Monday, April 23, 2007

Abortion IS a Moral Decision

One of the best things about having a blog is it's an outlet for my frustration with what I read in the national media.

I've just sent a letter to the NY Times about my dismay with David Brook's column yesterday called "Postures in Public, Facts in the Womb." In it, he says that people who are pro-choice treat "abortion as the moral equivalent of a tonsillectomy" and ignore the fetus.

I wrote the NY Times this letter this morning:

"In fact, Mr. Brooks, millions of people of faith ground their moral commitment to the right to choose in their religious beliefs. We believe that abortion is always a serious moral decision, and we affirm women's moral agency to make the decision as to whether or not abortion is justified in their specific circumstances. We know that religious traditions affirm the value of fetal life, often according greater value as fetal development progresses, but believe that the health and life of the woman must take precedence. Further, we know that it is precisely because life is so precious, that it should never be created carelessly."

Further, in his column Mr. Brooks differentiates between pregnant women who he calls mothers, "adults" and people he labels "abortion professionals." Surely Mr. Brooks knows that we are also mothers and grandmothers, sisters, and daughters, and that we too value our children. Surely he did not mean to carelessly imply that pregnant women don't have a role in this discussion or that they are not adults with moral agency. Indeed, central to our commitment is that it is precisely the pregnant woman who must ultimately decide.

Perhaps, Mr. Brooks, instead of decrying our work to support women's rights, you should come talk with us. I'm ready and able.


Bill Baar said...

And Scalia right when he said no judge any better to make the moral judgement than you or I or the people we elect.

....and we affirm women's moral agency to make the decision as to whether or not abortion is justified in their specific circumstances.

On what grounds to you give great wait to the mother's moral agency than the fetus she carries in her womb? You affirm the fetus's value but not it's moral agency?

What's your moral calculus here? Lots of anger but your details fuzzy.

Debra W. Haffner said...

Moral agency is the ability, right, and responsibility to make one's own moral decisions. Your comment doesn't make sense to me.

Johnny A. Ramirez said...

Your post makes perfect sense to me- I hope NYTimes publishes your piece!

I thought you did well in presenting the fetus as valued life while defending the moral agency of the pregnant woman.

I appreciated Ruth Bader Ginsburg's perspective of abortion as a question of equal rights. Restrictions like that passed are indeed restricting the guaranteed full autonomy and full equality of women in our constitution.

I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the great posts!

Anonymous said...

>religious traditions affirm the value of fetal life

Agreed, but it's the role of the religious community to go further and recognize a being within the fetus that cannot be destroyed by abortion.

The "moral agency" of the fetus incorporates the understanding that emergence into the physical is a cooperative venture in which it is not the sole arbiter and that if conditions do not warrant completion of the pregnancy, it will wait for more auspicious circumstances.

No violation attaches to abortion without harmful intent, regardless of the prevalent legal system of the age or the hoary teachings of any church.

We have most every one of us made such decisions both as fetus and as woman, but for practical purposes the knowledge remains hidden for most individuals.