Here are some random thoughts regarding abortions, that very controversial and “front-page” subject sparked by the inevitable reference to it by Larry King and one of his callers last night. Like too many social problems – like obesity, etc. this problem is dumped in the lap of medicine when the “man on the street”, who creates the problem, should (re)solve it.
First of all, the most basic principle is the simple fact that apart from one’s belief in God there is no problem. The Superior Court said long ago that without “religion”, morals are relative – see infanticide, polygamy, theft, etc in non-Christian cultures. Larry King was inconsistent (and betrayed his Jewish roots) when he said last night that abortion is a moral question. The pro-choice person, if consistent, says it is NOT, anymore than the removal of a foreign tissue (appendix, tumor, gallbladder) from the body. Add the whole hassle about viability (trimester one, two, three) is all as to the question of when does “it” cease to be tissue and become a human being. In short, apart from “common grace” (general, universal, non-saving) it is a marvel that any non-Christians are pro-life; pro-choice is more objective, scientific, nonjudgmental.
The second big principle is that this (big) question should never exist in isolation. Bob Dole was dead right when he said regarding the shrill “abortionist” on the phone last night that he can respect “either side” if they don’t make that single issue (apart from smoking, “environment”, war, Russia, lend-lease, the deficit) a litmus test of good citizenship and qualification for government.
What is it (immediately) a (small) part of? The whole matter of reproduction or birth control. Any fool knows that family planning exists and possibly should for a number of reasons. Then comes the important question as to how such “control”, family planning should be done. And that is the very point at which self-control, real planning, non-gratification, (all of which are lost “arts” in this permissive, instant this-and-that, human “rights” society) should be practiced. “Choice” should be exercised as to intercourse and its “methods”. That’s where C. Everett Koop made enemies amongst pro-lifers, by talking condoms, etc.
I think that what I (and Koop) are saying is that what good medicine should try in this problem is to promote preventative medicine, good health practices (which at least in principle is the purpose of preventing AIDs and other sex diseases, fetal alcoholism and other birth defects) but also over-eating, smoking, drug use, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, etc. On these scores the human race is too prone to regard the medical profession as a fire-escape, picking up the pieces, stamping out fires. In short, abortion should be a “remedy” of last resort. But our blame-passing, consequences-escaping, punishment-denying society wants medicine or others to “pay all their bills”, literally and figuratively. (Here’s where government funding of abortion comes in – and Dole said correctly about porno art: If an “artist” thinks an obscene subject is OK for painting or photo, OK; but don’t ask others to pay for it.) There would be less premarital sex if the “fathers” were stuck with the bills.