Personally Pro Life. Politically Pro Choice.

I have a evolved in my stance on abortion. With a highly conservative background I have long been staunchly pro life; and like most pro lifers I let my personal belief inform my political belief. My evolution began in earnest when I started challenging fellow pro lifers with a thought experiment: If feasible, would you accept an expansion of Planned Parenthood in order to expand access to birth control IF the expansion resulted in a net decline in abortions? Most recoil at this proposal, which led me to believe I was on to something (i.e. that pro lifers did/do not have a very pragmatic handle on abortion, and that there is a compromise to be had).

After months of thought and discussion that culminated with a declined op-ed juxtaposing the culturally important, but mirror image, issues of guns and abortion, I settled on a very simple stance: personally pro life, politically pro choice.

The pro life stance on abortion is that life begins at conception, and that unborn life is just as worthy of protection by the state as born life. The pro choice stance is that unborn life is wholly dependent upon the mother, and thus not a standalone life worthy of state protection. With the Country split down the middle on the issue, neither side can credibly declare victory and engage in an ideological stakeout.

A “grand bargain” on abortion would be something along the lines of enshrining the unrestricted right to a first trimester abortion, while banning all second and third trimester abortions outside of rape, incest, and when the health of the mother is at risk of permanent impairment.

* * *

In light of the discussion above, I believe the Trump Administration’s push to clamp down on Planned Parenthood, as recently reported by The New York Times, is overly political in an attempt to shore up the Evangelical Christian portion of its base. Greater education for those considering an abortion paired with an expansion of Planned Parenthood services would be a deal more in line with President Trump’s normal pragmatism.

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