Opinion: Consider abortion on social terms
I will begin by admitting that I will likely never be able to concede abortion as being a right, never really recognize the meaning of a right to choose or even come to view abortion as some form of a privilege. However, even such an ardent anti-abortion proponent as myself must acknowledge that abortion is at least a practice and option whose availability women have become accustomed to.
Abortion has become a part of our culture both politically and socially. That a man and woman even sit down after learning that she is pregnant to discuss whether or not to have the child is a testament to the impact that abortion has had. And even I, as strongly as I personally feel on the issue, am aware of the current law on abortion and respect women enough that I would not stand in the way of a female if I were ever placed in that situation, though every effort would admittedly be made to persuade her otherwise.
So yes, abortion as an issue is significant, but I will go to my grave denying that it is either a privilege or a right. Yet while I'll never concede that point, even I must admit that as a man, the realization does often shake me and trouble me to realize that I am on the opposing side of an issue so many women care so deeply about. And even though I'm without apology for the personal convictions I hold, that is one point that has caused more than a few nights of lost sleep over the years.
Lest there be any doubts regarding my own stance on the issue, I'll admit that if the issue of overturning Roe v. Wade ever came before me, I'd be inclined to overturn that decision. But as I have written on numerous occasions in the past in both this publication and others, there is a false sense that overturning Roe v. Wade alone is a significant victory for acknowledging the sanctity of human life in America.
The pro-choice movement actually raises an interesting point with its rhetoric about a potential return to the days of back-alley abortions. Legal or illegal, an abortion is still an abortion and a loss of human life. And this is at least one pro-lifer who won't feel any better in a post-Roe world with illegal abortions still taking place. The pro-choice side is right - no abortion is ever safe, but the illegal abortions would be even more unsafe. For that reason, there ought to be less emphasis on the legal battle to make abortion illegal and more emphasis on promoting a culture where all life is appreciated and abortion is no longer considered to be a viable option.
I meet plenty of pro-choice individuals, women especially, who say they personally could never allow themselves to have an abortion, but are pro-choice so other women have that option. We need more individuals like that! It would be far better to have a country full of pro-choice women with that approach - whose own consciences wouldn't allow them to have an abortion but who protect the ability of others to do so - than a country where abortion is outlawed, yet illegal abortions continue to occur. Quite simply, the ultimate focus of both movements should be less on the political fighting where no progress is made, but rather a mutual cooperation to reduce both the number of and need for abortions in America.
My own pro-life sentiments come from several sources. Personal faith admittedly plays a significant role in shaping my convictions, but America is a nation where all faiths are welcomed and accepted, including those that may differ from mine; I readily acknowledge and respect that. But perhaps even deeper and more significant than faith is an appreciation for life, and that is a sentiment individuals of all faiths and backgrounds can accept. Every life has worth, regardless of an individual's gender, level of education, physical appearance, wealth or background.
Within every individual there is some inherent good, a sense of value and a purpose for his or her life, and there is always someone else in this world who cares about that person, acknowledges that value and would suffer from his or her loss.
Too often pro-lifers attempt to defend their position by making the argument that a fetus could grow up to become president or find a cure for cancer, etc. But in reality, not all of us will accomplish those things. That doesn't mean our life has any less meaning. Instead, we ought to realize that with every abortion, a son or a daughter is lost. Or a brother or sister, or future parent, husband or wife. Perhaps the fetus will grow up to be the first-grade teacher who has a memorable impact on our own children's lives or the hard-working father who works a second or third job so his kids can have a better life growing up than he did. None of these are presidents or cancer-curing doctors, but America is a nation in which heroes come in all forms and every life can be extraordinary.
It ought to be a nation in which we ensure that every life has meaning too.
Timothy Meyer is a senior in the School of Communication.