It’s Really Complicated Now

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As you may or may not know by now, the Iowa legislature just passed- and the Governor signed- a bill banning all abortions after 6 weeks.  As you might imagine, the response to this varies wildly depending on who you ask.

For the past 20 odd years my position on this topic has been “it’s complicated”.  And, while that IS still accurate, this recent event has pushed me to articulate it in more depth.  I know that many will disagree with me and that is your right.  As always, thoughtful, mature debate is encouraged, but name calling, insults, etc. will not be.

First of all, I do believe there should be limits on how far along in a pregnancy an abortion should be allowed (excluding medical emergencies of course).  There are now preemies born at 21 and 22 weeks who are surviving thanks to modern medical technology.  So it certainly stands to reason that the cut off should be earlier than that.  If I had to pick limit I would say 12 weeks.  That’s well before viability and mirrors what several other ” modern” countries have in place.

Second of all, I do agree that outside of rape, incest, or medical emergency abortion should not be the first option as a method of birth control.  However, I don’t know of a single instance in my circle of acquaintances/ friends of friends/ etc. where that was the case.  There was always a sad, if not downright tragic, chain of events that lead to that decision.  I’m not saying it has NEVER happened, but it’s a lot more rare than the alt right would have you believe.  The trope of the young woman skipping into the clinic happy to have this procedure is just plain incompatible with reality (not that the alt right has much time for reality).

Third, let’s look to the Old Testament, since the bible is frequently called into debate on this topic.  In Exodus chapter 21 we read:   If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.   So, if a pregnant women goes into early labor but nothing happens to HER then no harm, no foul.  Only if SHE is injured does punishment occur.   That’s pretty cut and dry.

Fourth, and I never thought I would share this, but I once thought I was in a position that would require me to decide if I would terminate a pregnancy.   It turned out to be a false alarm- thank God.  But in those few moments of abject terror I knew in my heart what my decision would have been, based on my medical condition and medications I was taking at that time.  If that day had been today, I may have been forced to plan a trip out of state.  And that’s just plain wrong.

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