So, You Want to Stop Abortion?

Then the last thing you ought to be doing is making it illegal.

This may seem counter-intuitive on the surface, but the fact is, making something illegal that is fairly common drives it underground, where it becomes much more dangerous, and much harder to get at in terms of control or information or help.

Making abortion illegal is an easy way for people who think it’s wrong to feel like they’ve done something good and right and just–and then they go back to their lives feeling good about themselves and having made the problem worse, and creating a bunch of misery for other people to deal with.

If you want to reduce the numbers of abortions, you need to look at the world as it really is, instead of trying to force it to be something it’s not. If you want to reduce the numbers of abortions, you don’t say, “just don’t have sex,” because people have sex.

You don’t say, “OK, you had sex, now deal with the consequences and give your baby up for adoption,” because this creates more misery, especially for woman and girls, and will also tend to make the daughters and sons of the most self-righteous keep the pregnancy a secret and seek out a back-alley procedure to avoid offending their parents’ strict sense of morality.  Adoption does not work for everyone.

You can extol the benefits of abstinence–that’s fine, but you also have to take into account that most people aren’t going to be abstinent. Again, it’s about what the world is rather than what you think it ought to be.

You can want it to be different, and you can work for change–work to make things better, but starting from a supposition about the way things ought to be without a full grasp of how things are and how things work is to start a building project with a lofty idea but no tools, and no grasp of structural engineering.

You have to teach people how to avoid getting pregnant if they aren’t ready for children. You need to stop pretending that “abstinence until marriage” is an effective message for everyone, because most people aren’t getting married (if they do at all) until they’re in their late twenties and early thirties.

So, from the time they hit adolescence, and their whole horny being is driving them to have sex, until the time they are likely to marry and be able to raise a family (if they do), is about ten years or more. The odds (and the statistics) are against them remaining virgins that long.

I’m not going to tell my son that in order to have sex, he needs to get married. Because I don’t want him to jump into marriage at a young age just so he can have sex (and believing that the overwhelming feeling he’s experiencing must be love), and then realize his marriage was a bad idea. By that time, he might already have kids to support, whether or not the marriage lasts.

The common ground between abortion rights supporters and opponents is that neither camp wants more abortions, and all of us would like to see fewer abortions.  It is the way of getting there that we tend to disagree on.

Initiated Measure 11, if voted into law, would not stop abortion, it would drive it underground.  Initiated Measure 11, if passed, would make abortion seem to disappear, but it will not make it stop.

Initiated Measure 11, if passed, would make abortion much more dangerous, and make it almost impossible to get information about the numbers of procedures taking place.

Initiated Measure 11, if passed, would make it harder to provide help to the almost certainly larger percentage of women who’d be traumatized by going through the procedure, because they’d be scared to seek help, afraid of being labeled “criminals” and “killers.”

Counter-intuitive as it may seem, making abortion illegal will not make it stop.  Forcing it underground may make the problem seem to go away, but will endanger the health and well-being of women.

If you are really committed to reducing the numbers of abortions, let’s get beyond beyond criminalizing women and doctors, and find a way to work together.


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