Well, I thought I could ignore this issue, one so heavily laden with emotion that it makes rational discussion difficult, but Friday's decision by the Trump/McConnell-packed Supreme Court has forced my hand.
The title of the post poses the question: is it possible to be both pro-choice and anti-abortion at the same time?
The answer from this corner is "yes".
I believe it's a reasonable stance—i.e., we as a people don't have an unlimited right to tell women what to do with their bodies, but as individuals we can choose not to have, or to be an active participant in an abortion.
When I use the phrase "unlimited right", I'm positing that we the people do have some rights in the matter—specifically, to limit the right to abortion at the point the fetus is able to survive outside the womb—the so-called "viability" standard that was correctly used in the original Roe decision.
The point of viability, in my and other's opinion, is also the point at which a fetus gains "personhood", with the resulting legal right to be protected from harm.
Abortion opponents argue that human life begins at the point of conception—when a sperm successfully joins with an egg. The result is a zygote—a single celled organism. While one may rightly claim that a zygote is a "form of human life", it's difficult for me to understand how a single celled organism can ever be thought of as a person.
Webster (not that a dictionary should be the final arbiter in the matter) defines person as "- the body of a human being…also…the personality of a human being".
It seems to me that a single celled organism, even if appropriately categorized as a "form of human life", in no way meets this definition. But a fetus that, after 20 – 24 weeks, has matured into a complex, bodily form that can survive outside the womb, does. That is the point at which the state acquires a reasonable right to intervene to protect the life of this "person" from harm.
Conversely, before the point of viability, before the zygote/fetus has reached "personhood", it's clear that the only one who should have the right to decide what happens to this immature form of life is the woman within whose body it resides. It is her decision, and her decision alone.
This past Friday four men, and a woman who belongs to a cult-like, Catholic religious community, cherry-picked a series of historical references to justify overturning what had been the law of the land for nearly 50 years—and take away the right of a woman to decide what happens inside her own body.
And it won't stop here.
One of these men boldly stated that this ill-formed opinion is only the beginning. He announced that, if he has his way, all the rights to privacy in our sexual lives will be the next to fall. Your right to marry someone of your choosing, married couples' right to use birth control to decide when or if to have children, and the right to have private, consensual sexual relations with anyone you choose, may soon be gone.
And all because of a far right Supreme Court that is woefully out of step with the majority of citizens of these United States.
As always, thanks for reading this far.