Thank goodness Obama’s speech at Notre Dame is over. Now can we please stop hearing that ridiculous, misleading phrase “the debate about abortion”?
There’s no debate. Where’s the debate? Like making and selling alcoholic beverages, abortion was once illegal in this country, and now it’s not. Making it illegal didn’t work. It didn’t stop abortions from occurring. It only made them more dangerous—just as outlawing alcohol only made drinking more dangerous. (During Prohibition, thousands of people each year died or were blinded from the effects of wood alcohol.)
No one who has a lick of sense is suggesting that the Supreme Court should reverse itself and prohibit abortion again. It’s not going to happen. Get over it.
By the same token, no one—least of all President Obama—is saying that abortion is a “good” thing, either. In some cases, it may be the lesser of two evils, but it’s never a good thing. How many women do you suppose deliberately go out and get pregnant every year so they can have an abortion? Pro-choice isn’t pro-abortion. Pro-choice simply acknowledges that the decision to bear a child is a private, not a public, decision.
There are other “bad,” destructive things we allow people to do in America. Take smoking, for instance. Smoking causes illness and death to human organisms. We may not approve of people’s choosing to tar their lungs and raise their blood pressure; however, as long others don’t have to breathe the smoke, we recognize smoking as a personal, not a public, choice.
If American Catholics want to decrease the number of aborted fetuses, let them start with their own church. The antiquated, irrational opposition of the Catholic Church to contraception is probably the single biggest factor responsible for unwanted pregnancies—and, hence, for abortions—in the world.
Sure, the Pope in Rome and happily married Catholic women can say, “Unmarried girls and women shouldn’t have sex, and married couples shouldn’t limit the size of their families.” Fine. But that’s not realistic. It’s not going to happen. Get over it.
Those who, in their ignorance, protested the appearance of President Obama at Notre Dame because of his rational, common-sense position on issues related to reproduction would have been far better off spending their time and energy to support effective family planning. A contribution to Planned Parenthood—which counsels women on how to prevent unwanted pregnancies—is more likely to prevent abortion than all the marching and protesting in the world.
If Catholics and members of other conservative religions want to do something to make the world a safer place for the unborn, more of them should be engaged in a matter worth debating: whether it’s not long past time that their church changed its antiquated, destructive position on contraception—the best and most realistic method of reproductive choice.
Resolved: That abstinence from sex should not be the only option human beings have for avoiding pregnancy.
Let them debate that.