A case could be made that the issue of abortion rights contains a component of convenience vs. inconvenience.
Some men do not want to be inconvenienced by taking the proper precautions themselves, or even discuss it with their partner. However, as a new father, he might find himself on the hook for child support if their sexual activities were to result in a surprise pregnancy. Even though child support would be a big consequence, that’s probably not in the forefront of his mind in the heat of the moment. Men should be more responsible, but for obvious biological reasons, women usually bear the brunt of an unwanted pregnancy.
Some women are irresponsible, too: They do not want to be inconvenienced by having to take a birth control pill every day or take other measures to avoid getting pregnant. When that inaction results in a pregnancy, they may not want to be inconvenienced by carrying that pregnancy to term.
An abortion is not like going to the doctor to get a cyst removed. It involves another human being — her potential offspring. That’s what makes it a heart-wrenching decision for most women. It’s a decision that can continue to have deep psychological ramifications long after the procedure is done. So, it’s not to be trivialized. But when all is said and done, abortion might seem to be the sensible and expedient thing for a woman to do, rather than the alternative of disrupting all her life plans and commitments, or even putting her own health in danger by carrying through with the pregnancy.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade does not make abortion illegal on the federal level, but it might necessitate traveling as much as a few hundred miles to get an abortion in a state where it’s legal. This would be an inconvenience for some pregnant women, and a real hardship for others.
However, now that the Supreme Court has turned this over to the individual states, that allows the people of each state, through their elected representatives, to make the determination and codify what the law will be in their state. For nearly half a century, people with strongly held beliefs that abortion should not be condoned by government have had little or no say in the matter.
Since the reversal of Roe in June, roughly half the states now permit abortions and half have prohibitions, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. As might be expected, some states have different views of certain situations such as rape and incest, which women give as their reason for having an abortion in only around 1% of cases, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute. The mother’s health, and fetal health concerns, account for about 7% of abortions.
So all together, those special circumstances account for about 8% of the abortions that took place under Roe.
It’s possible that many pro-life adherents would consider setting aside their objections to that 8% in favor of eliminating what they see as the more egregious 92% that are done more on an elective basis, sometimes for reasons of little more than personal convenience.
Turning this over to the states, instead of the longstanding judicial fiat by the Supreme Court, would seem to be consistent with the way things are done, or should be done, in a democracy.
For anyone who holds a religious belief, or subscribes to a higher power or other divine essence, it must give such a person pause when they consider whether the 63 million plus abortions since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision has been anything of which we, as a country, should be proud. On the other hand, my wife, for one, thinks we are doing the unborn child a favor by terminating its life and sparing it from the “terrible world” we live in, as she sees it. This is not exactly an enlivening position, but it’s the usual territory she goes to whenever abortion is discussed.
In this country, there is no shortage of examples of how we are making our own mighty contributions to this being a “terrible world.” For example:
- We have irresponsible, runaway inflation and government mandates and overreach, with petty tyrants operating unencumbered in all levels of government.
- Businesses like Big Tech and Mainstream Media with their collusion with government, censorship and other questionable activities.
- Giant pharmaceutical companies with their financially self-serving and oftentimes false and damaging proclamations.
- Direct and indirect participation in armed conflicts all over the world, largely for the financial benefit of weapons manufacturers and their investor friends in Congress.
- Interfering in the internal workings of other countries, oftentimes so we can expropriate their natural resources for our country
The list goes on.
In many ways, we are not the America we used to have good reason to be proud of. And 63 million legal abortions of innocent unborn humans really could be seen as the final defilement.
I don’t have any inside information about how all of this might be seen in the heavenly realms, but it’s not hard to imagine that we in the United States might have squandered our blessings and thereby lost our “most favored nation” status.
Robert Reilly lives in Denver.