Kevin Drum decided it was high time that he lay out his abortion policy; and because I've been feeling so much lately like Drum's slightly smarter shadow, I thought I should layout my own views on abortion. I'm against it. Like all sane people. If it were up to me, there would be no abortions. I'd also like it if my house was bigger, my job was easier, and my kids could remember to flush the toilet more often. But life isn't designed to my specifications, so we have to put up with unpleasant things. And abortion is one of them.
And being pro-choice is the only way to be. I've never been responsible for an abortion, and I've never had to make that choice. And frankly, there were times in my life that I'm glad that I didn't have kids (or more kids) and so I guess maybe I just got lucky that I never had to make that decision. Because I probably would have done it. Perhaps it sounds selfish, but had I more children when I was in college, I wouldn't be a CPA today. And I couldn't provide so much for my children. And I don't lament children that I never had, so I don't see what's selfish about that.
And oftentimes, abortion really is the best choice to make. I love my kids, but they are certainly a burden. And I don't mean that in a bad way, but it's true none the less. Children are a huge responsibility. Unbelievably so. It sounds like a cliche, but it's true. Once you bring a child into the world, the demands never cease. And now that I'm somewhat more financially secure, I am capable of fulfilling those demands.
But it's more than that. Money is the least part of raising kids. You also have to be emotionally secure, and able to devout endless time to making sure that they're raised properly, both mentally and physically. And too many people, especially younger people, have a hard enough time trying to make their own lives work, that they don't have time to focus on their children's. And it shows.
And don't even get me started on adoption. If any of you are adopted and happy with it, great. But I could never do that to my children. In fact, my biggest worry in life is that something might happen to me and my wife, and my children would lose us and have no one to properly raise them. I find that frightening. It's not that I don't trust other people. It's that I don't trust other people with my children; not to raise them the way that I think children should be raised, anyway. Even if they're not perverts who might want to do mean and nasty things, it's far from likely that they'll be able to provide half the love and understanding that me and my wife give. And just the thought of my child being out there without me is just horrible. I don't fear death at all, but I do fear leaving them to grow up without me.
Again, I don't mean this as anything against anyone who is adopted or has given a child up for adoption. But it's something that I could never do. And the idea that we should force girls to do that is simply wrong, and is something that I could never accept. If the girl freely chooses adoption, I am happy for her. But that should not be her only choice. Personally, I would much rather not bring a child into this world than to allow them to be raised improperly. That is not something I'd inflict on them or on the world.
Anyway, sorry to be so heavy, but that's why I'm pro-choice. And getting back to Kevin Drum, he obviously is too. And he believes that abortions should be allowed up until the third trimester. Which is something that I agree with too. It's an arbitrary line, but I think a sensible one.
Of course, there should always be the option of aborting even in the third trimester, in the case of the mother's health being at risk. And unlike many of our socially conservative brethren, I believe that we should allow a doctor to make that medical decision, not the government; just as we let doctors make all of the other decisions. Doctors hold our lives in their hands every day, and we shouldn't second-guess their judgment on this one, even if we don't like that decision. This should be between a doctor and his patient, and the government shouldn't interfere with that.
But here's where I disagree with Drum. Parental Notification. He is of the opinion that, because it's such a big decision, that the parents should have to be included in it. Because a minor is just too young for such a decision. And he reasons that because other medical procedures require parental approval, abortions shouldn't be any different.
And I just can't agree with that. To me, if a girl is old enough to get pregnant, she's old enough to make that decision. More importantly, if she's old enough to decide to carry a baby to term and raise it as a parent, then she's old enough to decide not to do that.
And I say that as a thirty-three year-old adult with two teenage kids, but who still has a dickens of a time with his soon to be four-year-old daughter. I mean, geez, I'm a mature man who can hold his own in a debate with anyone without losing his cool, but my god can that little girl test my limits. It's really hard. Don't get me wrong. She's very well behaved, most of the time. But once she sets her heels in, oh boy is she hard to deal with.
And I've got a confession for you. The only reason I'm awake right now is because she is too. It's past two-thirty in the morning, and she's in the TV room watching cartoons. And I can't go to bed until she does (obligations). I know it's wrong, but it's just not worth the fight. You might laugh at me when I tell you this, but she can be as stubborn as her old man. And I can be a stubborn bastard when I want to be, as she is well aware. But I also will not fight futile fights...and she will. She can cry and fuss for hours. And that's why I will only give her a final "No" when I really mean it. No willy-nilly denials on my part. When I say "No" it has to mean "NO", otherwise I just won't say it. So I pick my fights carefully, and this one just isn't worth it. Normally, she doesn't even cry or anything. She's just little Miss Determined Cutesy, and you just can't deny her. We call her The Terminator Baby, because she can be so relentless.
But enough about that. You get my point. This is hard work for me, and I'm a mature CPA with lots of brains and experience. And I think I'm doing a great job (everyone loves her), but it's very very demanding. And don't get me started on the two teenagers. In some ways they're easier to deal with because you can rationalize with them better (to a point), but they're still teenagers and it's tough.
And my point is this, if anyone is old enough to handle this level of responsibility and difficulty, they are surely old enough to decide whether they can have an abortion. Or from the other side, if they're not mature enough to make this decision, then they sure as hell are not mature enough to properly raise children. We already have enough poorly raised children in this country. We don't need any more.
And there are other valid arguments against notification laws, such as abusive parents who might beat or excessively punish their daughter if they found out about the pregnancy. And in such a case, not only is the abortion necessary to prevent a child from being born; but also to cover-up the original act itself. And that's one of the reasons the right wants the notification laws.
As Drum points out, the primary reason most social conservatives insist on parental notifications is because they believe it will stop abortions. And the reason they want to stop abortions is because they want people to face consequences for their actions; and they think that it's wrong for someone to do something immoral and not be punished for it. (Makes you really wonder how much they believe in that whole Hell thing, right?) And the reason they like earthly punishment is because their lives are so chaotic, screwed-up, and crazy; and so they want some sort of code which brings normalcy and control back into their lives. And that's why they like all absolutes, including pregnancy and STD's as punishment for sex. Because it's easier to deal with than the vagueness of the real world.
But as I've stated before, it won't help them. Their lives aren't crazy because of us liberals. Their lives are crazy because they are crazy, just like us liberals. Except they're too stubborn and stupid to know it.
P.S. My daughter turned off the TV and put herself to bed twenty minutes ago. And I'm following her now. But I'll be up by 9 o'clock or so, and she will refuse to be up until after noon. Lucky baby.