Mary McKay

Give credit to the Republicans who have had the courage to embarrass their party and lose recent elections by sticking to the true pro-life position.

Losing candidates like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock and others have made clear that it is not OK to terminate pregnancies, even in the cases of rape or incest.  Their position is based on the belief that life begins with a fertilized egg that must be allowed to develop into a baby.  If this is a fact with no gray areas, there should be no exceptions.  The circumstances under which that egg was fertilized should be irrelevant. 

Making exceptions devalues the humanity of that fertilized egg and makes offensive moral judgments about the woman: (Was she "legitimately" raped?  Did she say "no" firmly enough?  Did she really have sex with her father or is she lying?) Those who are open to "exceptions" of any kind are saying some babies are worth saving, and others are not, based on political expediency. That, from my perspective, is evil. 

As Victoria Toensing mentions in a recent column ("Pro-choice Republicans have a place in the party," Washington Post, 11/29/2012), More than a few "pro-life" Republicans admit they take this political tactic, and some pro-lifers develop quite different positions when the situation applies to themselves, or their sisters, daughters or girlfriends.  When pro-life people remain so even-faced with an election loss, or worse, a devastating situation in their own families, I admire them their devotion to hardfast principle, while disagreeing that this is an issue for anyone but those involved in and most affected by the situation. 

I hate abortion. I also hate the idea of government (or any bureaucratic institution)  dictating reproductive decisions for individuals.  Legal or not, abortion has always been (and will always be) the desperate solution for women in a desperate situation.  Will it remain safe and legal?  Who's responsible to pay for it?  Does anyone but the woman have an interest in if and at what point in the pregnancy, she can make this decision? How can we lower the incidence of abortion without government interference in private decisions? These are the only questions that should concern us. 

Regardless of political party, the majority in this country recognize it is a complex issue that varies from case to case.  They recognize that nations should not dictate these decisions:  if a government can tell you that you can't have an abortion, a government can tell you that you must have an abortion.  We don't want to live under China's one-child policy, nor do we want to be told that our birthrate is so low young women had better start having more babies and lots of them ("U.S. birthrate plummets to lowest level since 1920," Washington Post 11/29/2012). 

I fear that in some post-apocalyptic, dystopian future, such things could become matters of national interest and security, but in this point in time, conservatives and liberals alike could look at this issue from the perspective of our historical tradition to value freedom for sentient individuals to create their own destinies.