Your Opinion: Common ground on abortion

Dear Editor:

Mark Pavely and I have disagreed about many issues over the years, so it gives me great pleasure to find a point of agreement. I hope in the future we might find more agreement in our attempts to build bridges of greater understanding.

In his latest LTTE he stated, “I do know that some Christians don’t believe in contraception however I do believe it is preferable to more murdering of the conceived.” I too believe contraception is preferable to abortion. I’m sure we can also agree that no one “likes” to give or receive an abortion. It is not something anyone would undergo if there was an alternative.

The problem I have had with many Christians (Protestant and Catholic) is they don’t give any wiggle room for folks when it comes to having both sex and unwanted babies. If religious leaders were unconditionally opposed to abortion then I would think they would want to do everything in their merciful power to help women and men, girls and boys avoid unplanned pregnancies — like age-appropriate sex education and contraception instruction.

Studies have shown that comprehensive sex education that instructs students in a realitybased approach to human sexuality, contraception instruction as well as abstinence, is far more effective in reducing unwanted pregnancies and STDs than the abstinence-only alternative. (In the interest of full disclosure I read in the Right-Wing Heritage Foundation blog of a small study that seemed to contradict these conclusions. The study has been widely criticized as being unrepresentative demographically and in terms of program content presented.)

Most abortion opponents also oppose contraception and sex education. I am encouraged by Mark’s statement that he holds contraception as a preferred alternative to unwanted pregnancy. I am hopeful his idea catches on among his fundamentalist friends. I know both Mark and I would like to see abortions greatly reduced. We probably disagree only on conditions.

I was moved by Mark’s story of his aborted sibling. It is a reminder that abortion sometimes can have traumatic consequences. I hope he has forgiven his parents for his long ago loss of a loving brother or sister. And I hope he doesn’t think of his mom and dad as immoral people. There are many reasons, beside the health of the mother, to limit family size. Of course abortion should be a last resort — even if it sometimes may be a necessary one.

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