and in any way weak. My feelings are multifaceted and complex, strong and diverse. I have lots of complicated feelings about the dignity of each human person.
I am pro-life. I am especially defensive of sentient life. No big secret there. I am pro-choice, because I am on the side of free will, and of actual consequences within boundaries. These terms are not mutually incompatible. In fact, they are two sides of the same coin. I do not have the same respect for, say, the lives of mosquitoes and the lives of human beings.
I believe that life does start at conception especially in the case of voluntary abortion because, assuming (as I believe) that we are all going to live forever, I don’t think the real God would want anyone to have to look back and think but – if only I had chosen differently. Forever is a very long time to brood on things like that. Everything changes with an infinite time horizon. Through no fault of our own, we tend to walk around with at max like a 100 year time horizon.
We can have a bigger time horizon, with at least the imagination of a Michael Crichton, together with at least the moral consideration to say, “Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.” No one should make a choice in the course of fifty years only to regret that choice for actual ever.
None of this is remotely canonical, of course, no more than the average Chuck Tingle novel. But, I can see both sides here.
I had a pregnancy scare once. I wasn’t, as it turned out, but if I had been, I remember thinking, I cannot have a baby with this physically and emotionally abusive guy. Also, my mother’s advice on leaving home with this guy was pretty much try not to get pregnant but if you do, get an abortion. So that is probably what I would have done? I have no idea. All I can think is – thank God – I wasn’t. Also, the doctor wanted me to go on birth control, and I was like I do not trust drugs except if I’m sick, and she stared at me like what is wrong with you – and I was like, I don’t know what is psychologically wrong with me. Let’s start a list. If you grew up like I did, you would probably want to avoid doctors and “voluntary meds” like I do. I am not saying this is rational. But there is no way I am taking some hormonal pill for that. So, yeah. Long story short, my life is so much simpler single and celibate. In so many ways.
I used to give people “advice” when I was younger. Now I give information, opinions, and my quiet awareness that most people just want someone to listen most of the time. And … to sign off on that crazy plan. I am very careful not to sign off on crazy plans, unless they involve chocolate.