Although I am not a lawyer, I come from a family of them, and have always been struck by the difference between what's legal/illegal versus what's right/wrong.
I am old enough to know the fear experienced by someone who thought she might need to terminate a pregnancy as she contemplated the possibility of a dangerous, unsanitary, and unsupervised medical procedure which might in and of itself endanger her life. Based in part on that experience, I strongly believe that the safe medical procedure should be available within the normal medical system.
This is to say that abortion, as a medical procedure, should be legal, i.e., the society should not erect barriers to prevent it absent some clear legal consideration. And as with all legal matters, the court system exists to protect the rights of those impacted by the law.
The moral question is something else.
Whether or not to have an abortion is a question I will never face personally, but I cannot imagine a more personal kind of decision to make. This is a moral decision. Surely a moral decision has to be made by the person involved. Arguing that life has or has not begun with respect to the fetus is a consideration, but it is one of many. I do not see how someone else's version of morality can control my own. It may inform or influence it. I may or may not want to hear the opinions of others. But in the end, I must make my own moral decisions and accept the consequences.
What I see too often is persons of good conscience who hold a particular moral position for themselves seeking to impose their morality on others by means of the legal system. That is bad law and unjust morality. In our society, people are free to express their opinions so long as they do not interfere with the rights of others. They are not free to impose their moral positions on anyone else.
It would perhaps help for people to read Jon Meacham's "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation." It helps to understand what was intended. History may provide a useful bridge to understanding.
More information about text formats