Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Morality of Abortion

Yesterday, I wrote about a new Pew study on public opinions on abortion, homosexuality, and stem cell research, and I recommended reading it to you.

But, I remain troubled by the way certain items were worded in their study and the report. They talk for example about "gay marriage" and "gay adoption" rather than marriage equality and adoption by same sex parents. I don't believe that sexual orientation should be used as an adjective -- I an not in a "straight marriage" and I don't believe that there is such a thing as "straight adoption." How we talk about an issue helps define it...one wonders if answers would be different if instead of asking "do you oppose or favor gay marriage" Pew had asked "do you favor or oppose allowing same sex couples equal rights to marriage?"

But, it is their question on the morality of abortion that really concerns me. Pew asked: "Is abortion morally wrong? In nearly all circumstances? In some circumstances? Not a moral issue? Don't know." Huh? How is that a neutral way of posing this question? How would I a pro-choice faith leader have answered that question?

Of course abortion is a moral issue. And yes, in some circumstances (like sex selection of the fetus or after viability) I would believe that it was morally wrong. 49% of people chose that option when presented with the four possible responses. But, I also believe that most women make moral decisions about abortions when deciding that they can't carry a pregnancy to term in their own individual circumstances. Had I been polled, the researchers would have concluded that I belonged in the group that thinks abortion is morally wrong. They would have been wrong.

Next time, maybe Pew can ask "Is Abortion A Moral Decision?" without biasing the answers.

1 comment:

Joel Monka said...

I am curious why you say abortion for sex selection is morally wrong. I could understand someone saying that any reason other than the health of the mother makes it wrong, but why would you single out that one motivation over any others?