Monday, January 30, 2017

The Choice of Abortion

Abortion means to Carry out or undergo an abortion.  Halt, stop, end or ax.  Call off, cut short, discontinue, terminate or arrest, cancel or scrub.  Bring to a premature end because of a problem or fault.  “The pilot aborted his landing”.  The word abortion is a derivative of the word abort.  Latin abortus, past participle of aboriri to miscarry, from ab- + oriri to rise, be born.

I hope we can all agree on the definition?

Even more fundamental is the act itself and the changes to our sensibilities.  In the past abortion was used primarily to assuage the desperate conditions a woman found herself after either a welcome or unwelcome encounter.  With little or no options these women found themselves as outcasts, especially those that suffered the indignity of being raped and forced to have sex.

Being pregnant and unmarried has never been a welcoming predicament, at least not in the past and the prospects for these women was very seldom positive.  It is perhaps these sensibilities that have changed.  There is a difference today in how women view the choice of abortion as opposed to the past. There is less stigma associated with the act of abortion and less negative societal impact on those women who choose to have an abortion.   

I hope we can all agree on this?

The science of pregnancy has always had some issues that were tempered by the religious or superstitious.  In the past science played a much smaller role in determining the truthful outcomes of any pregnancy, with most superstitious or religious influences driving most of the societies norms at the time.  Since science did not understand the nature of pregnancy the religious and superstitious filled in the gaps of their innate lack of understanding.  This disparity did very little to advance the current nature of our understanding leaving only the religious or superstitious any temporal understanding of the process of life.

Do we agree?

Science today has made leaps and bounds of progress in understanding more fully the process and the events that lead to birth.  Also, abortions are better understood, with the benefits of lowered risk of intervention and trauma to the mother.  These advances have created a plethora of information that all can access to some degree.  

There are, however, millions who have some difficulty accessing current, non-biased information regarding pregnancy and abortion, leaving these women reliant on the overly religious or the superstitious.  Every industrialized nation in this world shares in the current informational age, but care must be taken to inform and instruct those who do not have access, moving these women out of the dark ages of science and the overly-religious and enslaved to those antiquated ideas and philosophies into the modern age and it’s current level of enlightenment.

So far so good?

With access to the most current information and advances it is crucially important to update our own superstitions and our beliefs in order to balance our individual needs with the science and understanding available.

For example, it is important to understand the fetal development prior to deciding if an abortion is appropriate, safe and viable.  The unmistakable science indicates a clear development of a human fetus well within the 6-7th week with the brain, the lungs and the nervous system are developing.  Not totally developed but the process is well under way.  This information is important to understand in order for those who are considering an abortion to have a full knowledge of the life within.

Pseudoscience would have you believe that the early stages of gestation are nothing more than a group of cells, but according to brain waves can be detected as early as six weeks after conception.  The embryo has brainwaves by 6 weeks, 2 days!  From 6 to 6½ weeks, the cerebral vesicles will double in size.1 Individualized brain waves recorded via electroencephalogram (e-lek’tro-en-sef’a-lo-gram), or EEG, have been reported as early as 6 weeks, 2 days.”

There are differing opinions about when brain activity begins but the science indicates that brain activity is present at an early stage of development leading us to more fully understand that the development required of the fetus is much more complicated and advanced than previously thought.  

Determining life of a fetus is perhaps a question that falls within the metaphysical realm, either our science has not yet been able to answer or the answers are unavailable at this time.  I think we can all agree that science does not have all the answers.  Leaving us with the responsibility of self-determination, especially when it relates to when life starts for the fetus.  

Many believe that life starts at conception and that in order to sustain life within the womb, life must exist.  There are many others who believe that life only exists because of the supporting life of the mother and extend this belief until the time of birth.  Science does not know the answer to this and for that reason, our responsibility is to err on the side of the fetus.  

I know this is an area of great controversy and I know I do not have total agreement in relation to when life begins or in relation to our responsibility but these are essential questions that must be answered at some time in order to more fully understand our role in the lives that have been given to us to protect and nourish.  

I also understand the rights of women and the desire to protect those rights.  Nothing is more important than the right to chose, and nothing is more germane than the right to chose to have a child.  I have six girls, all at different stages of development and each has made choices to carve out their individuality.  Those choices all have consequences, some are more important than others but the right to choose is paramount to their individuality.  

Every choice we make, every single one, no matter how insignificant has consequences, good and bad and every variable in between.  We will never know the extent of how the choices we make affect our lives or those around us, but like the brush of butterflies wings, those effects can be monumental.

Choosing to abort a child is or should be a serious choice, a choice with life changing consequences.  I am not suggesting that we take that choice away, far be it for me to overstep the basic and most fundamental aspect of humanity but there is a better way, at least I think there is.

Our ability to chose is essential to life itself but when we make our choices is the determination of our humanity as opposed to innate animalistic tendencies ever a consideration?  The question that needs to be answered, are there choices that can be made prior to pregnancy or sex, and is it possible to support those options rather than the singular choice of an abortion after the fact?

Choices after the fact are by definition singular and limited, while those made prior to an event are open-ended and progressive.   The example of standing on a cliff, deciding to jump or not is a singular choice, a radical choice but singular nonetheless.  If we allow ourselves to reach the cliff and have to decide to jump or not we have forsaken the multiple choices of previous options for that singular option of life or death.

Abortion is exactly the same, albeit a more difficult choice but the choices prior to the events of pregnancy were all ignored, leaving the woman with that singular choice of abortion or not.  I propose that we, collectively consider those limitless choices prior to sex that will retain and even expand our choices in life rather than the limited and singular choice that comes as a result of forsaking the options and opportunities of prior thought and consideration.

I know this is not what many women want to hear, especially from some aging, white male who in their mind can have little understanding of the true nature of freedom when it comes to women's issues, but please consider the realm of options and how those options affect your freedoms, your rights to chose and your number of choices in relation to choices in the future.  

My six daughters are women and will be faced with the same challenges that all women have.  I respect their choices, their ability to chose and their ability to expand their choices and I want them to understand that the right choices in life are expansive and open-ended while the incorrect choices limit future opportunities and narrow their views and their future options in life.

Sex is never without consequences, nor should it be.  Women and men who are responsible, thoughtful and conscientious look at life as an opportunity to expand, progress and thrive, but the mindset of many has been toward limiting their progress and distorting their perspective of freedoms while saddling them with guilt by rationing their choices and their opportunities in life.  

We may not agree on what to do about abortion, but I think we can all agree that life is meant to be lived.  The more opportunities we have depends on the number of choices available.  Let’s all agree to expand our choices and our opportunities.  Chose for yourself but take care in what you chose….

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