I have two comments on the abortion discussion in general:
I am often disturbed by the lack of understanding between the two main viewpoints. They are each based on a philsophical (NOT religious, unless you are Catholic) answer to the question: When does human life begin? One viewpoint says that human life begins at conception, and that such a human being deserves all the rights and privleges of humans. The other point of view realistically says that human life– as far as rights and privliges go– begins at birth. In the ancient pagan world, human rights didn’t exist until much later in the human development. So, philosophically, there are different points of view. For the first point of view, it makes sense that the fetus has equal rights– not more than– to the mother, and so both should be treated with respect. The second point of view, while honoring all life, gives preference to the mother, and all points follow from that.
The main issue is to understand that the point of view opposed to the one we hold is not evil incarnate, but simply a different point of view. If we react harshly to those who disagree with us, then we will never come to agreement, or even compromise.
And this leads me to my second point. The responses in the abortion debate in society in large has been so dramatic and extreme, that it makes discussion about the subject almost impossible.
Could it not be that Anabaptists, with concern for mediation and peacemaking, could open up this discussion to all, trying to understand the other point of view, even while disagreeing with it, setting aside the propoganda and seeing the true human feeling and compassion on both sides?
I have hope in some of the present discussions about public policy, seeing possibilites that both sides might agree to having abortions reduced by reducing poverty, and increasing opportunities for well rounded education about sex and contraception.