I am a man, one who is weighing in on the issue of a woman’s right to her own body. Preposterous? Yes. Invalid? I don’t think so. My lack of understanding as a man is all the more reason why I understand. Here’s the thing: I will not undergo nine months of pregnancy. I will not experience the extreme pain of childbirth or face the realistic possibilities of injury and death that come from it. I will never fathom the consuming fear manifested by accidental or unwarranted pregnancy. My voice has weight and my opinions hold value, but who am I to decide for a woman about whether she should birth a child or not?
I am merely an observer with an opinion, one who defines pro-life as meaning more than just respecting life, but also respecting its essence and enrichment. Current pro-life perspectives focus on life only in terms of birth and death, neglecting everything in between. Unexpectedly having a child can derail a woman’s life, and in many situations it can frame a life without health or happiness for the child. Sure, there are many women who avoided abortion and were blessed with prosperous and blissful children. However, one woman’s luck can just as easily be another woman’s burden. The reality of having an unplanned child under unfavorable circumstances is not optimistic and could rip apart the “everything in between” of life for both the woman and the potential child.
I am a moral person, one who personally does not support the practice of abortion but understands its necessity and respects those who choose that option. When pro-life advocates label those who are pro-choice as murderers or immoral, they fail to recognize that the pro-choice camp does not promote abortion. The pro-choice argument simply holds that certain circumstances require the option of abortion to be open and because these circumstances exist, a woman’s right to a safe abortion must be protected to the deepest extent of the law. The immorality in this debate doesn’t lie in the definition of life. The immorality lies in forcing an existing life to take on the crushing responsibility of bearing and nurturing another when the former is not wholly prepared to do so. How moral is it to force women to carry out their pregnancies unwillingly and then to punish them further by eliminating the options and resources that may stabilize their situations? If pro-life advocates preach morality, then they can fulfill their morality by not having abortions. However, they breach their own morality and the lawful rights of others when they try to change the law to reflect their views. If you decide against abortion, that is perfectly acceptable, but you must allow others to come to their own decision without a legal or social restriction on their options.
I am a brother and a friend, one whose sister and best friend are women who may not be able to defend themselves against certain evils in this world. My sister is working a full-time job while attending graduate school. My best friend just started her first year at college. With the possibility of assault, rape and accidental pregnancy being all too real, I cannot accept them facing such risks in the midst of some of the best and most influential years of their lives without a safety net. They have plans for their futures, and an unplanned pregnancy will not only drastically hinder those plans, but could also trigger haunting psychological effects.
Some people argue that children from an unwanted pregnancy can grow up to be one of the greatest joys in the lives of their loved ones. However, if the situation were ever to arise, I would not hesitate to trade that potential joy for my sister or best friend not to experience the gripping anxiety trying to plan for an accidental pregnancy. On a larger scale, it may seem selfish of me to only care about the future, well-being and happiness of them. However, isn’t that the point? Shouldn’t we be taking care of our sisters, friends and all the women in our lives? If so, why deprive them of a safety net and strip away their options, while preventing them from making the decision that is best for each of them? Why condemn women for doing what is best for themselves and their futures?
I support life, as well as all the choices along the way that make life as great as it can be. For everything that I am, I am certainly not in the position to stop others from making choices that let them live the life they wish to live.
Lam Nguyen in a sophomore in the College. But I Digress appears every other Friday.
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