It's good vs. good, not good vs. evil

Opinion

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KEN TRAINOR

It's futile, I think, to argue the abortion issue on the basis of good vs. evil. Opponents hold abortion up as the greatest evil, the core evil, the evil that trumps all others, based partly on sheer numbers.

But which is worse, genocide in Rwanda or abortion? Are 1.3 million unborn fetuses each year more important than people getting hacked to death with machetes by the millions? Are we not responsible because it didn't happen here? I wouldn't want to make that call. That kind of moral relativism isn't good for anyone's soul.

Is abortion evil if the mother's life is at risk? If conception results from a rape? I believe only the woman herself should make such decisions. I agree in principle that using abortion purely as a form of birth control is wrong, but I won't judge someone who chooses it because I don't know all the circumstances. It's just not my place to judge. I think judging and being judged is a big part of the problem with this issue.

If abortion is generally objectionable, but sometimes necessary, it seems to me we should keep it legal, but work on reducing the numbers. Some opponents would say one abortion is too many, but if we could find a way to reduce that 1,300,000 number to under a million next year while keeping abortion legal, would you support it? What if it cut the numbers by half each year thereafter? Or is it "all or nothing at all"?

If abortion opponents backed off the legislative battle, they would win on the public relations front. Right now, when we think of pro-life, we don't visualize Mahatma Gandhi. We visualize Eric Rudolph telling us, "If you don't respect life, I'll kill you"?#34;the ultimate moral absurdity.

Not many people would argue abortion is "good," but a solid majority wants it to remain legal?#34;not out of moral laziness but for reasons that involve a perceived "good." Opponents need to understand what that "good" is.

It's similar to the Iraq war. A lot of people support the war, not because they think war itself is a good thing, but because they perceive a "good" in supporting our troops. I may disagree, but I understand the depth of their conviction.

What good underlies legalized abortion? Pro-choice women are in a better position to articulate that, but here's what I think it is: reproductive freedom.

Women, I believe, want the "good" of controlling their bodies and greater control of the decisions that affect their lives. The majority of women refuse to be slaves to their reproductive capacity. Birth control in the last 40 years has been a major turning point, and they aren't turning back. That is a perceived "good," and here's the critical element: That "good" is more important to them than the inherent right to life of every fetus.

I don't expect abortion opponents to agree with that. I am asking them to try to understand how strong a conviction that is for women who are pro-choice.

The inherent dignity and right to life of every fetus is a "good." The right of parents to decide when and where to bring a child into the world is also a "good." These are two very important, competing goods, and arguing which good is superior won't do you a bit of good.

Good vs. good is the reason we're at this impasse. The true believers on both sides are good people. The only evil is that the impasse is responsible for keeping the abortion numbers so high. Both sides are guilty because we'd rather fight than solve the problem.

How can we break the impasse so both "goods" can win? In my opinion, that's what we need to be talking about?#34;not who's wrong and who's right.

Anyone want to weigh in?

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