I have said several times in this journal that I’m not completely conservative or completely liberal, but that I lean slightly to the right. I have also implied that there are several issues in which my position falls sharply to the left.
A news story tonight gives me the opportunity — and frankly, the encouragement — to talk about one of those liberal positions of mine: abortion. And I’ll try not to go on too big of a tirade here.
First, a clarification of terms. I do not like the term “Pro-Life.” It’s a stupid term. No one is “Pro-Death,” because even those who support abortions aren’t out to kill every fetus with which they come in contact; they merely think that people should have the right to decide for themselves which is the right step for them in their own given situation. The term “Pro-Life” gives an unfair image to those who are against abortion because it sounds admirable, if a little lofty. I don’t have as much of a problem with the term “Pro-Choice,” since choice is really what this issue is about. I shall therefore refer to the abortion opponents in this piece as “Anti-Choicers.” (Gee, that sounds patently Un-American, somehow, doesn’t it? Now, perhaps, abortion opponents are getting a sense at what those at the other end of the “Pro-Life” tag feel like!)
On to the news story: A local group (I have no idea what the group’s name is, if it even has one) decided to stage a public protest of abortion. It’s America…they have every right to do so. I have no problem with that. But this group decided to take it to the extreme for shock value, something with which I always have a problem, no matter what the cause happens to be.
Rather than the traditional placards warning that God doesn’t approve of abortion, or even the less-Christian “Death to Abortion Doctors” messages (which have always seemed to me to be an “Anti-Life” position!!), these protesters came equipped with giant signs, five feet high, with horrific pictures of aborted fetuses, including ghastly images of tiny body parts. In the spirit of spreading their gospel-like message of what is right, they parked themselves along side a major thoroughfare at rush hour.
So there they stood, exposing drivers — and worse, the children of drivers who happened to be in the car at such an unfortunate time — a delightful view just before their dinner.
Naturally, tempers were riled by some of the images. A reporter asked one of the protesters about using those images in a public forum where kids could see them. “Do you think it’s appropriate for young children to see those images?” The protester was indignant: “That’s just a cop-out…with what kids see on television today?!? Give me a break.”
No, please, give me a break!!
So they want to protest to protect children from being aborted, but they’re willing to expose children to horrific images under the auspices of the old line, “well this is nothing compared to what they already see on television!” If they have a problem with the way “society” and “the media” is pandering to the lowest common denominator — and if you ask them outside of such a protest whether they do, all will say they do — they shouldn’t hide behind the actions of the “problematic” media they would otherwise condemn as an excuse to add more to the giant “heap” of inappropriate images to which young children are “already” exposed.
To put it another way, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong.
In a sense, the “truth” about abortions needs to be discussed. But abortion needs to be discussed, like everything else, in the appropriate context. Sex education classes — don’t they still have those?? — would be an excellent example. Kids there are at least of age to deal with the subject matter and they’re in a setting that allows them to learn and process what they’re seeing. These “Anti-Choicers” are not only out to remove your right to decide whether you would have an abortion; they’re also out to remove your choice as a parent as to whether or not you want your child exposed to such material. The television the protester mentioned as a conduit for inappropriate images can always be turned off by a parent. These people make that impossible.
My view is that abortion is sometimes the right choice. There are, very often, other choices that are sometimes more right than abortion. But I happen to be of the opinion that a couple should have the right to make their own decision…a right as unwavering as the protesters have to make their feelings heard.
My real wish here, after seeing this news story, is that those who face the decision of abortion act more responsibly than those “Anti-Choicers” did today.