I apologize in advance if anything I write here offends anyone, but I need to spell out and explore my views and the views of others. Hopefully no one reading this is too radical in either direction, because in the abortion debate I sit right on the dividing line.
First of all, I am writing a novel in which abortion plays a key role. The main character, Lucy, is a young, non-religious anti-abortion activist sometime in the near future. Secondly, you should know that I consider myself personally pro-life, politically pro-choice. It may seem like an impossible combination, but it makes sense to me. Basically, I hope to never, ever have to face the choice of abortion, but if I were to have to make that decision I would most likely choose adoption over abortion. I do believe that life, to some extent, begins before birth. I consider the fetus to be an actual developing human baby once it has a developed brain, heart and spine. Developing babies ARE human. I won’t argue with anyone on that. And humans should be allowed the basic rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, right?
Here’s where the debate gets tricky. That developing human baby is, by biological definitions, a parasite to it’s mother. For the majority of its development it can’t sustain itself outside of its amniotic sac. But again, definitions here are muddled. My little brother was born one month early. At that point in development, almost everything was fully formed and ready to go, except his little liver, which is why he was a Simpson’s color yellow when he came out. But he was definitely a human baby. Now, what if he was born two months early? Statistics say a good percentage of babies survive when born at this age. They have respiratory problems and trouble feeding because of their underdeveloped organs. But they can survive outside the womb. Haley’s sister, Anna, was three months early. Most babies born at this stage are tiny, susceptible to illness and rarely make it through. But Anna is a fully functioning, intelligent, normal human being. The question here is, how far back can you go before the fetus is not considered a baby?
Pro-life advocates pull the “potential-for-life” issues, which I scoff at. If any potential life is sacred and needs to be saved, shouldn’t they rally against condom companies for stopping life from happening? Shouldn’t the rejected oocytes of everyone woman be collected each month and saved? This whole idea seems silly to me.
Rewind a bit. Babies have certain rights, right? If they are considered human at some certain point, then they should have rights as any human should. However, as previously stated, this human baby is a parasite in the womb of a living breathing woman. A woman who, whether 13 or 43, has some sort of life going for her. Whether or not its creation was intentional, this baby growing inside her is going to change her life. Shouldn’t the woman, who already has a life, have more rights over the fetus who has only the potential for a life? Is this age discrimination? And when does consciouness play into the debate? Is the baby human before it has conscious thought? Does it cease to be a parasite once it can think for itself?
The fact that all these questions remain unanswered in my brain leads to the essential problem. One of the biggest trouble I am having with writing this novel is getting Lucy to actually say and narrate what she means. I write in first person almost always, and it is no different in this novel. But when Lucy’s beliefs try to crawl out of my fingers and into my Word document, I find myself biting my tongue. I can’t believe what she believes, because I don’t.
If you are pro-life, anti-abortion, and have non-religious reasons for this, I would love to hear your side of the story. Because honestly, I am sick of hearing people say they are against gay marriage and against abortion because God and the bible say so. Just don’t.