I previously commented on the ruckus about the Tebow ad. Well here comes Richard Land, described as on of the 25 most influential evangelists in the country with with his take on it. MotherSkadi responded again.
What I find discouraging about this is the way the anti-choice crowd pits the woman against the fetus. There is no consideration of the woman as an active, independent, moral agent with a serious decision to make. One would think women are running out and having abortions willy nilly. But they aren't.
The Guttmacher Institute posted some facts about abortion back in July 2008. What is interesting is that despite the hysterical rantings of the anti-choice crowd, only 2% of women between 15-44 choose an abortion. 89% of those are occurring during the first trimester (12 weeks). 50% of the women having abortions are under 25 and 54% used contraceptives although the majority reported using them inconsistently. Poor women have more abortions than the well off, and 75% of the women made the choice to abort for reasons involving current family responsibilities, personal responsibilities, and/or relationship issues with their partners. The foregoing does not represent every factor cited by the Institute, but it certainly suggests that we have a long way to go in educating our young people and helping them understand the need for responsible behavior.
Do I wish there was never a need for abortions? Yes, but we don't have the solutions to ensure every child is wanted, can be cared for, can be born alive and healthy, or that the pregancy is not a threat to the life of the mother, or the result of rape or incest. We just can't make that happen in the near term, and I suspect it will be a very long time before we can, if ever. Women have aborted pregnancies for a long time. Long before Richard Land or other anti-choice people had access to the media. They made their choices for reasons they thought were sufficient and moral. I suspect that Mr. Land and the others would call them murderers.
In my opinion, first trimester abortions need to be left alone. Period. Unless there is some leap of technology it is unlikely any fetus would survive outside the womb at that age. If such a leap occurs (artifical wombs?), then I suspect Huxley's Brave New World will be just around the corner, and I hope I am not around to see that! On the other hand, we know that technology makes it possible for ever earlier premies to be born and survive (often with a lot of issues). In that case, the state is going to have an interest because a live birth is a new citizen.
Regardless, the technology that can tell us the status of the fetus in utero cannot save anencephalic fetuses, or others that present a host of physical ailments that would result in stillbirth, a dead baby shortly after birth, or a severely handicapped child for whom aggressive medical interventions might be inappropriate. Do we then insist that the pregnancy be carried to term despite the known outcome? Is the state the appropriate stand-in for the parents in making a moral decision in those cases?
I don't think so. I think the issue needs to be left to the parents in consultation with their doctor. Pam Tebow had the opportunity for that consultation and to choose the direction she wanted to proceed with. She had a choice and exercised it based on her beliefs and conscience. Let's not deny other women that same choice.