Sunday, September 05, 2021

Why I am Pro-Choice and Pro-Life

The 5 Supreme Court Justices that upheld the Texas abortion law (Slate)
Last May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law one of nation’s strictest abortion measures, banning the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. It is interesting to note that Judaism considers a fetus less than 40 days old (i.e. after conception) to be plain water. 40 days approximates the 6 week window for legal abortion in Texas. 

Last week the Supreme Court in a 5-4 split decision - upheld the law - ruling that the plaintiffs had no standing. Which means that the constitutionality of this law could still be challenged. 

Being that I am Pro-Choice I hope that it is successfully challenged and that the Supreme Court eventually rules the Texas law unconstitutional. I believe that abortion must remain a legal medical procedure. 

And yet I find myself having more sympathy for the Pro-Life faction than I do the Pro choice faction. I find the very idea of ‘choice’ when it comes to aborting a fetus to be repugnant. In my view a healthy pregnancy should never be terminated unless there is a danger to the mother.  

One might argue that most anti abortion laws allow for such exceptions. But I don’t like the idea of requiring an exception to a law that forbids it. You can easily run into  problems and disputes about what legally constitutes an exception. To put it the way former President Clinton did, abortions should be safe, legal, and rare. Orthodox Jews should be able to have the procedure when Halacha indicates it without having to go through red tape to prove it qualifies for a legal exception. 

It might seem odd that I am Pro-Choice and yet sympathize with Pro-Lifers. 

No… I am not schizophrenic. 

I am Pro-Choice for the following reason. As it pertains to Orthodox Judaism, the complexities of the law about when to destroy a potential life is what informs my Pro-Choice perspective.  A question about whether to have an abortion must be left to a qualified Posek. Once the decision to abort is made, there should be no impediment to the procedure. If abortions are outlawed the red tape to get an exemption could delay the procedure or it may even be denied. Our exemptions and those of the government may not coincide.

On the other hand, I am completely opposed to the way legalized abortion has been used in all too many cases. The idea of an unwanted pregnancy as a reason to abort is abhorrent to me. Not wanting to have a baby is no reason to destroy a potential life. 

I don’t know how many unwanted pregnancies occur.  But I’ll bet more than a few women have chosen to abort for reasons mostly due to being pregnant at an inconvenient time in their lives. And why not take  advantage of a legal procedure  -so that they can get on with their lives as originally planned?! 

One might argue that going through with an unwanted pregnancy will make for a disastrous life for that child if he was never wanted. That may be true. But there are other options for such a child. Unwanted children should not be raised by their biological mothers. there are a lot of infertile couples that would make fine parents for such a child. Why should killing it before it is even born be an option? 

It might be true that most abortions are done for health reasons.  But I have to believe that in today’s world where sexual promiscuity is in full bloom, there are a lot of unwanted pregnancies that are terminated. 

In my view aborting an unwanted pregnancy is immoral. That is why I sympathize with the Pro-Life position – even while I support Pro-Choice as a matter of law.