Believers' convictions trump politics

Opinion Column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

"Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend ... And I would have stayed up with you all night, Had I known how to save a life."

-- The Fray

Here's what happens when you align yourself in lock-step with one ideological/political set of beliefs: You open the door to very real charges of hypocrisy.

So it is, then, for many people who declare themselves unequivocally in the "Right to Life" camp. That's not to include, it must be noted, people who, for religious or deeply personal reasons, oppose abortion. They're convinced the act is wrong. Period. No questions asked. Life begins at conception and should at that point be protected.

I certainly have no problem with such sentiment -- in fact, I applaud it -- when it's genuine.

Unfortunately, many who call themselves right-to-lifers do so only because they are falling in line with the platform of one political party or are backing a particular political candidate. There's one major difference in these people and those who truly feel abortion violates their core beliefs.


These faux anti-abortion zealots have none. They are only following a party line. Then, when it turns out that the same political party or candidate they support is just as strongly opposed to programs that help the poor in this country, who are more than willing to leave the people in poverty to fend for themselves no matter the end results, it's hard to follow the logic in their so-called belief in right to life.

For some, who would use this issue only as a political tool, there is no concern for the sanctity of life. In essence, they say: "If you abort that fetus that you cannot by any stretch of the imagination afford to take care of, you are a killer. But once you bring that 'precious life' into this world, y'all are on your own. Just don't come sticking your grubby hands out here expecting help. You made this baby; you take care of it.

"Now go get a job."

Issues like abortion are very personal. When it comes to such matters that are absolutely of a life-or-death nature, it's not surprising that true believers -- one way or the other -- express their conviction with passion. It's sickening, then, to see political candidates who have no strong feelings about such issues try to inflame those passions as a political gambit.

When a man who would be vice president of the United States publicly declares that he would oppose abortion in any instance, even if it meant the mother of the child was likely to lose her life, you wonder about conviction. Would this man truly ask a husband to allow the sacrifice of his spouse so that an at-risk fetus might be born? Would he endorse such a sacrifice if it were his wife? And just what would his wife say to that?

Would this same staunch anti-abortion advocate be so adamant if a member of his family were raped and faced a lifetime of daily reminders of the act that led to her pregnancy?

(I find it amazing that many of these people who are so concerned about the sanctity of life would "solve" such an issue by declaring that all the rape victim has to do to overcome the horrors she has endured for nine months is simply give the baby up for adoption. Yep, that's going to solve any such lingering issue she might have. Just give the child away and you'll never even think of it again.)

I'm torn on the abortion issue, just as I am on many such large and personal ones. I can't imagine a woman ending a precious life on little more than a whim, determining that the lack of control and prevention that led to her pregnancy left her with an inconvenience. But I also cannot fathom how any person or group thinks it has the right to tell another person what she can or cannot do with her body.

Freedom, it seems, only goes as far as these self-proclaimed protectors of what's right see fit to allow.

Like any such personal issue, abortion is something that must be decided by individuals involved. Support or opposition should also be determined by personal conviction, not by some political party or politician. You don't want to be forced to pull a Mitch McConnell: Toe the party line on an issue (stem cell research) until you find out the issue you oppose can actually save the life of one of your relatives. Magically that conviction disappears.

In such personal cases, that's when you realize, hypocrisy or not, blood's thicker than any party line. And it becomes apparent such choices should be left to the individuals who face them.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.


Sister_Ruby 3 years, 1 month ago

Carlton Fletcher is a hyper-partisan dope.


Mr_Heatmiser 3 years, 1 month ago

"But I also cannot fathom how any person or group thinks it has the right to tell another person what she can or cannot do with her body."

If you believe that life begins at conception, then the mother is not just doing something with her body, she is intentionally killing a baby. That's not really so hard to understand, is it?


waltspecht 3 years, 1 month ago

How would you deal with suicide? That is an individual choice that is technically against the law and aren'e we, the citizens, telling them what they can or can't do with their body?


USTPC 3 years, 1 month ago

Take it one step further. Conception is the start of life, therefore aborting that life is murder. If it is legal to commit murder on an unborn child then let's make murder legal across the board. I mean by murder being illegal you are telling someone else what they can or can't do, right?

Same with gay marriage. If you want to make that legal then at the same time let's make Polygamy legal. If it is okay for same sex to marry why should it be illegal for a man or women to have more than one spouse if that is what they choose?


Cartman 3 years, 1 month ago

Taking innocent human life is murder. Murder is wrong. Abortion is murder for convenience' sake. It's that simple.

Democrats twist logic on its head and would have you believe that opposition to abortion is based on some unexplained hatred of women.


Sister_Ruby 3 years, 1 month ago

Did you hear the one about the woman who had a 2-year old child and was 3 months pregnant with another child who went to the doctor for an abortion. "Why?" said the doctor. "Because I'm just too exhausted taking care of my 2-year old and don't think I can take care of or afford another child" said the woman. The doctor thought a few minutes and said "I have a great idea. Why not kill the 2-year old child and keep the 3-month old fetus. That would give you 6 months to rest and save up some money and you would then be better prepared to take care of the new baby when it comes."

Get the point?


Sister_Ruby 3 years, 1 month ago

Do women who want abortions actually have "fetus-phobia"? Are they baby haters?


Sister_Ruby 3 years, 1 month ago

If not for legalized abortion, I believe the world would have the cure for cancer today.


chinaberry25 3 years, 1 month ago

Abortions are not personal if you make the taxpayers pay for it. Sex is not personal either if we have to pay for it. If we are still made to pay for this ill conceived child, then a midwife should be a first mandate of choice. No painkilling used either. Just natural childbirth unless an emergency. If potential mothers have to experience pain, then they may think about it the next time.


Sixty 3 years, 1 month ago

Fletch: Do you believe in children's rights???


gotanyfacts 3 years, 1 month ago

Fletch, could you give a little more background on your Mitch McConnell comment?


buddy 3 years, 1 month ago

Save the trees, but kill the children? You can't afford rights to one person (mother) while taking away the rights of another (child) and call it freedom of choice...who's choice?


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