She’s pregnant. She doesn’t want to be pregnant. She wants to have an abortion. She has thought about it a lot and her mind is absolutely 100% made up, so nothing you can say will change it.
If anything your reasonable arguments will just cause her even more distress and you obviously don’t want that because you aren’t some kind of monster. You’re just a Reasonable Man, with reasonable beliefs that just happen to coincide with your deep Catholic faith.
If you aren’t prepared to help she’ll still have the abortion, but it’ll take her several weeks to save the money. Several miserable weeks during which the foetus will continue to develop and the required procedure will become more and more complex and invasive.
As you continue to wrestle with your conscience you might not feel that you can personally justify the idea of ending the life of an unborn child, but can you justify the idea of forcing a person you love to go through pregnancy and childbirth against their will?
Are you aware of the health risks? The months of nausea, the vomiting, the anemia, the pelvic floor damage, the scarring, the physical pain of giving birth… And of course, the rarer, but very real and life-threatening risks – eclampsia, blood-loss, cardiac problems.
Are you prepared to accept those risks on someone else’s behalf? Is that reasonable?
Would you simply tell this person whom you love that you’re simply not prepared to assist with the procurement of an abortion, as it goes against your strongly-held moral beliefs?
Or would you as a Reasonable Man calmly and rationally accept that it is not about you and give her whatever help she requires, especially if it means that the abortion will take place at an earlier stage of the pregnancy?
For most of us a debate on the moral rights and wrongs of abortion is always worth avoiding. For a start it all hinges upon when you believe the clump of cells… foetus… unborn baby… whatever you want to call it, becomes an actual human person whose right to life matches that of an already-born woman. Suggesting that it happens at the point of conception is no better than suggesting it happens at birth or at some other arbitrary point in between, like when scans reveal that the clump of cells from certain angles has taken on the vague appearance of a person whom we’re all agreed is the absolute spit of his grandad.
The debate about the circumstances under which abortion should or should not be legal is a far simpler one, based around practical questions rather than ethical ones.
Pragmatism is why it’s legal in just about every civilised society in the world. It has long since been proven that banning it will not prevent it from happening; it just means it’s more likely to happen dangerously and without medical supervision. Only in countries like Ireland, where religion held undue influence over the state and its people for decades does it remain illegal. Even in Ireland, in our own typically Irish way, we’ve been oh-so pragmatic about it too, steadfastly looking the other way as thousands of Irish women have their abortions in the UK every year.
It’s important not to think of the referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment as merely a ‘what are your views on abortion?’ survey. You can remain personally opposed to it in all circumstances whilst also taking the pragmatic view that it should not be criminalised and that if it’s going to happen, it should happen safely. A vote to keep the Eighth Amendment is not a vote against abortion. It’ll continue to happen just not safely and legally in this country and all those Reasonable Men who call themselves ‘pro-life’ will be happy to continue looking the other way.
This post was written by Ray McGrath (@RayMcGrath) and first featured on his wonderful site ray-mcgrath.net It’s an engaging address to any reasonable prolife men out there and refreshing to see men looking to directly communicate with other men on the issue.