When the heated topic of abortion was first brought to my attention in school, I didn’t know what to make of it. As someone who has complete empathy towards everyone and everything, including insects and my worst enemies throughout my life (I would never wish to do any lasting damage to anybody, no matter how they have treated me*), I naturally had complete empathy towards the baby. What an atrocious fate, to die before even being born! To not be able to experience life! As a person who thoroughly enjoys life, this is one of the worst possible crimes. My first reaction was pro life. Yet as the discussion continued, I began to realize the other side of the problem. To me, ruining a person’s life, especially one who enjoys said life, is just as atrocious as ending one before it experiences it. Which is worse? Never experiencing life, or experiencing a small portion only to have it brutally smashed against a a concrete wall by an unwanted child? I could not think of any way to choose, and so i came to an impasse. Not in the mood for heavy thinking, I decided to be undecided; I resolved to push the issue aside until a later date when I felt like using my brain. I forgot about abortion and lived my happy (not quite as much at the time: high school) life for a time.
The next time the topic of abortion was brought up to me, I realized that I must make up my mind somehow; the issue was too important, and my ego told me that I was smart enough to require having an answer to all the important issues of life. Unfortunately, however, there was no resolving my earlier conundrum. However I could see how varying other people’s opinions were, and how adamant they were about them. I realized that while I was unable to figure out my personal view on abortion, I should in no way have the right to impose any decision upon others. People should be free to choose for themselves. If anyone asked, I was pro choice. Uneasily content with myself, I went to bed that night with no answer to the horrifying question: what if I were to ever find myself in this situation? Again, I turned my attention onto other things (potentially on how to get girls, I was quite atrocious at that back then).
It is not until recently that I finally found the unequivocal answer which I had been searching for, but had long since given up hope of finding. It happened in bed, while contemplating how weird my train of thought must be, given how I have observed other people thinking. One of my key theories is that I can no one can ever predict the outcome of anything, since I believe** that every electron that moves changes the future forever (I was actually convinced that I was the inventor of this theory when I came up with it around the age of 7-8 (with worms not electrons of course) and was quite crushed when I realized many years later that it was a widely known postulation). I often think about this, as useless and tiresome an endeavor as it is – the only way i can sleep at night is by reasoning that since I can’t control anything I shouldn’t worry about it. That night, however, I linked it to abortion.
If someone has a child, it changes the future forever. Key to abortion, it alters the chances of another child being born. While one may choose to abort a baby for a plethora of reasons, the effect is the same. Having that child, no matter how altruistically-intended, will “kill” another child by not allowing it to be born. Since every time a man ejaculates millions of sperm die, who is to say which baby (or which sperm) has more of a right to live?
The only case in which this is not true is if the woman never intends to have any (or any more) children. This means that a life is aborted without a life to replace it. This baby is a pure, innocent well of untapped potential. It has the potential to enjoy life, to make a difference, to change other people, just as much as it has the potential to (insert pessimistic comments here, I don’t wanna I’m an optimist). Yet even in this instance, we must not forget the parents (for simplicity I will assume parents from now on). If a person rationalizes the terrible decision of abortion, it follows that there’s a reason. This reason is logically that the baby will somehow ruin her/their lives. This essentially means that that any potential that they once had is lost, or at least put on hold; why should the parents throw away their potential/enjoyment of life for the potential enjoyment of another. While this argument may seem callous to those who consider ultimate devotion the their offspring to be the pinnacle of parenthood, I am by no means saying this to belittle people of such view. To me, making this parental sacrifice is one of the most incredible and beautiful gifts one can bestow upon another, and I would be extraordinarily selfish to think otherwise, as my own parents have time and again offered similar sacrifice, (as must all loving parents, of course). I’m simply saying that it would be wrong to force such sacrifice on someone: it would no longer be sacrifice. Having followed this train of thought, I fail to see how anyone could rationalize being pro life, as unfair as this is for all potential lives.
Quite content with myself for having finally resolved this quandary to standards which I deem acceptable, I proceeded to discuss my idea with a few people. I talked to people who were pro choice, but for very different reasons. Hoping to prove that my reasons were even more valid, I embarked upon long and fruitless discussions. I couldn’t seem to make the people in question understand my train of thought – the main reason for me taking the time to write this. Yet the arguments they presented brought more aspects to my attention (or perhaps I only began paying attention to them then). What about single mothers? Poor parents? Children who have very little chance of surviving? Worst of all, what if having a child would ruin the both the parents life and leave the child with little chance of survival? These are all worthwhile arguments for pro-choicers, which I believe complement what I have said above very nicely. Yet on their own, I don’t believe them to adequately refute pro-life arguments such as “everyone deserves a chance at life” and “who gives humans the right to control life and death?”. I’ve read too many fairy tales to reduce abortion to a numbers game. To me, the response to these arguments is unequivocally that no one can predict the consequences of our actions, and therefore such decisions are no longer “right and wrong”, but completely at the discretion of those who will be the most immediately affected by the decision: the parents.
*Recently I adjusted my views, and decided that people who would willingly cause permanent damage towards me do not deserve my empathy.
** Again, I don’t actually believe in anything, which is key to the way I think but I will discuss in a future paper – or perhaps it is better to leave it to René Descartes. The only difference between his and my views on this is that I don’t believe it’s worth it to worry about – it’s something to be aware of, yet since I can’t do anything about it, why bother worrying, since it will just ruin my enjoyment of life?
NOTE: Recently, one of my good friends brought a new idea to my attention. What if all mothers were forced to have their baby, and they’d just put them up for adoption after? This way the baby would retain it’s right to live, and the mother would only have to sacrifice 9 months of her life. However, this brings up a whole new set of problems. There are already way too many orphans in the world. There are way too many people in the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “humanity will be using two planets’ worth of natural resources by 2050¹. The baby’s right to live would interfere with everyone else’s right to live, by taking up natural resources. It may seem calloused to call a baby “a waste of resources”, and so I will not. To me, this idea falls just as much under the “population crises” category as the “abortion” category, and since it cannot be resolved without both, I will wait until I have thought more about, and most probably blogged about the population crises before coming to a conclusion about this alternative. Also, of note, as one of my female friends put it, everything does not go back to normal for the woman after.