Before I tell you my plan to end all abortions, a few disclaimers and disclosures:
First, I am pro-choice. That might sound weird given the headline, but pro-choice does not necessarily mean one is pro-abortion. It only refers to the choice being left up to the individual, and since I am a firm believer in self-determination, I have to remain consistent. This is kind of like being a state’s rights advocate, only on a smaller, more personal level.
Besides, I am male and cannot have an abortion no matter how hard I try.
And one more thing – I can easily envision being in a position where a very personal decision about having a child is threatened by others – because I’ve been in that position.
When we were first married, we assumed we’d have kids. In the early Seventies most young couples undoubtedly felt the same way. I knew couples who never discussed the issue and had kids “by surprise.” I knew couples who never discussed the issue and found themselves “with child” and had an abortion. I’ve also known single women who either had the baby or had an abortion, again, with some thinking about the process ahead of time, and others being caught “by surprise.”
As time went on and the Seventies gave way to 1980, the world was a different place than when we married, and we had talked about whether or not to have children on and off for almost five years. We finally had a very long talk (over a 3-day weekend) and came to a decision that we knew would be very unpopular with our families (and others), and so, one day, we drove off to the local Planned Parenthood clinic to do the deed.
And I got a vasectomy.
The choice for us was to make permanent the decision not to have children, and we could have done either a vasectomy or Mona could have a tubal ligation. My operation was easier, safer, and cheaper. That was important for us back in 1980. So we did it and didn’t tell anyone, and we’ve not regretted the decision at all.
But back to my idea about ending abortion.
You should know that I don’t think we can end ALL abortions. Very few things are ever completely eradicated…oh sure, we’ve seen a lot of plant and animal species go extinct, but as far as human behaviors, we have a lousy track record in completely eliminating those behaviors we find to be distasteful, dangerous, against our beliefs, etc. Drinking, smoking, drugs, gambling, prostitution…you name it…we can reduce but we can’t abolish. Making it illegal just drives the activity underground. So let’s not even try for zero, OK?
And no, litigation isn’t the answer. We’ve made abortion illegal in the past, and all it does is change an abortion from “safe and legal” to “unsafe and illegal.” Abortions still occurred. Worse, some folks with the wherewithal can leave the country and get an abortion in places where it is safe and legal, leaving (once again) those who are less fortunate to go underground to obtain an abortion.
So let’s reduce the number of abortions. Here’s how – every abortion starts with the same basic premise – a pregnancy. If we reduce the number of pregnancies, we can statistically assume that we will reduce the number of abortions. Another factor – women who are pregnant and want to have a baby usually don’t have abortions. It’s only women who are NOT ready, able, or willing to have a child that fall into the “abortion” column. So, if we can attempt to make more pregnancies the kind where the woman WANTS to be pregnant at that point in time and fewer (or dare I say, “none”) where the pregnancy IS NOT preferred, this would have a profound effect on the number of abortions performed.
If women (and couples) could actually PLAN their sexual reproduction outcomes – I want to be pregnant or I don’t want to – you know, kind of a “planned parenthood” of sorts – that would go a long way in reducing abortions. Education for both young women and men (actually, both genders both young and old of a fertile age) is the key. Access to pregnancy prevention techniques – for woman AND for men – is another important step. By increasing education about this most important life activity (sex and its consequences) and increasing access to the tools needed to PLAN properly, we can go a long way in reducing abortions.
Now, here’s the funny thing. Many of the same people who are anti-abortion are also
- anti-sex-education, and
That makes no sense. That’s like wanting fire prevention and restricting access to water, hoses, sand buckets, and not teaching people about how fire starts.
If you really don’t want abortions, you really DO need to help people find ways not to become pregnant when they don’t want to become pregnant. No pregnancy? No abortion?
What’s that, you say? Abstaining from sex also prevents pregnancies? True enough, but like in a previous paragraph above, I argued that we have a lousy track record in behavior modification. Telling someone else “don’t have sex” doesn’t seem like a very well-thought-out method, and indeed, so many studies have been done to show that “abstinence-only education” is a complete failure that I wonder why it’s even discussed anymore.
But I will humor you a bit – “just don’t have sex” is a great idea. And you know what else is also a great idea? Leadership. The old saying “do as I say, not as I do” means that DOING is much better that SAYING. Leadership. Show the way. Let’s see how it’s done.
In other words – when it comes to the idea of “just don’t have sex” –
Or maybe make this guy be first: