I voted today. I would encourage all of you to vote early because the lines aren't too bad right now, but they will be on election day!
But that's not what's on my mind.
What's on my mind is abortion.
I know a lot of people are one issue voters and that issue is oftentimes abortion.
I understand that in a lot of ways. I consider myself pro-life. I don't generally like the idea of mixing up moral issues with political issues because I don't want a stinkin' theocracy and I don't think it's the government's place to legislate morality.
But abortion is a little bit of a different issue for me because it goes beyond the mother taking responsibility for her own morality. There's another life involved. An innocent life that didn't ask to be brought into this world.
I think that in most cases, the life of the child should be protected.
On the other hand, I think we need better programs to educate women before they get in a situation where they feel their best option is to end the life of their child. I don't think it's smart or responsible to offer abstinence-only education (which I don't believe WORKS--if it worked for you, PRAISE GOD--and I mean that, but for MANY people it doesn't work). I would much rather us figure out a way to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies BEFORE they happen and offer heavy support and education regarding adoption programs. Unfortunately, many of the same people who are staunchly pro-life want to do very little to help people avoid the situation in the first place. If you make a mistake, shame on you! You should have kept your pants up. Deal with the consequences.
Even the conservative politicians usually offer a caveat for allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest and in cases when the mother's life is in danger. I'm down with that.
If (God forbid) I was raped, I believe I would still feel strongly about wanting to have the child so that something beautiful could come out of the situation, but I don't think everyone could handle that, emotionally. Obviously, I agree with allowing it when the mother's life is in danger. Not doing so forces the family to value the baby's life over the mother's and that just doesn't make sense to me. Life is life, right? Maybe agreeing with the caveats makes me selectively pro-life, but I can imagine so many situations where abortion might seem to be the best option. If I had a 12 year old who was raped and became pregnant, shouldn't she have the option to decide whether or not she wanted to continue the pregnancy? Not offering that option seems akin to child abuse to me. Or what if a 20 year old mentally disabled person were raped and became pregnant?
I get that God is the author of life...kind of. (Is that too honest?) But I just don't know if I would have the faith to say, "Well, if she's pregnant, there's a plan for this child." It just seems cruel.
I think that being pro-life...truly pro-life forces me to NOT be a one issue voter. There's a difference between being anti-abortion and being pro-life.
If one is really pro-life and not just pro-unborn life, can one be pro-death penalty? Can one say, "life is precious" and then turn around and say, "BUT once you're born, you're on your own obtaining health care. Hope your parents have a decent job that provides insurance coverage!" And can one say, "If you're poor and need government assistance, it's your own fault. Government shouldn't help you." Can one say, "We'll stay in a war (we never should have gotten into) for 100 years for the sake of pride. Who cares about the innocent civilians and the soldiers who are killed in the process."
Truly being pro-life is about more than abortion.