Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Reply to Pete Ashdown Regarding Abortion

Dear Pete,

First of all, thank you very much for engaging me in this forum. I am both grateful and honored that you would take the time to do so. I think conversations such as this are vital to the wellbeing of our Republic. The fact that you would take the time to share your thoughts speaks well of you. Again, I thank you very sincerely.

Secondly, I agree with you that the topic of abortion is very polarizing.

But, I differ with your implication that it should therefore be avoided. My thinking is precisely the opposite: Abortion is polarizing because it deals with some of the most fundamentally important, soul wrenching issues of our day--issues that strike a nerve, issues that simply must be addressed.

Over a million abortions are performed in the United States every year!

To pretend that we are unaware of that 800 pound gorilla sitting in our living room would simply be ridiculous. Granted, if one believed that those million abortions merely represented the disposal of extraneous tissue, then one could more easily rationalize away the significance of the phenomenon. But, if one sincerely believed--or even recognized the possibility--that those million abortions represented the willful taking of an innocent human life, unborn children, then the act of passively remaining silent would be considerably more difficult. Indeed, to do nothing would be cowardly and immoral.

I choose not to be that kind of person. Please do not expect me to apologize.

Now, just as I choose not to be cowed into remaining silent, so too do I choose not to see my "pro-choice" brothers and sisters as being monsters. Some may actually be rather disappointing in their character, but I choose to extend the benefit of the doubt to the majority.

I choose to believe that most are motivated by a sincere compassion for those women who find themselves facing very difficult circumstances. They want to respect their supposed right to respond to these situations in private and to make the hard choices alone.

I too can conceive of difficult scenarios that defy easy answers. My heart also is filled with compassion for the women who face these situations. And, I certainly do not feel comfortable in forcing my judgments upon any of them. However, in weighing both sides of the issue in my heart and mind, the consequences seem so much greater on the side of taking a life than on the side of legally requiring a pregnancy to go to term. Thus, I am "pro-life."

I honestly believe that society has the right, indeed the responsibility, to restrain abortion in most of the situations wherein it is currently administered today. The legitimately extreme and difficult scenarios constitute a sufficiently small percentage of the abortions in this country that they cannot be used to justify a larger policy of abortion on demand.

True, rape is not always an easy crime to prove, and yet in this country we still insist upon granting a trial to the accused before we send him to jail. We don't call it "divining." We call it justice.

Likewise, I am convinced that people of goodwill are capable of developing a process that would allow a judge to discretely review evidence and testimony in private, while determining whether or not to grant an order for an abortion. Would it be a perfect system? No. Would it be preferable to abortion on demand, at the rate of over a million per year? Yes.

Further, pregnancies that result from incest can be demonstrated via prenatal genetic testing. And, there are more than enough physicians who are capable of providing expert testimony as to whether or not a woman's life is in danger because of a pregnancy.

In short, the difficulty we face is not the insurmountable obstacle that you make it out to be. But, you are correct in recognizing that we do have to address these issues. That, I suspect, is why the proposed deeper restrictions on abortion failed in South Dakota. Despite the fact that the state is dominated by people who are pro-life like me, the good folks there surely did not want to go from one unacceptable extreme to another.

May we all, then, find the right balance. Because, we are a million lives per year out of balance now. May God help us to do so, I pray.

Love, Your Friend & Brother,


(Originally posted to www.slcspin.com on 14 NOV 2006)


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