Just the title grabs a lot of attention. This is probably the most contentious political element in U.S. history. Why? Because it’s not just political — it’s social, religious, medical, AND political. Any discussion today about abortion promises to always be contentious. The only other topic that draws similar reaction has been the death penalty, and its attention is dwarfed by that of abortion.
I could spend much time to point out historical events and benchmarks in the life of abortion, but we have all heard every
argument from the Pro Life and Pro Choice sides so often we can regurgitate them without thinking. Doing so has provided no answers, no relief for anyone caught up in the horrible situations that result in abortions, and certainly provided no answers to the only question that matters: When does life begin? If we knew beyond any doubt when life begins, we could make objective decisions based on facts rather than circumstantial emotions which continue to drive every aspect of the abortion culture.
And this is not just an American thing. Abortions were part of life long before there even was a United States. And though the calendar has been different, the nationalities have been different, the languages have been different, the circumstances around abortion have never changed no matter when or where they happen. It always involves at least two people and the creation that is a result of what occurred between those two. That part of the process never changes.
So what else is there to talk about that has not been hashed and re-hashed ad nauseum? There is one important factor that has been left out of the conversation about abortion. It is not a Pro Life or Pro Choice item. It does not damn those who choose abortion as their option or those who choose pregnancy. It is not about the vitriolic cries that often result in violence in the public square.
How many times have you faced circumstances that force you to make a choice? And the choice is between two or more really important things to you, and your choice will make a major impact on your life and the lives of others. You make that choice. Things may work out OK after that choice. But in time, you find yourself asking the question: “What if?” A high school athlete who is pretty good on the baseball or softball field, the basketball or tennis court, the football or soccer field, receives an offer of a college scholarship to take their proficiency in their sport to the next level. They may choose to go, or they may choose no to. The “what if” can (and will) happen with either choice. If they choose to go play, at some point they will pause, thinking about what their life would be like if they had NOT gone to play ball in college and had pursued a law degree instead (or some other choice). If they chose to pursue the law degree and rejected playing ball in college, they’ll eventually wonder what their life would have been had they chosen to play ball instead. Maybe they passed on the NBA, Major League Baseball, the WNBA, or professional tennis. Who knows?
Forget athletics. Most people travel the road of looking for and (hopefully) finding a life partner — a soul mate. In that process, most get involved in relationships with several different people. Most eventually narrow that search to one and form a lifetime relationship. Unless you are wired different than most, at some point you will look back at your “young adult” relationships and wonder, “What if I had married Joe instead of Bill? What would my life be like now?”
The answer to all these “what ifs” is the same: we will never know for certain what life on a different path would have been. But we will always wonder. It stands to reason that “if” we had made different choices, circumstances would logically be different. In most cases when confronted with making those choices, we have no idea what the life consequences of our choices will be. We know there always WILL be consequences. We simply hope those outcomes confirm we made the right choices.
In this conversation, there also is a “what if” that needs to be considered. Science someday will almost certainly prove when life actually begins. When that happens, scientific findings may make no difference to some. But to others those findings will be devastating. In this conversation, missing is the consideration of “what if” our World was totally without abortions. What would life look like? There would be millions of humans who would have lived normal lives and created generations of others. There would be more physically and mentally handicapped people who would have via their handicaps at birth required mountainous amounts of money and time for their care that always come with emotional, physical, and mental challenges for their care givers. The lives of those who would have interacted with them would have likely been different.
We had an unplanned and unexpected pregnancy in the 70’s when abortion was rampant. And we gave serious thought to going that direction. We were young and active, just out of college and just getting started. We wanted children, but not right then. We decided against termination. Please indulge my “what if” for a moment:
“What If”‘ we had chosen abortion? There would be 4 grandsons I would not know, one of which I watched as a junior in high school pitch in his team’s first district baseball game of the season last Saturday. I would not be able to watch he and his next youngest brother play together on their high school football team that will be looking for their 15th State Championship in the Fall. (They won their 14th State High School championship last year) I would not know their 11 year old brother who is already becoming an accomplished pianist and song writer. Nor would I know their “little” brother, who at 8 years old is the most active, most outgoing and happy young man I’ve ever known, and is already a phenomenal athlete. I would have not known their Mom who is one of the most amazing women alive today. She is brilliant, focused, hard working, hopelessly devoted to her family, and is the loving glue that holds our extended family together, plans every function and is an organizational and artistic genius. One other “what if” is probably the most sobering: we would be buried in the guilt of knowing we missed all of these people that would have been our descendants because we chose abortion. My “what ifs” are a bit scary. Think for a moment about yours.
To finish this conversation, here is the Roe v. Wade “what if” question for the ages: what if we find out someday that life really DOES begins at conception?