I am an obstrician-gynecologist and this is my take on the abortion issue. A survey of teenage girls asked which is morally worse--to plan to have premarital sex and to have sex, or not to plan but still to have sex, and planning was worse--probably analogous to premeditated murder being morally worse than a crime of passion. But the outcome of that thought process is that girls and women who are most conflicted about their sexual behaviors are the ones most likely to get into trouble. Which may be why Catholics are actually over-represented among women and girls who choose to have abortions. In my practice, I have taken care of pregnant teens where the mother says to me "we don't believe in abortion but SHE can't have a baby." Many people who believe and vote anti-abortion clearly have some flexibility in the belief that life begins at conception. After all, if abortion were truly murder how could you make an exception for rape or incest, or even the life of the mother? You can't kill a baby who is a product of rape or incest, or because the mother needs its bone marrow for cancer treatment. Full human rights begin at birth. Through history women and girls have found themselves in situations in which abortion seemed like the only option. Where abortions are illegal, young women die from making this choice. In the 1950s and 1960s, obstetrician-gynecologists were the experts in the treatment of total body infection (sepsis) because they saw women die. I wonder whether the people who want to overturn Roe v. Wade understand that women will die because these women will still make the choice to terminate a pregnancy that is unacceptable to them. There is a difference between feeling that abortion is wrong and making it unavailable and unsafe for others. And sometimes those others turn out to be you or someone you love. I don't understand why groups who really oppose abortion don't take community actions that would actually decrease the number of abortions. Even if they don't believe in birth control, they could support mothers who choose to place their babies for adoption with places to live and free prenatal care, for example.
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