An American Conversation on Abortion

We are on the eve of the U.S. presidential election and I would like to address the elephant in the room and talk about the completely non-controversial topic of abortion policy. It is one of the largest and most divisive political wedge issues that comes to mind and is one reason it is difficult to form a moderate American political party consisting of centrists who lean a little left or right of center. It is also the reason why many conservative Christians have decided to vote for Donald Trump.

To my friends and other readers holding their noses and reluctantly pulling the lever for the least qualified and most ill-equipped major presidential candidate in modern history only because he is not Hillary Clinton in the hope he will nominate conservative Supreme Court justices, I need to point out some unpleasant facts that weaken the political impetus to cast a vote for a man who clearly does not share your values. You don’t need to taint your antipathetic vote by taking up a political cross that is illusory in effect.

To those that actively support and cheer for Donald Trump because you honestly think he is good for this country and would make a great president, you are entitled to do so freely, but I would like you provide sound evidence to me as to why you believe this to be true. I say the following with complete candor – I have yet to find anyone who has made a compelling case.

I enjoy talking about politics and I don’t shy away from controversial topics so please consider the following points/critiques and questions (from a conservative perspective) as an invitation for dialogue or debate. If you believe me to be wrong, seek clarification, or agree with me, please don’t hesitate to engage me in a conversation on the topic.

To anyone interested in further reading on this topic, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America by Marvin Olasky.

1. Reversing Roe v. Wade has a limited effect on reducing abortion. Legal jurisdiction over the issue is merely given back to the states. Elective abortion will be available in many states. Women who can afford to travel will do so and the poor will seek abortions through other means. The practice of abortion prior to the 1960s, while not widely accepted in American society and culture, was also not rare and unpracticed.

2. A pro-life position should encompass more than an anti-abortion stance.

3. Many conservatives often seek to make abortion illegal without addressing the underlying social and cultural factors that drive abortion which are, but not limited to, the stigmatization of unwed mother, the lack of social and financial support for poor families and single parents, and the fears and difficulties faced by women, particularly, teens and young women as to the negative effect bearing and raising a child will have on their educational and career prospects.

4. White political conservatives struggle to gain potential like-minded allies in ethnic minority groups. For example, black Christians tend to be culturally or socially conservative on the issue of abortion due to their faith, but large numbers do not vote in concert with white political conservatives because of historical repercussions from white conservative resistance to the Civil Rights Movement (e.g. Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley) and conservative support for “law and order” candidates with regressive views on policing and justice/prison reform. In my opinion, a vote for Trump is a continuation of support for politicians who represent viewpoints offensive to ethnic minority groups.

5. If one is to state they care for women and their well-being, voting for an openly misogynistic, abusive, and sexually predatory political candidate in the form of Donald Trump does not help to support this statement.

Questions:

1. Are all abortions to be made illegal without any caveats such as rape, incest, or the life of the mother? Should the health of the mother be considered? Is health defined as physical, mental, or both? Should the mother (or father) be allowed to have a say?

2. If abortion is outlawed, should one seek to punish the providers or punish the mothers?

3. Is the preferred policy approach to contain and reduce abortions by focusing on changing the minds and situations of women seeking abortion, focus on legal restrictions or bans, or a some combination of the two approaches?

I welcome your input.

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