I don’t normally have a huge opinion on American politics, and haven’t particularly followed the ins and outs of the American government for, well, forever, but I was particularly struck by Ron Paul’s anti-abortion pledge:
“I believe that in order to properly protect the right to life of the vulnerable among us, every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise. I recognize that in cases where a mother’s life is at risk, every effort should be made to save the baby’s life as well; leaving the death of an innocent child as an unintended tragedy rather than an intentional killing.”
Abortion is always going to be an issue, and there will always be a religious angle to the topic, and people are always going to disagree, so perhaps my own view means that I’m disgusted by this a lot more than other people may be. But I really, really do have a major issue with someone like Ron Paul coming out with things like this. Okay, okay, of course he’s allowed that opinion and he’s allowed to voice that opinion, but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.
Despite being a “libertarian”, Ron Paul is staunchly opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. And many libertarians have defended this view in what seems a clear cut argument: the right to life vs the right to choose, in which case the right to life obviously wins. I know I’m not the only one to find flaws in that argument. At least, I hope not, or I’m moving bloody planet.
What about the right to life for the mother of the baby? Why should a victim of rape be forced to carry, give birth to and possibly raise a child that she neither planned nor wanted? A child that would become the product, and more than likely a memory of, a horrible attack which nobody should ever be subjected to? That is fair on who, exactly? Not the child, and certainly not the mother of the child. But it’s not just about extreme cases like rape. People make mistakes, things happen in the heat of the moment, contraception can, and does, fail. Raising a child, and indeed childbirth itself, is a difficult thing to go through in anyone’s books, but particularly so if you are unprepared and not ready at all. A woman has the right to decide. A child would have a huge impact on a woman’s life and it is imperative that she is able to make the right decision.
There is a real, scientific argument about the time at which a potential life becomes an actual life, when a “foetus” becomes a “child”, when abortion becomes “murder”. Whilst people have every right to believe in something, it’s dangerous to have someone in such a prominent country standing up and saying that abortion is wrong. That could have serious consequences for women – and potentially children.
I am completely pro-choice. I believe women should have the choice to decide what they do and do not do with their bodies. I don’t believe abortion should be used as a method of contraception and would, of course, prefer it if unwanted pregnancies was prevented before it happened, rather than afterwards. But that isn’t my choice to make. It is a woman’s choice, about her own body.
So, this isn’t about telling Ron Paul he can’t have an opinion simply because it is different to mine.
But it is expressing anger, disgust and sadness that such views are still held in this world today.