How could I throw away a miracle? How could I face another day? It's all of my doing, I made a choice, And today I pay.
-- Whitney Houston
This is not -- repeat, not -- an attempt to convince anyone that abortion is right or wrong.
While I find it hard to imagine any government -- particularly one made up largely of men -- assuming the power to order women who have been raped or are the victims of incestuous relationships to give life to a child that results from such acts, I am just as appalled at the thought of a woman using abortion as a form of birth control, especially at taxpayer expense.
There is, of course, no place for a happy medium in this ongoing argument, so wishy-washy attitudes like mine have no part in this debate. Of course, being part of the male population, I also consider any argument I might make pro or con to be of minimal consequence. Despite what all the self-important elected officials say, what the presidential candidates on the campaign trail would have us believe, or even what church leaders tell us from the pulpit, abortion always has been and always will be an issue best debated and decided by women.
(I must admit, however, that I find myself stupefied by the lunatic fringe element of the "pro-life" group whose members are so dead-set against abortion -- who are so intent on "preserving every precious life" -- that they'd bomb abortion clinics and kill anyone who'd dare seek care or even work there. This is pro-life?)
Another group whose members cannot be taken seriously when discussing abortion is the group that is adamantly opposed to abortion in any circumstances -- even if the mother's life is at risk -- and yet after all those unwanted babies are born they're opposed to offering any form of assistance to help raise the resulting children.
These are the people who argue that abortion is wrong, but who also say sex education should not be taught in schools, who say the only form of birth control that is acceptable is abstinence, who are opposed to any dispensation of birth control ... yet they berate the "welfare mothers" who are an unfortunate byproduct of such misinformation and miseducation.
For those who hold such a world view, a young girl who has received no sex education at home or at school, who has no concept of birth control and has been pressured into a sexual relationship at a very young age, resulting in a pregnancy, should not only be forced to have the child but should also now have to find a job and be solely responsible for raising that child.
If such a young girl seeks employment, she doesn't have enough education to do anything but the most menial of tasks. And the resulting low self-esteem and low pay help perpetuate a no-way-out cycle that keeps her and any resulting children from ever considering an American dream that reaches beyond the strict boundaries their life has imposed on them.
It's easy enough for an educated person who comes from a background of privilege to look down on such youngsters and condemn their "lack of self-control." It's a far tougher thing for a young person who knows nothing of such matters to consider the consequences of giving in to an urge that scientists declare is a natural part of the human existence.
You can't withold vital information about sex and birth control and then expect children to make mature decisions when placed in a situation that could result in an unwanted pregnancy. Such hypocrisy reaches well beyond the bounds of "pro-life" vs. "pro-choice" into an area of civic responsibility that touches on the essence of human decency.
It's hard to imagine millionaire male politicians with the capacity to factor environmental ignorance and poverty into the ongoing debate over abortion. Until that happens, though, the people most touched by the issue are left without a voice.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcheralbanyherald.com.