Tuesday, October 25

posts to anger and offend - contraception and abortion

Having a distinct lack of plan about the current socio-economic crisis facing the US, some political folk on the far right have dragged out the old chestnut of social conservatism, particularly what is commonly called 'a women's right to choose'.

Having suffered through the slings and arrows of an upbringing exposed to protestant evangelicism, I am well aware of the scriptural underpinnings of the procreation movement as well as the age and context thereof.  There are several verses in the Old Testament (Genesis and Psalms, specifically) which directly or obliquely reference the desire to have a large family.  This is not surprising, considering the audience was a small, warlike nation some 3000 years ago (oops, there I go with that historical/critical stuff).  My thoughts are not centered around arguing the validity of words from three thousand years and miles ago, but rather a different set of arguments which are more rooted in the here and now.

Regarding contraception, the current argument runs that family planning is alternately an assumption of personal responsibility and a contravention of the will of God.  Now the first side I can argue easily.  If men/women (for whatever reason) feel they are not ready, willing, and/or able to bring a child into this world AND are unwilling (for whatever reason) to wholly abstain from sexual congress, then the responsible option is to take safe and effective steps to prevent pregnancy. 

The other position is far more dicey, for it assumes an untenable position - that any mortal may know the designs of the Divine.  It also assumes something which I find laughable, which is that the designs of the aforementioned omnipotent Divine could be so easily thwarted by a pill or a piece of rubber.  Finally, it presumes to override Primacy of Conscience and Free Will, replacing them with a 'one size fits none' approach to an intensely personal and situationally dependent decision.

Regarding abortion, things are much trickier but the bottom line is the same.  When does the soul enter the fetus, transforming a saprophytic polyp into a human being?  What are the ultimate consequences of either keeping or aborting said polyp/human?  What about in cases of rape, incest or endangerment of the mother?  To categorically state that any action is universally good OR evil presumes a level of understanding of the universe and the persons performing the actions that is far beyond the ken of mankind.   It also denies Primacy of Conscience and Free Will.

In both cases, I would point out that it is a personal decision to be considered at length with prayer and thoughtful introspection.  Whether or not I would consider either acceptable does not alter the fact that one must always be permitted to make a choice, whether that choice is right or wrong.  Your definitions of wrong and right may vary (and that's ok).    

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