We find that much of the abortion debate is centered around and dictated by people who genuinely believe life begins with a zygote, that the potential for a human life is the equivalent of a human life (and sometimes that gets taken really far to the point where some would say contraception should be illegal). From their perspective, abortion is no different that killing a living, breathing baby.
Most people do not share that belief. To the vast majority, preventing the development of an embryo is not the same as taking a life. But for those who believe abortion is murder, what the majority believe does not matter. They don’t care about the beliefs of others, they don’t care about the origins of a pregnancy, they don’t care about any amount of suffering that abortion access might avert, they don’t even care all that much about stopping abortions. What matters to them is the absolute repugnance they feel at the idea they live in a society where the state has sanctioned–in their eyes–infanticide.
And that makes sense. If you think terminating an embryo is no different from killing a baby in its crib, then it makes perfect sense to be completely uncompromising on that. They don’t care that abortion rates have been declining during the period of nationwide abortion access. They don’t care that abortions continue while becoming more dangerous when abortion is made illegal. They will never even agree to support steps that reduce abortions further because again, it’s the repugnance. It is repugnant to them for anyone to suggest “infanticide” is acceptable under certain conditions or that it should be addressed with anything less than prosecution. And we can’t really hold that against them.
But we also can’t really work with them either. And that’s a shame, really, but you can’t get bogged down with hardliners. For everyone else in the country, we all recognize that the socially desirable number of abortions is zero and we recognize that receiving care earlier in a pregnancy is preferable to later in a pregnancy (for reasons of health, cost, and a little moral murkiness as medicine continues to decrease the threshold for “viability”), and we recognize individual rights to bodily autonomy and to have a choice exists.
There is a good deal of misinformation surrounding abortions in America, particularly from anti-abortion activists, a use of terminology designed to confuse and obfsucate. But the reality is most of us share a common intuited morality along the lines that abortions are broadly acceptable up until (and perhaps a little preceding) the point where the fetus could potentially survive outside of the womb with the assistance of advanced medical technologies (though, without greater improvements in relevant technologies, complications and death may still arise); along with greater leniency in instances of rape or incest or where health is threatened.
Despite what some would suggest, the vast majority of abortions occur within the first two months of pregnancy. Almost no abortions occur beyond five months and those tend to be more often for reasons of health or unviability and are often heartbreaking for prospective parents. Are ever greater restrictions on abortion warranted? I don’t think the reality bears that out.
It is the position of this campaign that the reality of abortion–that most occur within the first two months of pregnancy, that essentially none occur beyond six months, that those that occur late in pregnancy tend to be for reasons of health and viability–does not require substantial regulation by the state of Ohio. Restrictions on abortion access in Ohio state law should be repealed. That too is likely not a position held by the majority but crafting laws in the interest of satisfying a desire for compromise and social comfort is not typically a good idea when lives are on the line. Nevertheless, return to status quo regulation prior to repeal of Roe is better than the current situation if that is something the Ohio General Assembly can be pushed to enact.
To clarify, ours is not a compromise position, our position is unrestricted access to abortion, but we are willing to compromise on this position.
Policies that will reduce abortion rates and set us on track for zero aboritons include:
- Comprehensive sex education.
- Ensuring access to contraceptives.
- Developing better, simpler, more effective contraception that results in fewer unintended pregnancies.
- Ensuring access to relevant healthcare providers.
- Ensuring economic support, security, and prosperity so that personal finances don’t continue to have to be a primary factor in whether one decides to have children or not.
- Artificial wombs (sorry I feel the need to mention this) would provide an alternative that many people would find great value in (and many people would be very uncomfortable with).