I Am Not Pro-abortion, But I Am Pro-choice and There Is a Difference

I believe in the sanctity of life, every life, before and after birth. I am not pro-abortion, but I am pro-choice and there is a difference.In a perfect world every baby would be wanted and would develop perfectly in the womb. In this imperfect world most pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion, that is, miscarriage, according to recent research. Sometimes this is a relief and sometimes a heartbreaker.In this imperfect world there are situations with no good outcome and abortion may be the kindest, most loving thing to do. Consider these scenarios:Early in the seventh month of pregnancy a sonogram shows that their baby — a much loved, planned-for, and wanted baby — has no lungs. She will not be able to take a breath outside the womb. The choice is between continuing the pregnancy and delivering a baby who will die instantly or terminating the pregnancy and saving the mother 10 weeks of physical and emotional stress as well as reducing stress for the rest of the family, the father and two older siblings who were eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new baby sister. There is no good outcome here.A 12-year-old is raped and impregnated by an uncle. The young girl is so physically immature that carrying a baby to term would damage her reproductive system so that she would never be able to carry another child. She is also traumatized by the rape and the pregnancy. There is no good outcome here.A mother of three is pregnant with a fourth. Early in the pregnancy she is diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. The treatment for the cancer will kill the fetus; putting off the treatment may result in a healthy baby but will probably mean death for the mother. An agonizing choice. There is no good outcome here.In a perfect world there would be no need for abortions. But we live in an imperfect world and we are often faced with the unthinkable. There may be people who are flippant about abortion, but the people I have known and counseled agonized over the decision. Abortion is not always for an unwanted baby. It is often for a much-loved, planned-for pregnancy, but either baby or mother is in danger if the pregnancy goes to term. Whatever they choose will result in grief and emotional pain. Sometimes abortion is the best choice. For that reason I believe the right to choose must be legal, safe and available. The choice must be left to the woman, her family, her health care professionals, and her religious advisers. The right to an abortion should never be a legislative matter.Gloria Thomas is a retired Christian educator and former program director at University Park United Methodist Church. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.   Continue reading...

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