Abortion: Where Do We Go from Here?
by Pat Goltz
We live now in a culture that has practiced abortion for nearly twenty-five years. This means that the vast majority of us has been involved in the situation in one way or another. Some of us have had abortions. Some of us have helped others have abortions. Some of us have fought to make or keep abortion legal. Some of us have helped a woman who might have had an abortion have her baby instead. Some of us have fought to protect the unborn. But few of us have been untouched by this situation.
I am writing for the perspective of a person who has been involved either in obtaining an abortion, helping someone else, or fighting to make or keep abortion legal. More particularly, I am writing for the person who prides herself or himself in having a sense of justice, and a sense of caring for the underdog.
First of all, we must deal with what has gone before. We must deal with whatever involvement you have had.
Suppose that a man is in a battle, and during the course of that battle, he does something that indirectly results in the death of one of his fellow soldiers. Perhaps if he had thrown his body across that of his friend, his friend would have lived. Perhaps the situation is a little different, but for whatever reason, this man blames himself for the death of his friend. But the battle is still going on. Will this man keep fighting, or will he let his guilt over his friend's death paralyze him, and make him ineffective? The well trained soldier puts his guilt feelings aside and keeps on fighting. We are in that situation. There are a lot of us who feel guilty because of something we have done in this area. Perhaps we neglected our sister, and as a result, she faced an impossible situation. Perhaps she had an abortion, and she suffered terrible emotional consequences. Perhaps we feel on some level guilty for having helped our sister have an abortion. Perhaps one of us feels guilty for having had an abortion herself. Whatever the problem, the situation rages on, and we must deal with our guilt feelings at another time and place.
I do not mean to disregard or belittle guilt feelings. It does not matter whether the feelings are justified or not. They must be dealt with. But I am asking you to put them aside to consider some issues I wish to raise. The truth is, NONE of us has done enough, and ALL of us share in the guilt for the current situation. It matters not whether we believe we have not done enough to defend the unborn. It matters not whether we believe that if we had fought a little harder for women's rights, women would no longer need to resort to abortion. What matters is that there is still much injustice. Women are still not being given equal rights or fair treatment by men or society. Women still have to face that awful choice of whether or not to have an abortion. We are told that women either agonize over the decision, or SHOULD agonize over it. Why is it not a simple decision to make? There is more to it than fighting for a right that has no adverse consequences for others. And I am not talking about demanding that a person who is guilty of denying rights to women be held accountable.
So many of the people who support a legal right to abortion are very concerned about the underdog. Many of us are concerned about the fact that some people are less able to defend themselves, or are victims of the system. We have a strongly developed sense of justice. And certainly there are plenty of occasions where it is not just for a woman to become pregnant at a bad time. I want to appeal to your sense of justice.
A number of people have told me that abortion is murder, but we do not want to impose our views on others. We MUST examine that point of view. If you believe abortion is murder, then there is a victim. Suppose a man rapes and then kills a woman. Shall we say that rape is a crime, but we do not want to interfere with the man's right to commit rape? Shall we say that killing a woman is murder, but we do not want to interfere with the man's decision to murder the woman? IF abortion is murder, then we have as much duty to protect the child as we do the woman. If we have no such duty, then abortion is not murder. If we believe the unborn are not human beings, there is no duty to protect them. Then why do we agonize over the decision to have an abortion? There is something instinctual in us about the matter, is there not?
In an ordered society, there must be certain basic rules. If I drive recklessly and hit someone, then I have a duty to pay for the damage. The fact that I have prepaid an insurance company to do it for me merely means that I took my duty seriously enough to provide for it in advance. But in an ordered society, no one will claim that I owe the victim of my reckless driving nothing. Do we want a society in which the stronger person always gets the upper hand? What is feminism all about, but the basic principle that the fact that women tend to be physically weaker on the whole than men, does NOT justify discrimination against women?
We must ask what kind of society we want. Do we want a society where if the victim cannot cry out on her own behalf, we leave the attacker unpunished? Shall we refuse to prosecute a rapist who murders his victim? If the woman lives, and is emotionally unable to press charges or testify in court, but we can prove the man did it to her, shall the man go unpunished? Shall we give the woman no assistance to prove the rape? Shall we not take DNA samples and compare them? Shall we ignore her plight unless she has the ability to defend herself? That is unrealistic. Without our help, no woman can protect her interests from that of the rapist. In preparation, someone must teach the woman how to defend herself. In the event of a rape, someone must prosecute the rapist. He must be punished, or kept off the streets. If a man murders a woman and hides her body, do we have no duty to try to find him out and deal with him?
We ignore the unborn because we cannot see them. The woman is the underdog, but the baby is the underdog of the underdog. If you take pride in your femaleness, or if you have natural instincts, or if your sexuality is normal, you are going to have strong negative feelings about abortion. This is partly where the agony of the decision to have an abortion comes from. Whether or not we are consciously aware of the issue of whether or not the unborn are actual human beings, we all know that if we leave the pregnancy untouched, eventually we will have a child we can see and touch. Most of us believe that at another time and place, the baby will be welcomed. Some of us are afraid that if we go on with the pregnancy, the baby will suffer after she is born. Maybe we cannot provide for her. Maybe we think we will abuse her. Some of us believe that we choose abortion out of concern for the welfare of the child that we think might have been.
It is time for rational thought. If this is a future child of ours, or if we are aware that there is a formed being growing inside of us, then we must look for a solution that will prevent harm for ourselves, but at the same time, will not harm this being. Most people think this is impossible. It isn't. Part of the problem is that we have bought into some lies that the media have been spreading. Remember, the media are big and powerful. If we little people are going to survive, we have to shake off the power of this interest group. We need not ask what their motives are. We only need to examine whether or not they are telling the truth. Is there absolutely no alternative for the pregnant woman that would prevent harm to both her and her unborn?
There is one lie that the media are spreading that makes me furious. That is that those who want to protect the unborn don't care. No matter what side you are on, if this accusation is unjust, it should make your blood boil. The media would like to convince us that all they care about is the unborn, and that they do not care about the woman, and offer her no alternatives. Somehow, this is supposed to justify not listening to them. But truth is truth. If they are telling the truth, then their actions do not matter. Truth stands on its own. Suppose a man speaks out in favor of women's equality, but he cannot control his temper at home, and he is always beating his wife. Shall we not listen to his message? The consideration of whether or not we should try to prevent abortion is a different consideration from whether we should try to help the women. We should do both, but if we work toward only one of them, we are still better people than if we worked for neither.
Having said that, I must now tell you the truth. People who fight against abortion DO try to help. I have been investigating this for many years. I have found that a much higher percentage of abortion fighters have adopted children. A much higher percentage are willing to help women who are in trouble because they are pregnant. There is a vast network to help such women, and it is all due to the efforts of people who fight against abortion. I am not trying to say that women who believe in abortion rights never help. They do. But as a group they do not put forth the heroic efforts that the people who fight abortion do. That is simply a fact. So let us not accuse people who fight abortion of not caring. If you are going to win the ideological battle for abortion rights, it does not help to misrepresent the facts, because if you do, when people learn the truth, you lose credibility.
Nor am I trying to condemn the woman who fights for abortion rights. If she shows callous indifference toward women who become pregnant, then I am going to judge her. Most don't. We must acknowledge the care and concern these people feel. If we oppose abortion, then it does not help to misrepresent the motives of these people, because if we do, when people learn the truth, we lose credibility.
The point is that we MUST focus on solutions. Abortion is NOT a solution. It merely perpetuates the status quo. So what shall we do? We must start by recognizing that there is always a third solution to any problem. If we are presented with two bad choices, then there is always a third solution. If we continue to yield to violence, then women will NEVER win equality. We must acknowledge that we have admitted that abortion is bad for women. Women agonize over it. If it is not bad, women would not agonize. So abortion is bad for women. The idea that we have to keep it available because some other solution is worse is nonsense. We must look for the third solution.
We women have wasted enough time in our struggle for equality. We have divided ourselves from among ourselves. We must put our differences aside. Abortion has not helped us. We need to get rid of abortion and concentrate on correcting the problems that cause women to seek abortions in the first place.
Then and only then will we stand a chance of achieving equality. Until that day, we will gain nothing. I therefore invite you to join me in seeking true equality. Let us put aside violence. We will not kill today. We will not kill tomorrow. We will not kill next week. We will not kill next year. We will fight for equality, and put all violence from us.
Violence is the "solution" of the person who lacks creativity or the ability to find a real solution. We therefore reject violence. Let us start with you.
Background graciously provided by: