Saturday, February 04, 2006

I Wonder Which Blog That Could Be

The abortion smackdown continues:

Back to the issue of abortion. On one blog, our exchange is labeled: Is Abortion Icky? I think that expresses rather well how lots of people feel about abortion: They may not find it immoral or want to see it made illegal, but it disturbs them. It just seems like a bad thing. ("Icky" is an interesting word choice too—that messy female body!). In my last post, I tried to get at the difference between emotion and morality—and no, I don't think it is a moral reflection if you feel sad because, say, you have all the children you want or can handle, but having an abortion makes you realize you are closing a door. Another woman, in exactly the same circumstances might feel quite differently: She might feel, "Oh Heck, just when I was getting my life back on track!" Similarly, feeling that you've "messed up" is not about morality, either. It's about feeling you haven't taken good care of yourself, that you were careless or reckless. You, Will, seem to be saying that a woman owes something to the potential person—not enough to force her to keep the pregnancy, but something. If she feels bad, it's because she recognizes that she is defaulting on an obligation. I don't think that obligation exists. Because there is no person there for her to have an obligation to. There is the seed of a person, and maybe the idea in her mind of a person. But right now, when she misses her period and takes the home pregnancy test, she is the only person at stake. And the moral thing is for her choose what's best for that person, herself.

Nobody else seems to talk this way, so let me be the one to say it: Legal abortion is a good thing, and not just because it prevents illegal operations. Without abortion, women would be less healthy, less educated, less able to realize their gifts and talents, less able to choose their mates; children would be cared for worse and provided for less well; sex would be blighted by fear of pregnancy, as it used to be back in the good old days; families would be even more screwed up than they already are; there would be more single mothers who can't cope, more divorce, more poverty, and more unhappy people feeling sandbagged by circumstance. We hear a lot now about regret and sorrow, and I know some women who have abortions feel that way, but we don't hear about the regrets and sorrow women feel who went ahead and had the baby, and we don't hear much from women who are just completely relieved and thankful that the clinic was there for them and they can get on with their lives—lives that are good and moral.