Thanks to Todd Akin's unfortunate comments, abortion has become a central issue in the presidential election, primarily among those on the Left who want to label Republicans in general, and Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan specifically, as extremists on the issue.
I don't normally get into the abortion issue. Personally, I consider myself pro-life, I have long believed that there are more important issue out there, such as fiscal issues, that we need to pay attention to.
Abortion isn't something I normally worry about primarily because there are so many zealots on both sides. I believe in the sanctity of life. I belive Roe v. Wade
is a mistake. I believe the culture of abortion-on-demand has become too prevalent in our society and in many cultures around the world, and that it is a stain not only on our nation, but on the entire human race. It is a problem. But I don't consider myself an extremist. I believe both in Biblical values and common sense.
But recently - and this is just in the past few days - my views on abortion have shifted.
To most Americans, abortion is this thing known as a social issue. Some are for it, some are against it, and all have reasons for their opinions on the subject. But there are many people out there for whom abortion isn't just an issue. It is more than just another political topic that is up for debate. For some people, abortion has a real impact on their lives.
If you take a little time to check out Rebecca Kiessling's website, you will find multiple stories of people who were concieved during rapes. For many of the people whose stories are listed on her website, the only reason they are alive today is because abortion happened to be illegal when they were born. For many Americans, since views are split on the issue of abortion, the idea of an exception in cases of rape and incest seems like a reasonable compromise. To those people who were conceived in rape or incest, I can only imagine how much of a kick in the gut it must be every time someone throws out a rape exception as a reasonable compromise.
Debating abortion can be a tricky proposition even when it's done from an entirely theoretical perspective. But there is a worldview being put forward by a major political party that says it's okay to kill millions of people every year. They call it a matter of "choice." They say that "women should be able to make their own reproductive decisions." In an extra-heavy abortion debate, we can even get into an argument over at what moment a fetus may or may not qualify as being "alive."
There was a time when I didn't want to have kids. First I was perfectly fine being single. Then, I just wanted to enjoy life with my wife. When we found out my wife was pregnant with our first daughter, I will admit that it took some time for me to get used to the idea that I would soon be a father.
Just a few weeks ago, my second daughter was born. Now that I am a parent of two beautiful little girls, the part of me that saw no problem with being childless for the rest of my days seems like a stranger to me now. I would do anything for my girls. They are the best part of me. The idea of ending their lives at any stage of their existence, for any reason, brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
And this is how I feel when I think about an abortion exception for rape or incest. I think about: what if one of my daughters was the product of rape? What if my wife had been attacked and violated by some violent savage, and she had been impregnated as a result? My wife is my best friend; no one on this earth is as close to me or knows me better than she does. If such a thing were to happen, I would stand by her every step of the way.
But for me, it's only theoretical. When I read the stories of people whose birth came about as the result of rape or incest, I have to ask myself: would I have the unmitigated gall to tell one of these people to their face that it would be okay if they were killed before they were even born? The Left has made abortion a big deal in this election, and they have focused in on the GOP platform's absence of language regarding exceptions for rape or incest. But while the Democrats are focused in on "choice," they completely ignore the people who are alive today because leftist notions of "choice" used to be illegal.
There was a saying I heard when I was a child: in a garden, the difference between a plant and a weed was whether you wanted it growing there. The same is not true of a child. Despite what President Obama has said, under no circumstances is anyone "punished with a baby." A child is a blessing, no matter what. Whether it is planned or unplanned, human life is something worth protecting. I could not possibly bring myself to the arrogance necessary to say that it would be okay if people like Rebecca Keissling were killed before they were ever born just because some deranged individual committed an act of violence that resulted in their conception. Rape is, with no exceptions, the worst kind of violation imaginable. But if a child is the result, then it is never a punishment. This is the problem with liberal America: in a society that values life, every life is a blessing.
As emphatic as I used to be about how much I never wanted to have children, I wouldn't give up either of my daughters for all the world. And whether I just have my 2 current children, or go on to have 15 more, every life is valuable. Every life is worth love.
I remember watching a speech not too long ago that was delivered by the ever-talented musician Sir Elton John. He was lauding people from President George W. Bush to the current administration for their quote-unquote "compassion." The thing that caught my attention was that every time Elton John mentioned the word "compassion," you could have switched it out for the word "money," and it would not have changed his speech one iota.
This is the problem with modern liberalism. Compassion is more than money. Compassion means more than nations making donations to a certain politically correct cause. Compassion means taking into account the humanity of the victim, whether that means the victim of rape, or the victim of abortion. Liberal America likes to focus in on the slavery era of America, where African-Americans were discriminated against, abused, and murdered. But abortion has killed more people than America's slavery era ever did. More human lives have been lost to abortion than were ever lost to any genocide in the history of humanity.
True compassion means looking to the lives that could be, and saying that human life is more than a political agenda. Human life is more important than the choice of an individual. As a modern society, our priority should be the protection of those who have no voice...those who without the protection of the law, would be killed with society's blessing.
It is a true shame that a major political party in the freest nation in the world would embrace the killing of our next generation with such enthusiasm and vigor. With the announcement of their party's platform, the Democrats this week gave up such pretenses as the lie of "safe, legal, and rare" that they spent so much time trying to convince America they believed. Now, "safe, legal, and rare" has been thrown aside. It's not enough for the slaughter of innocent life to be safe and legal; it has to be government subsidized. They never believed abortion should be rare; that was just thrown in to make their position seem moderate.
So many issues have been described as "the civil rights issue of our time." I say, abortion is the greatest civil rights issue facing our world today. Whether it's through the "freedom to choose" here in America, or through population controls imposed by dictatorial regimes, our world is facing the slaughter of a generation of unborn children.
Does this make me an extremist? Perhaps. But I will always believe that it's better to be extreme in defense of innocent life than to be extreme in support of ending that life. There should be no shame in standing up for those who have no voice.