I’ve been asked quite often how I feel about abortion. Should a woman have a right to choose? At what point does a fetus become a human and when is it morally acceptable to terminate a pregnancy?
I am inevitably asked because the person asking is looking for support for their position. They are rarely pleased with my answer, because I never answer exactly as they would expect. Pro-lifers, those who think abortion should be illegal, don’t completely understand my reasoning. Pro-choicers, those who believe that a woman has the right to decide if she wants to carry the baby or not, are not satisfied with my answer either.
So where do I stand on abortion? I think abortion should be illegal.
I’ll grant that cases where the baby is threatening the mother’s life that abortion should be allowed. I’ll grant that victims of rape should be allowed to choose.
But you’re a liberal, people say to me all the time. How can you oppose abortion and be a liberal? It’s easy. I sit on the line, politically, between libertarianism and liberalism. The Libertarian in me believes that people should be free to do just about anything they please as long as they don’t infringe upon the liberties of another person.
Abortion is the ultimate infringement on another person’s rights.
It’s not a religious viewpoint. I’m not playing that card. I don’t know when consciousness begins. I don’t know when a “soul” enters the body. I don’t have a dog in that fight. And because I can’t know when a zygote becomes a person, I have to err on the side of caution. Many pro-lifers are not satisfied with that response because I refuse to weigh in on the religious implications.
I’m also a big proponent of personal responsibility. When two people have sex, they know the risk. Regardless of how much protection is used, you are risking pregnancy when you have sex. You are responsible for the outcome and consequences of your choices. Period.
There’s no doubt in my mind that adequate social programs don’t exist to help an young mother-to-be who might not want to keep a baby from an unplanned pregnancy. Ideally, we need social programs to assist and help parents who do not wish to keep a baby. We need a better way to hold deadbeat dads accountable. We need a better way to make sure babies are well cared for.
Regardless, though, the lack of said programs does not give us the right to kill a child. It just means we have to mobilize as a society and fix that issue.
Does a woman have the right to choose? Yes. And so does the man. They can choose to not have sex. Other than that, they must live with the choice they make.