The focus on "life beginning at conception", mentioned by your recent guest, is a quest to identify some starting point, some beginning that is clear. But it is not clear. There is so much life before this beginning. It is clearer to point out that a fundamental conflict exists between two absolute values for us: the rights of an individual woman and the value we place on a child--which some extend all the way to the very moment of conception.
To me, what is breathtakingly disturbing is the discounting of a wholeness of experience. It is a radical individualism that renounces human connectedness, and lives in a fantasy of ultimate independence. When will scientists design vats for raising these ideal little individuals, to grow all by themselves? Since when do children flourish without a caring mother--parents? One thinks of the Nebraska man who abandoned 9 of his 10 children after his wife died, out of sheer inability to cope. And so, I acknowledge that in cases where a natural, healthy future for both is not possible, our society will have to let the woman make her own decisions about the new life, in full knowledge that her own life will never be unconnected from the existence of this pregnancy ever again. How can the State know what will make the world whole?
If doctors are forced to allow women to die in order to bring a dangerous pregnancy to term, if women are forced to bear their rapists' children, if women struggling to live are subjected to the power of police and the state, our nation has committed abomination against life.
When people insist "life begins at conception," what exactly do they plan to do with the 15 million frozen embryos currently stored in the nation's reproductive clinics, which exist only in case the first implanted embryo doesn't work out?
And let's face it. Any laws on abortion only ban abortion for the poor. The rich will always be able to travel to get one.
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