A Question for both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Supporters
I’d like to ask a question of both those that are Pro-Life and those that are Pro-Choice. To be more precise, I have a question and then one of two follow up questions.
These are not intended to be “gotcha” questions. Though some commenters may disagree, I would like us all to assume anyway that these questions have neither a right nor a wrong answer. Rather, any answers are opinions about hypotheticals I have created.
In a perfect world, we would limit our discussion (if any) to what we each believed the answer to be, why we think this, and why we might or might not disagree with others’ answers. We would not use the discussion as a way to take mean-spirited swipes at the other side. Respect would be our watchword.
Agreed? OK then!
Before I can ask the questions, though, I need you to imagine two separate worlds.
Let’s call the first World A.
In World A, the abortion issue exists and is considered by many to be very, very important. In this world, each side goes out of its way to try to understand where the other side is coming from, working from the assumption that neither represents either good or evil. This leads to some complicated and sometimes uncomfortable internal discussions: Abortion advocates in this world admit that if a fetus can be delivered pre-term and grow to an adult that it is, at some point, reasonable that the other side might consider it a living, human person. And they agree there are circumstances where it is not moral to end this life – even if they don’t necessarily agree with the other side about what those circumstances are.
On the other hand, anti-abortion activists recognize why the arguments they make for, say, an eight-month old fetus are not nearly as strong for a small group of cells the morning after conception. What’s more, they try hard to remember all of the historic reasons that many women are wary of the way their reproductive rights being infringed upon, and give these due consideration. The men especially go out of their way to remember that they are not being asked to give up any rights concerning their body and are therefore resolute to be both respectful and mindful of this fact.
On World A both sides sit down and discuss these issues together. They try to see where they might find common ground from which they might work out some kind of system that – while not perfect from every point of view – is the best that they are able. During these discussions if things start to get heated, the leaders of each side remind their own people to remember that the other side might believe differently, but are not the enemy and are arguing in good faith. Where they end up after these discussions, if anywhere, is not germane to this exercise.
Now imagine World B.
In World B, just as in World A, the abortion issue exists and is considered by many to be very, very important. In World B, however, each side views it as an all-or-nothing battle against a bitter enemy. Arguments that some on either side might find compelling or even reasonable from the other are ignored or ridiculed. Instead, one side simply shouts that the others are “misogynists,” and the other does the same with the term “murderers.” This is because everyone agrees that anything other than total victory is a slippery slope toward defeat, and it is very important for each side that they not be defeated. Each believes the other side is bereft to some degree of goodness and morality. Those that make up the more hardcore fringe on each side are willing to go to surprisingly grim lengths for that victory. Who ultimately wins this battle, if anyone, is not germane to this exercise.
So those are the two imaginary worlds. And this is my first question:
Given the choice, which of these two worlds would you prefer to live in?
And here are my follow ups:
If you answered World B, can you explain why?
If you answered Word A, why do you believe it is that we live in a world closer to World B?
Again, I ask that you be courteous and respectful to your fellow commenters.
[Note: I haven’t been blogging long, but it’s been long enough that I know that some people from both sides are going to believe my hypothetical situations slanted against them and/or insulting. To these people I want to apologize in advance. Please know that this was not my intent.]