Recently, I inadvertently became
involved in a discussion about President Bush and Sen. John
Kerry’s stances on abortion. In the liberal bubble that is
Ann Arbor, I had never had a first-hand discourse about when life
begins and what that means to some people. I was mostly surprised
with the conversation because even though I continue to believe in
legal abortions, I found myself agreeing with many of the points
against the practice.
My support for legal abortions is predicated on the medical
necessity of the procedure. Doctors and their patients should be
able to terminate a pregnancy if it places the mother in jeopardy.
The dangers of making abortions illegal are apparent in areas where
abortions are not legal. Women are forced to undergo unsafe and
unregulated procedures, which can lead to death or other serious
During our conversation, the anti-abortion, pro-Bush voter
mentioned that his beliefs are based on his Christian values,
because he believes that all life is a gift from God. While I can
respect his convictions, exceptions to the rule must exist.
I do not comprehend any God who would will someone to be raped
and then forced to raise a child conceived in that encounter. My
own personal beliefs cannot rationalize the presence of an
omnipresent being when there are so many ills in the world;
however, I recognize that many people feel differently.
My convictions regarding legal abortions were strengthened when
one of my friends was raped and became pregnant. She did not choose
to have intercourse. She did not incite the act. She is a victim of
a very brutal and unbelievably heinous act. I cannot understand the
hate one must feel in order to justify raping someone. In a society
which it is more common for people to ask if the girl was
“asking for it” than to condemn the act, my friend
cannot tell her family, much less authorities, about the rape
because of the repercussions she can expect from the community.
Understandably, people are undecided about their stance on
abortion. However, I question the justification for forcing a woman
who was raped to have the child. Though the topic is polarizing for
some, many people do not believe either side is completely
accurate. This second-guessing will continue regardless of what the
U.S. Supreme Court rules (those who complain about this should
remember their own whining after Bush v. Gore in 2000).
The nature of the choice to have an abortion is much more
personal than can be dictated by such rules. I do not know when
life begins and know that even if I did, I do not have the
authority to dictate my beliefs on someone else.
I believe abortions are a necessity. As doctors in Africa and
India, my parents saw the desperate circumstances in which children
are raised. If the child and his family are going to lead a
miserable life with little opportunities, is it fair to bring that
child into a world of poverty and misfortune?
That so few people are willing to discuss abortions in a
rational manner offends me. I have not yet solidified my
convictions, and sometimes find myself swaying on them. My
objection to this national discussion is that so few people with
moderate views are heard; similarly, few people who oppose abortion
are heard on this campus.
A couple of years ago, during a discussion, a right-leaning
speaker stormed out of the room because he said the discourse at
which he was a guest was “mental masturbation.” He was
correct in his assessment that in a room full of like-minded
people, there is little dissent and little argument. I do not
appreciate dumbing down issues to a right/left spectrum: I agree
with Jon Stewart that the country’s debate has devolved to a
shouting match to see who can be loudest about their point and that
as Stewart put it, “It’s not so much that it’s
bad, as it’s hurting America.” However, that we are so
limited in our discussions at the University to include opposing
viewpoints is an example of said self-gratifying mental