Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Should Abortion be a Universal Human Right? Who is Really "Pro-life?"

I noted in my local newspaper that a Swedish feminist political party, known as the Feminist Initiative Party, is making a push for the EU to recognize abortion as a universal human right. This is a bold step.  Although it merited reporting in the international press, I would predict that the identification of abortion as a universal human right on a par with clean water or access to medical care (which the US unfortunately does not view as a right) has a very long "row to hoe."  Many European governments, while not outright banning abortion, make obtaining an abortion difficult.

We live in a very "label challenged" world.  Those who are inclined to make abortion generally easy and universally available (and sometimes paid for by the government) usually adopt the title "pro-choice."  Yet, when I listen to the pro-choice rhetoric, I really don't hear "pro-choice." What I hear is "pro-abortion"-- vehement and angry.  Still, that side of the debate, generally opposes capital punishment, supports social welfare programs, agitates for famine relief in Africa, and a whole slue of worthy positions.

The other side, the so-called "pro-life" are not really pro-life-- at least not all the way.  What they want is a legal remedy putting and end to abortion.  I don't think things are quite that simple.  Abortion was a major issue for 20% or less of the overall US electorate in the 2008 presidential election.  Further, this side overwhelmingly supports capital punishment, the Iraq War, very limited social programs.  I would hardly call their views consistent with the moniker "pro-life."

Let's get real.  I think abortion, in most cases, is morally wrong.  Still, I don't think that, after all of these years of legal abortion, making abortion illegal will result in anything but civil disobedience and outright "revolution" of a sort.  If one really wants to stop the tide of abortion, it would seem to me that enacting laws and social policies-- including incentives to give birth to an unwanted child-- would be the path to take.

Finally, let pro-life truly be PRO-LIFE.  Yet us stand for life and see that any attitude or action that diminishes life contributes to a death culture.  Those truly pro-life need to refuse the violence of the War, denounce capital punishment, lobby for children's and parent's health care and a livable wage, and act in life-affirming ways in all they do.  Any death-affirming policies diminish all of us.  It strikes a blow against the power of life-- strong though fragile as it is.  Let pro-life be pro-life indeed!

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