Abortion is a hot topic. Yeah, okay, I get that. It makes people uncomfortable. It brings up a lot of deeper issues. It pits the so-called right to life against so-called personal freedom, and it challenges our base instincts and general perceptions. It's hard to think about abortion and not have a knee-jerk reaction: on the one hand, it is consciously and decidedly ending a life before it even has the chance to begin, for what are often seen as questionable reasons. On the other, it is a decision that epitomizes one's right to control and own their own body and life. On either side, there are clever slogans, convincing propaganda and a strong emotional appeal.
The problem is, few seem to see the bigger picture. We can (and have) argue for decades over what should have more value: an unborn baby or a woman's right to choose. We can argue over how life is defined and when it begins. We can argue over ethics and religion and politics and law. We can pit right against right, scenario against scenario, life against life -- but we all lose for doing so. Ask 10 people, ask 100, ask 1000, if they like the idea of abortion, and all will say no. No one likes the idea. No one thinks abortion is awesome, and that everyone should run out and have one today. No one sees it as a fun way to spend an afternoon. Let's be real, here. In an ideal world, all babies would be intentional and wanted, all children would have loving homes, all sex would be consensual and responsible and between emotionally invested adults. But...guess what? This is not an ideal world. People do stupid things. People do bad things. People do irresponsible things. People have sex. While we sit around, debating the ethics of abortion on the internet, in the media, and in the courts, real people are really going through these things. Real women and real men are really having to decide whether or not to bring children into the world, or end these lives before they begin. Real girls are really pregnant, and are sitting, crying somewhere, trying to decide what the hell to do.
This isn't a political issue. It isn't an ethical issue. It isn't a religious issue or a legal issue. This is as real as it gets, and we are all doing a great disservice to a great many people by minimizing it and turning it into another piece of propaganda for our cause. What we all need to do is shut the fuck up for a minute and think. We need solutions. We need to understand the whys and hows of unwanted pregnancies and do all we can to minimize them. We need better health care. We need better education. We need more access to birth control and child care. We need compassion and empathy and respect and to remember that these are real people we are discussing. These are real lives we are debating. You may think you have it all sorted, that it's an easy and obvious choice, that your particular view of things is the right one, and that the world would be a better place if people would just agree with you. And hey, maybe you're right. Maybe your God or your Prime Minister or your tarot cards have figured that shit right out, and the rest of us are just slow on the uptake. Good on ya if that happens to be the case.
I ask, implore, even, that you just pause to consider one thing. Whatever your stance on abortion, whether you be the raving blow-up-clinics variety of pro-lifer, or the raging "advertise my abortion on a t-shirt" brand of pro-choicer, or (hopefully) a saner point in-between, I beg of you to consider a third option. The option of pro-intelligent choice. The option in which everyone has access to all the information -- the good, the bad, the ugly. Where everyone knows their options, where everyone understands all the implications of keeping a child, of giving a child up for adoption, of abortion. Where questions are not shunned, where curiosity is not seen as sinful, where people are given the means to make intelligent decisions. I ask you all to consider that, rather than condemn or congratulate those who choose to have abortions, we do all we can to care for the children we have now and provide them with all the information they need to make the best decisions they can. I ask that we stop viewing sex as an ethical debate, and start seeing it for what it is: a biological desire, an emotional expression, and a natural act in which most everyone will at some point engage. We would be foolish, naive, and really, downright stupid to think we can somehow convince people not to do it until some arbitrary standard has been met. People will have sex. People will not always be smart. Accept this, move on, and be part of the solution.