by Rebecca Downs
While I have only recently been able to admit, and proudly, that I am pro-life without exception, I think in my heart I have always felt this way. The pro-life position was an automatic position to me and so when I first had a conversation about abortion when I was 12 with my grandfather, also pro-life, and then a debate with friends who did not feel the same way, I really spoke from the heart. What about the hard-cases though? While I didn’t think abortion was acceptable even in cases of rape or incest, I felt somewhat uncomfortable arguing about it. But then I noticed that others were brave enough to argue that even though a child may be conceived out of a horrific situation such as rape or incest, that child is no less deserving of the right to life.
Arguments will also come up where people ask what about fetal abnormalities. Besides the fact that a child with a fetal abnormality is no less deserving of the right to life, as is a child conceived out of rape, I would always feel drawn to the argument that surely doctors can’t be right every single time? Wouldn’t it be awful to abort a child you thought was disabled in some way only to somehow later find out he or she was not? I also felt the same about cases which claimed to be for the health of the mother.
What about the hardest case of all though, the life of the mother? I am not proud to say that this was one of the hard-cases I conceded on. It made me feel uncomfortable but I wanted to be about equal rights for mother and child and I worried that if I refused to support abortion in such a case I would be putting the rights of the child above those of the mother. I also knew other dedicated pro-lifers who felt the same way. While I would rather die than have my child aborted, that didn’t mean everyone felt the same way. And then I read about the Dublin Declaration from Live Action News and I felt a huge weight was lifted.
For those of you who don’t know, the Dublin Declaration was signed by a group of experts and states “…that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.” Notice that they refer to “direct abortion.” Also stated is “…that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.” Doctors will still have an obligation to uphold the life of the pregnant mother, but as the statement explains, any treatment which may save the mother but cause the death of the child is unintended and tragic. That in no way is an abortion, for when an abortion is performed the one intention is to kill that child. Kate Bryan did a piece which also explains this point further.
I was so relieved to hear about the Dublin Declaration because experts were confirming what, as I stated earlier, I always felt in my heart to be true. Besides, it just felt so wrong to say that I supported abortion, at all. And, if I conceded on one exception, those debating me would have ammunition with such a concession. What was to stop them from trying to get me to concede on health of the mother, or fetal abnormalities, or rape? If they ever got me on those cases, they might as well try to convince me that I was pro-choice because socioeconomic reasons for having an abortion would be acceptable as well. And make no mistake. Abortions are performed almost always for socioeconomic reasons, at a whopping 93%. So when people try to gin up support for legalized abortion based on these so-called cases, it’s for such a small percentage.
Now, for those of us who are pro-life without exception, we are in the minority. A Gallup poll from May 2013 shows that only 20 percent think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Just because we don’t have the agreement of 80 percent does not mean that we are wrong though. Let’s still be strong and proud for our beliefs though, because we know that we stand for the truth and that we are at least consistent with our beliefs.
As the Gallup numbers show us, there are many who do not agree with us on our pro-life position. Sometimes, they don’t agree at all. The truth of the matter is that we have to work together with such people in the political process, whether it is by choosing from the same candidates or voting on the same pieces of legislation as public officials. Sometimes we are going to have to make compromises. I hope to be a politician someday and I do believe I will have the courage to run as an elected official who is pro-life without exception. If given the opportunity though, I would gladly vote for legislation that is pro-life, but with exception. I prefer voting for legislation without any exceptions, but sometimes the need for compromise brings us to a different place than where we would like to be. I don’t see it as compromising to myself though, but with others who disagree but who could come to a common ground in some area. And I would be happy to say I was a part of saving any amount of children from abortion.
I’m sure you worry about one of the issues I worried about as being pro-life without exception. I thought people would find my view to be radical, or extreme, or crazy. I thought friends would feel this way about me. Well, I do have friends who disagree with me, but they do so respectfully. There were people who I thought were my friends but considering they abandoned me for my beliefs, they weren’t really friends then. I don’t need to please such people, and neither do you. It’s more important to please my 100 percent pro-life conscience without exception.