Monday, November 14, 2005

The "A" Word

Abortion has become the dirty word of American politics. Just as easily as a Democrat may cringe at its entrance into a seemingly effortless campaign, a Republican will hide from the issue when arising in any potential legislation. Abortion is no longer merely a wedge issue, but a driving force behind domestic policy in this country.

Over the weekend in The Idaho State Journal, research was cited on the topic of abortion and public opinion.

Abortion and Public Opinion
A look at the issue of abortion and public opinion:
- 1 in 4 pregnancies is terminated by abortion.
- 1/2 of pregnancies are unintended.
- 1/2 of unintended pregnancies are ended by abortion.
- 1/3 of women will have an abortion by the age of 45, at current abortion rates.
- 6 in 10 women who have an abortion are already mothers.
- More than 9 in 10 women at rick of unintended pregnancy use contraceptives.
- Nearly 1/2 of unintended pregnancies occur among the small percentage of women who don't use contraceptives.
- 6 in 10 women who have an abortion want to get pregnant in the future.
A look at the issue of abortion in the polls:
- The public opposed overturning Roe v. Wade by a more than 2-to-1 margin.
- There is broad public support for restrictions on abortion, including majorities for mandatory waiting periods, parental and spousal notification and a prohibition on late-term abortion.
- Men and women oppose overturning Roe by about equal margins.
- Younger women attach greater personal importance to abortion as an issue than do older men or women.

Source: the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

First and foremost, some women should not be mothers. There are undoubtedly children who should not come into this world at the times they do to the people they do. There are circumstances that require an abortion and circumstances that at least require the option present. Granted, abortion is not the only avenue for family planning and one that should be least used, but it should be available, something Roe provides. Until there are no longer children coming into this world under circumstances of poverty, neglect, irresponsible parenting, and abuse, in a country with a poorly funded foster care system and a even more poorly executed adoption program (whether that be church-based or not), there will always be a reason for and use for abortion.

The research suggests two objectionable things. First, by "younger women" what does the study mean? If by younger women it is suggesting 18-24 year olds, what accounts for the role of abortion and pro-life/pro-choice influence on political campaigns, domestic policy, and judicial nominations if 18-24 year old females are some of the least likely Americans to vote or participate in the political process? It is hard to believe that the attitudes of this "younger" female population have any bearing on the more traditional older generations that are in fact driving domestic policy. It may be more important and personal to younger women, but it certainly isn't far from the minds of older men and women.

Abortion is never commendable, but circumstances do require respected use. Personally, I feel that abortion is appropriate in certain circumstances. It would not be logical to ban abortion by the overturning of Roe v. Wade simply because irresponsible women use abortion as a last resort. A ban on abortion for that reason would punish other women who use abortion responsibly in cases of incest, rape, danger to their own health, and other reasonable situations. I would never support the overturning of Roe for privacy reasons and because I adamantly support a woman's right to choose.

There are women who do not deserve children. There are women who will never recognize the blessing of motherhood. There are women who should never be within one hundred feet of a child, much less have their own children. As long as there are irresponsible women not worth the air they breath, as long as there are children who live with the consequences of irresponsible mothers, and as long as there are men (from 42-87 years old in the United States Senate) legislating what a woman can or cannot do with her own body, there is reason for abortion.

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