A Journal for Western Man

 

Creative Approaches to Fighting Abortion

G. Stolyarov II

Issue CXXVI - November 23, 2007

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This article was originally published on GrasstopsUSA.com.

            It is a genuine travesty that abortion has been protected for 34 years by the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Those who oppose the practice of abortion and believe it to be murder are correct to seek to eventually overturn this ruling. However, what is to be done in the meantime? How can lives be saved and genuine tragedies prevented, even while abortion remains protected by law? What can the advocates of the right to life do to diminish the number of abortions without breaking the law? A few approaches whose full potential has not yet been tapped deserve consideration.

            As a consequence of Roe v. Wade, an abortion can legally be neither had nor averted without the consent of the woman who is to be having that abortion. While this state of affairs poses a tremendous obstacle to pro-life advocates if a woman is determined to have an abortion, it also means that if a pregnant woman changes her mind and decides not to abort her child, then the abortion will not happen. Thus, pro-life advocates’ efforts need to focus on convincing as many women as possible to voluntarily reject abortion as an option.

            How can this be done? First, many of the financial pressures on a pregnant woman can be alleviated by pro-life charitable organizations. Consider the following hypothetical scenario.

            X, a woman, is pregnant and wishes to abort the child. She is concerned about the expenses and inconvenience associated with the pregnancy itself, as well as the future costs of bringing up the child. Organization L is a hypothetical pro-life charity. Since the law protects her decision to abort, the only recourse for Organization L is to convince her to voluntarily carry through with her pregnancy? Organization L can do this by changing X’s incentives and giving her as few reasons to abort as possible.

            Consider the following proposition that Organization L can make to X. “If you choose not to have an abortion and carry through with the pregnancy, we will pay all of your expenses related to the pregnancy, and we will furthermore offer you an additional sum of money to compensate you for any kind of ‘psychological strain’ the pregnancy will entail for you. Then, once the child is born, we will take it off your hands and offer it for adoption to one of the many families on our waiting list. In that way, the child will get a decent upbringing in a loving home, and you will not have to pay a penny to make this possible. Indeed, we would rather that you made a slight profit on this entire agreement instead of terminating a life.” Many women in X’s position would be likely to agree to such a proposal if it were made to them. If any lives are saved in this manner, this would be a step forward in at least mitigating the harms of abortion.

            This idea is not without precedent. Prior to the abolition of slavery in Britain and later in the United States, many anti-slavery groups would spend large sums of money to purchase the freedom of those held in bondage. They recognized that, while they could not eradicate the institution of slavery overnight, they could at least preserve a sizable number of people from its horrors. Some of the more radical and less prudent abolitionists – like William Lloyd Garrison – condemned these efforts as bringing about material gain for the slaveowners, but such criticism was thoroughly mistaken. After all, what is a worse outcome: paying people to desist from evil or permitting those who are innocent and good to perish?

The same reasoning holds in this case. It is much better for some women – even those who became pregnant due to reckless behavior and would earnestly wish to get rid of the child in order to engage in further reckless behavior – to get some perhaps undeserved funds than it is for innocent creatures to die because pro-life advocates did not wish to “reward” those who are considering an abortion.

Let us consider another way in which our hypothetical Organization L can effectively reduce the number of abortions. It may be possible for the charity to contact women of child-bearing age, preferably before these women become pregnant, and convince the women to sign a pledge that, if they ever become pregnant and are considering an abortion, they promise to first meet with a representative of Organization L and discuss the matter. If the law permits such pledges to be legally binding, then this will be an excellent way to convince women to voluntarily set restraints on their “right” to have an abortion. But even if the pledge cannot be made legally binding, it can still work by relying on the woman to act with integrity, follow her conscience, and keep her word. Most people do not break a solemn promise lightly, even if there are no legal repercussions to breaking it.

The sad truth is that many abortions occur on a whim, with a pregnant woman rushing to the hospital to get her child killed before she considers the full implications of the action. Given time to calmly reflect on the matter and consider its moral implications as well as its practical consequences, she might have chosen differently. This is where a  consultation pledge like the one described above can have a tremendous effect. Presumably, Organization L will be opposed to abortion in principle, and its representatives may be able to change women’s minds in the course of discussion. But even in the time it takes to arrange and conduct a direct meeting with another person, the woman will have an additional opportunity to think the matter over and arrive at a decision based on deliberate reflection, not the spur of the moment.

There are already about 2200 crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the United States which specialize in persuading women to carry through with pregnancies instead of having abortions. Organizations like Care Net, Birthright International, and Heartbeat International sponsor these centers and have had considerable success in saving lives. Crisis pregnancy centers would be the ideal candidates for offering women the option to sign consultation pledges; women who sign will thereby become more likely to visit a CPC in the event of a pregnancy. Furthermore, the CPCs that do not already do so could expand their operations to include providing monetary assistance to women for whom a pregnancy would pose a considerable financial strain.

And, of course, any advocate of the right to life would do well to confront and challenge individuals and organizations who would actively persuade a woman to have an abortion. In offering their tempting promises of “liberation” and “emancipation,” such anti-life militants can often ruin many an unsuspecting woman’s life – not to mention having already ended the lives of millions of innocent children. To prevent women from being taken in by these charlatans with murderous intentions, it is necessary to engage the latter in active, vigorous debate, so as to let as many people as possible know that there exist serious ethical and practical objections to abortion – to say the very least.

In the famous words of Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for enough good men to do nothing.” If implemented, the approaches discussed here can save lives and diminish the horrendous damage that abortion inflicts. Pro-life advocates would do well to engage in creative thinking and to devise an increasingly broad and sophisticated array of approaches by which to minimize the toll of this travesty.   

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre,  Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, weekly columnist for GrasstopsUSA.com, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. Mr. Stolyarov also publishes his articles on Helium.com and Associated Content to assist the spread of rational ideas. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. His most recent play is Implied Consent. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

 

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This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

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Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here..

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.