It is true that this column has discussed the abortion issue on several occasions in the past few years. Nevertheless, the issue transforms and we can’t let the rare opportunity to agree with Forum Columnist Rob Port slip away.
Before entering the abortion thicket again, we need to once again repeat that we respect life as sacred even though there is nothing in Scripture to that effect. However, we assume that God loves the crown of His creation so we ought to do the same.
While the protection of life is also a state responsibility, the anti-abortion campaign is floating on a strong religious conviction. In other words, in our society today, this is a religious issue. Therefore, the wide-ranging teaching by churches colors personal attitudes on the subject.
Churches that share a faith in Jesus Christ teach and accept different religious points of view on the question of abortion. In other words, Christians have a lot of differences among themselves.
In this fragmented situation, we are passing laws with the idea that one-size law on abortion fits all. This has been magnified by the Texas legislation that assumes no abortions can be exceptions.
Even though I regard life as sacred, it is a religious conviction that is personal. I have a right to hold that position, but there are many other Christians who do not agree with me. Should they be compelled to agree with me?
It would be a good bet that over 90% of the anti-abortion folks are not in life situations where they could be impregnated in rape or incest. Meanwhile, we are putting thousands of pregnable young women at risk because the issue for us is academic and not personal.
Who should decide?
This raises the question of who should be making the decisions on abortion – the people who have no stake in the outcome or the people who could become life-long victims of rape or incest.
While I can see some state involvement in the question when rape or incest is involved, I don’t even want to decide.
Rape is usually more publicized than forcible incest, but there are more incest victims than rape victims. Incest is tolerated because confronting the issue would destroy the family, and for many, saving the family is more important than protecting the girls. Yet, it is one of the most abhorrent of crimes.
Rob rightly points out that sex is rampant in the American community and gave statistics that quantified sex before marriage. He quoted the findings of the National Institute of Health in which 75% of Americans had unmarried sex. It would be interesting if we knew the amount of sex that occurs between 14 and 16 years of age. And the number of pregnancies that occur in that age group.
We do nothing to protect teenagers. Sex education in the schools became a major political argument so it got buried. But I will tell you that kids from 10 years and up are already learning scattered truths and untruths from friends.
Another hot topic that created a firestorm was contraception. It, too, got buried because parents thought it would just encourage sex among teenagers. Well, folks, I grew up in a small community, and I will assure you that your kids are engaged in more sexual activity than you dare believe.
My parents did not talk to me about sex. My church did not talk to me about sex. My school did not talk to me about sex. Who was supposed to talk to me about sex?
Rob is right. Prevention requires sex education and contraception.
Lloyd Omdahl is a former state lieutenant governor and professor at UND.