Or shut up

One writer who doesn’t like abortion … or hypocrisy

Bob Schmidt is a longtime journalist and SN&R contributor

Listen up, pro-lifers! A challenge has been issued.

First of all, I’ve got a valid reason for thinking abortion is not a good thing. The two oldest of my four children are adopted, and if abortion had been as easy to get 49 and 45 years ago as it is now, they might not have been a part of my life. I cannot contemplate that.

So, I believe abortion is not a good thing. But it is absurd to think that what I believe should deny the choice to every pregnant woman in every circumstance.

Of course what is going to be a life, a human being, commences when sperm and egg combine, and it is nonsense to quibble about that. It is a terrible choice to prevent that human being from being born.

But it is also a terrible choice to let that human being born unwanted, or into an environment where there is not competent care.

It has always astonished me that those people who call themselves pro-life and oppose choice decline to expend as much energy supporting sex education and child-care support for single mothers as they expend opposing abortion.

How in the world is a single mother going to be able to support herself and her child if she is young and unskilled? Maybe her family can help. Maybe they can’t, or won’t. Is it appropriate for society to say, “Tough cookies, babe. You should have thought of that before”?

I think not. I think it is in society’s self-interest to help the mother become educated and skilled, and a contributor to the labor pool, and a taxpayer, and, most important, a good, capable mother.

Some of the more enlightened anti-choice advocates do not oppose abortion in the case of rape or incest, but most anti-choice advocates are not so enlightened, it appears.

The reality is there are always, always, going to be women who become pregnant. Most of the time it’s a joy for them. Sometimes it’s not. If a child is born blind or deaf or with some other difficulty, shouldn’t society help if help is needed? Of course it should. That’s what the word society means: “… an organized group of persons associated together for (among other things) benevolent purposes.” Look it up.

If a woman becomes pregnant and doubts her ability to be the kind of mother a child should have but is not confident that her family or society will step in and help, what is she to do?

So, anti-choice folks, get behind government funding for sex education in schools, and maybe fewer teenagers will become pregnant, and get behind government funding for child-care programs for mothers who want to go to school or work.

Or shut up.