“A Defense of Abortion” and understanding the other side
*Post has been edited for length and because WordPress doesn’t like one of my paragraphs.
Did that title get you here?
In my philosophical writing class this semester, we are discussing abortion and the process behind it being either morally permissible or morally impermissible. Not simply by the argument of who has the right to life, but by how the argument follows to the conclusion. The paper we read on this topic is: A Defense of Abortion, by Judith Jarvis Thomson.
To help me in understanding the arguments a bit better, I decided to revisit the Roe v. Wade case. I find it interesting (and a little horrifying) that a major component in this case was the idea of privacy and that an imposing pregnancy would be denying the woman privacy.
As a conservative who likes her guns and (should she own any) would not want the government requiring her to divulge which guns she owned-this being a part of her right to privacy-I understand the gravity of the privacy situation. Likewise, I would not allow some random stranger to just come into my house and start living there and being all up in my business because he happened upon my open door. On the other hand, I usually keep my door locked and don’t allow random strangers to just wander in.
This can be an argument for abortion, but perhaps in the case of rape/incest. While I am strongly against abortion, I find myself allowing understanding for it for others in cases of abortion because of rape/incest or if the mother’s life is in danger.
Where I find abortion to be abhorrent and completely wrong is in the case where it is used as an alternate contraceptive, or used for convenience. I think we can all agree that going out and killing Joe Schmo because he was inconveniencing us by not driving the very moment the stoplight turns green is wrong. Yeah, it was annoying and may have delayed your driving, but killing him would be murder and therefore wrong.
On the other hand, we do allow for the right to self defense, or defense of country. If a solider is in the middle of a war and kills the person actively trying to kill him, he is not at fault because he was defending himself and his country. Even as a religious person, this does not seem abhorrent.
This dichotomy is interesting to think about and has given me a cause to really think not only about WHAT I believe, but WHY I believe it. To me, the why is almost more important than the what. We get so caught up in our differences of the WHAT that we forget that often times our WHY might be pretty dang similar to the person we are arguing with. It’s okay to believe different things, it’s not okay to belittle someone for believing differently. I will say that I don’t support abortion. I believe in a woman’s choice to not engage in behavior that notoriously produces little humans. I do believe there are exceptions to the rules.
If I had the choice of risking my life or carrying a baby into this world, I would choose the life of the child over my own. My own mother made that decision with me, even though she bled throughout the entire pregnancy. She believed that my life was more important than her comfort and I am so grateful she helped me get here.
In conclusion: don’t just know what you believe, know WHY you believe it. If you don’t know, research. Figure it out. If someone believes differently, don’t attack them, ask them. I think the first step in healing the divide in today’s society is trying to understand the other side without attacking them. And to explain our side without attacking. We don’t have to agree, but we can try to understand the WHY.