Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Problem to be Avoided

This may seem like kind of a strange or perhaps even uncomfortable subject for me to broach but, it has been on my mind a bit lately. Recently a young man that I train marital arts with asked something about my opinion on abortion. He's of a different spiritual and religious background than I am obviously, and in the moment of surprise at the question and a hope to not create offense for him or his parents, I flubbed a pretty feeble response.

In general I subscribe to the belief in the sanctity of life and that with a few exceptions abortion is, in short, bad. At the same time I understand and respect the fact that many people do not share my religious convictions on such things. Also, being aware of infanticide as a low-tech alternative that appears throughout the ethnographic record, I'm somewhat inclined to be sympathetic with the staunchly pro-choice.

Curiosities surrounding my religion are a common point of discussion with my students. This has naturally included issues of sexuality, and the boys have time and again made it quite clear to me that the concept of chastity is too extreme for them to consider seriously. Something I read from Barak Obama recently reminded me of what I had to say to them about abortion some time ago. He referred to the controversy around the Notre Dame commencement saying, “Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually. It has both moral and spiritual dimension. So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. Let’s reduce unintended pregnancies.”

In my class, I asked the boys to consider the view point of their girlfriends and hookups. I asked them to think about what a pregnancy means to the person who is pregnant.. In biological terms alone the process is difficult both physically and emotionally. To terminate this process prematurely, for any reason, can only complicate matters by imposing a difficult mix of conflicting feelings. With these consequences in mind I come to the same short answer for the question of abortion that I would give to any young man regardless of his religion or lack thereof. If he has any respect or concern at all for the young woman who loves him or trusts him with her body, he will do whatever is necessary to ensure that she never has to come to the point where an abortion would be an issue.

It is not the culture of my students to think about things in these terms. With a few exceptions, they often regard females as objects to be exploited for whatever selfishness comes into their heads. Some of these students have become fathers, and it's interesting to see how the models provided by their own fathers are predictive of the students' ambivalence towards their children. It's one of the great and terrible feedback cycles of the world. In any case, whether a boy has become a father or has had a scare of becoming one, it almost always comes out that he's been cavalier about the whole business and chose self-interest and laziness over responsibility. Despite knowing better and having all that might be needed available he has still chosen to deal with things conveniently rather than prudently. The idea that some form of foresight or self-control might be a component of true manhood seems too elusive too often. He even fails to get things right in a world with Plan-B.

What I'm saying here doesn't really describe what I think about abortion. It is more a philosophy of action, or if I dare say it: wisdom. Whatever beliefs a person may have about the complex relationships between spirit and body I feel quite safe in commending that every man, regardless of age, who is unprepared for fatherhood should commit himself to never afflicting a woman with the necessity to make such a “heart-wrenching” choice.

1 comment:

Kellie Parker said...

Ok from experience of having my sister get pregnant and my other one as well.. It wasnt the end of the world it may slow you down but there worth it..i believe everything happens for a reason and later you'll understand why if not just give it onto the religion on abortion well your not susposseed to be having sex till your married anyway so if you truly loved your all mighty GOD you wouldnt do that to him....But into todays society and all the stero types and critism its hard to be true to you when your so easliy infuenced by everything and drugs. But then again i think abortion is alright because it is there decision and what if they got raped and got pregant i wouldnt want to have the kid..but everybodys views are different i'm sexually active but i'm responsible about it condoms birth control and not having a lot of it. but it something i have to live with..