President Bush decided to try on the presidential pants and send a message to the world. That message: Hey, look, I’m stupid. Bush’s decision to deny funding to foreign organizations that have any dealings with abortion sent a shock wave through America, alarming some and exciting others about the future of abortion in our own county. The question, which has become one of the most heated topics of our time, is being asked again: Should abortion be legal? My answer is yes, but a hesitant yes.
I will not be using two of the most tired arguments ever: a woman has a right to choose and that life begins at conception. While abortion is definitely an issue that deals heavily in morality, both of these arguments are deeply philosophical. Knowing exactly when consciousness begins is tough considering I can’t remember anything before my 11th birthday; such moral arguments have little basis in hardcore fact and are therefore useless in trying to prove anything. Call me existential, but I feel morality is first and foremost a personal issue. Arguing that abortion is either right or wrong, in the sense that something is either black or white, is another huge mistake. Morality is a big, fat, gray streak of highway stretching between absolute darkness and pure brilliance.
Abortion should be kept legal for two reasons. The first deals with the absolute horrific nature of the illegal abortion process. People will still seek abortions even if they are illegal, and outlawing them will greatly reduce the accountability and safety of the procedures performed. Undergoing an abortion in a clinic under the control of a qualified doctor is a thousand times safer than what people can think up on their own. Remember the coat hanger horror stories?
Second, abortion should be an option in extreme cases such as rape, children that will be born with terminal diseases, etc. Before you jump on me for my opinion, look up the word "option," which I used in the previous sentence. Women should be able to make their own decisions in these cases; they should use their own moral code to make the choice and not be forced to abide by someone else’s.
Aborted fetal tissue is used in stem cell research that could very well lead to cures for all sorts of degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. This shows that there is no such thing as a simple moral matter of right or wrong, but I digress.
What the country should aim for is minimizing the use of abortive procedures as much as possible. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get to a point where they won’t be needed anymore. Such a goal can only happen through increased sexual education and the availability of contraception.
The state of sexual education in this country is pathetic. I remember the first sex education class I had in junior high. It was called "Family Life" and only went over anatomy. I don’t think the location of the Vas Deferens is nearly as important as they made it out to be. Bush wants sexual education to focus on abstinence instead of contraception – maybe in a perfect world, Georgie. People are going to have sex, and while mass abstinence is ideal and preferred, it isn’t what’s going to happen. It’s a plan with too many good intentions and not enough realism. Kids need to be taught about contraception – both how to use it and where to get – as well as the importance of abstinence. Moreover, kids need to be educated about abortion in a completely unbiased manner and taught that it is neither a form of contraception nor a decision to be made lightly.
The beauty of this country is the unprecedented amount of freedom we have. That freedom allows us to make our own moral decisions and take responsibility for them. In order to make the best decisions about a morally paralyzing issue, we, as a people, need to be given all the information that is out there in an unbiased fashion. Despite the level of freedom in the U.S., it is still the same country that allows self-righteous blowhards to try and enforce their morals on others without giving them a chance to think for themselves. So, George, I’ve got a message for you: Tread lightly on this issue and other morally heavy issues; you’re going to see lots of them in the next four years. We’ll be watching.
Steven Ruszczycky is a sophomore English and bio-psychology major.