Wednesday, August 1, 2012

You cannot have a rational conversation with a person about any of the "controversial issues" unless you either share the same underlying assumptions, or recognize that you share different assumptions, and are prepared to acknowledge this and understand that it is unlikely that either of you will be persuaded to change your mind.

Take abortion, as an example.  For one who believes that life begins at the moment of conception, then all abortion at all times and in all places are acts of murder.

Okay, I've seen what a zygote looks like.  And I've seen what a pregnant, frightened, 19-year old two month pregnant young woman who fully understood that the jerk that impregnated her would never marry her, and that once "the situation" was resolved, was the odds on favorite to leave her, and had stopped being civil to her anyway looks like.  And with the choice between unwed, single parent motherhood or college student not having to deal with motherhood issues, the not having to deal with motherhood issues option made the most sense. (But the impregnator did, in point of fact, have some thoughts about what the child would have been like, if the child would have been a son, so, there was, on some level, a pull on that young man, that rarely is acknowledged.)

And I've seen what a frightened 28-year old pregnant woman who had been raped at 16, and had an abortion looks like, and I've known that woman well enough to know that of all the very bad things that ever happened to her, the only one that produced night mares was the memory of the child that might have been.

And I've seen the 2-year old child, unwanted by his father, with a mother most ambivalent about the child's hygiene, physical health, nutrition, and early learning opportunities.

And I will never be pregnant, and I will never have to deal with the issues of single parenting, or who will provide the money to pay for the things that the child needs (some parents disown their pregnant children, I've been told; none that I've known about have: some children run away in shame or fear; some babies get left on the steps of emergency hospital rooms; some babies get left in the garbage; the mother of one newly born baby I know of either died at birth, or had his mother drown him in the toilet. None of these are issues that I will ever have to address as the mother of a new born baby. And therefore, because I cannot walk a mile in a pregnant mother's moccasins, I cannot, CANNOT, judge the mother.  And if you (as a man) want to judge the mother, condemn her for her decision to not carry the fetus to term, that is your right, but in your judging, understand this:  You will appear sub-human to me, and I will have nothing to do with you, ever again.

Which "life" has the more value?  The life of the mother?  The life of the zygote?  The life of the unborn fetus?  The abortion procedure has been known of for thousands of years.  

In American, Chief Sitting Bull, after his surrender, used to walk the streets of New York City and give money away to the urchin, unwanted children of  (one would assume) mostly poverty-condemned matings.  Sitting Bull was horrified by how the white man treated his children finding the abondonment of children to the streets of New York City to survive on their own,  most uncivilized. (Sitting Bull, of course, being a Native Born American, was also a savage, possibly a noble one, so his notions of civilized and uncivilized are suspect, no doubt.)

And this brings me to a related issue:  what do we do with "unwanted" children (either or both parents abandon the child, either physically, emotionally, or spiritually)?  If we feel that the mother must be "encouraged" (forced) into carrying the child to term and giving birth, THEN, WE AS A SOCIETY, have a moral obligation to see to it that the mother has full access to all the needed prenatal care and counseling available, and that there are emplaced means and ways to assure that the child is brought up in a loving, healthy, safe, secure, home, and nourished spiritually and intellectually, and loved, and held close, and comforted; that the child might grow into a loving, responsible, caring adult.

And, if we are not willing to make that commitment to the child (perhaps because we feel that the mother ought to bear the full consequences of he actions; to teach her a lesson, no doubt), to all the children, then we have no right to condemn that child to a potential life of hell on earth; to a potential life of poverty; to a potential life of misery, then we are in fact far more cruel and sadistic in our elective indifference than are any of the ones who made the very difficult decision to abort before this came to pass.

And if we think we ALWAYS know the motives of those who abort, well, better to think again.  It is rude, uncouth, and uncivilized to impute motive.  Until we have lived each and every second the life of another human being, we cannot begin to fathom their experiences nor their responses to their experiences.  And we must remember the admonition: "Judge not, lest ye be judged."