Since the 1970’s abortion has been a deeply felt political issue. Every now and then a political candidate will talk about finding a compromise on this issue, as candidate Obama did during the 2008 presidential campaign. Can there be a political compromise on abortion?
I’ve often wondered, how can their be a compromise when the two sides look at the issue so differently? One side sees it as a basic human right. The other side sees it as unjustly taking an human life. So where is room for compromise?
Last night I saw the movie, October Baby, which is a heart-moving example of the hidden human costs of the abortion choice. Go see it (if you dare)! Beyond the arguments for and against, beyond the politics of abortion, this story of a 19 year-old woman who discovers that she is an abortion survivor, gently brings the unseen pain of devastating decisions to life. It is a riveting film. At the end of the picture, everybody in the theater sat stunned through the entire credits.
This morning I woke up early with an idea for compromise in my mind. Why not treat abortion like suicide?
Suicide isn’t illegal. At least people don’t go to prison for attempted suicide. However, suicide is seen as a tragedy. Society frowns upon it and does everything it can (short of criminalizing it) to persuade people not to commit suicide and to prevent them from it.
In this compromise, the left would give up the idea of promoting abortion, treating it as a form of birth control, and playing down the pain and destruction that it causes; while the right would give up the idea of criminalizing abortion.
What kind of society would we be if we promoted suicide as the right to choose? If the act of taking their own life is something that society (out of concern, not out of judgment) tries to persuade people not to do, why not put the same emphasis on the act of taking their unborn child’s life?