Truth be told, I still cannot fly the "baby murderer" banner over my memory of any of those young women, but I no longer find abortion morally ambivalent. Rather, it is a decision that puts the interests of one human being over another. Furthermore, it does not exist in the abstract of philosophy classes; it terminates an actually beating heart, leaves unopened eyes closed forever and brutally cuts short the unchartered future of an unwanted child.
Of course, organizations like the National Organization for Women prefer to keep some distance from the concrete realities of abortion by swaddling them in kinder words like "family planning," to which no one can possibly object, but the reality is this "choice" corrects what was "unplanned" by killing a fetus. Preserving the right to have an abortion is a major plank in the Democratic Party's national platform, so it is important to examine how mainstream Democrats frame the issue.
Hillary Clinton has long been a powerhouse in Washington. On Jan. 22, 1999, she addressed NARAL - a powerful lobby group that supports abortion - and said the goal of pro-choicers is to keep abortion "safe, legal and rare into the next century." This has remained the main talking point of the left: safe, legal and rare.
The problem with this position is a simple one. To make abortion acceptable at all, one must make it morally ambivalent. One must talk about life not beginning at conception. One must say that it's only tissue growing in a woman's womb rather than a person. One might even be more radical like bioethics professor Peter Singer of Princeton, who argues that even a newborn is not intellectually aware and thus cannot be considered a human being.
Per his logic, there is nothing immoral about making the choice to leave an undesirable baby in a dumpster. Certainly there is no problem with killing a baby that has survived a late-term abortion. (Apparently he's not all that up on the mentally-disabled either.)
If abortion is made to be/feel/exist on the same level as a medical procedure to get one's teeth cleaned, there is little societal impetus to keep it "rare." If a child is the same thing as a wart or mole or other such undesirable whatnot, there is no intellectual processing of the damage that is inflicted on the child. There is no question of moral or ethics put into practice at all but a self-centric sense of self-preservation that dismisses personal responsibility completely. While Mother Teresa insisted, "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish," the entire pro-choice mindset dismisses that any child has died at all.
Therefore it should not be shocking to learn exactly what we have reaped on the ideology the pro-choice movement has sown. After almost four decades of legalized abortion, in New York City an average of 90,000 children are aborted every year. According to the New York Times (Jan. 6), this is 40 percent of all pregnancies. The city's health department's records show close to 60 percent of all babies terminated are from minority communities. One wonders how all this "choice" has impacted the notion of family, the sanctity of human life, and the dignity of the American woman.
Ultimately, individual Americans must decide how they feel about the abortion issue. With data available from almost 40 years since Roe vs. Wade, the New York Times chose to publish the story about New York City's abortion rates in relation to how the Catholic community is reacting, but I would put forth that one doesn't need religion to consider the impact of what estimates equate to the loss of almost 10 percent of the American population in my lifetime. Those numbers are staggering. The goal to keep abortion "rare" has failed miserably, so I would call those men and women - including firm "pro-choice" leaders like Hillary Clinton - to give due diligence to the moral and ethical questions surrounding abortion that have been ignored or buried.
In light of a failing economy, social issues do not rule the political discourse of today. However, some facts and figures simply cannot go by without comment.
Barbara Donnelly Lane is a writer living in east Cobb who has contributed to the Marietta Daily Journal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and BBC. She is working on her master's in teaching at Georgia State University.