Abortion Issue Requires Respectful Debate

David Syatt’s article in the March 13 issue of the New University, entitled ‘Pro-Lifers Use Religious and Sexist Reasoning’ conveys a weak argument because the author did not exercise the principles he claimed to espouse.
It is unfortunate, because I agreed with many of his points but found it troubling that he delivered them so harshly.
The decision made by South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds to outlaw abortions in his own state was a setback for those Americans who believe in the right to choose, and it is not unreasonable to think there may be more pro-life legislation as long as the country is run by the Republican Party.
It is most certainly true that the opposition to abortion and its legalization are almost purely religious, and that many pro-life activists are motivated by their church and God.
In fact, Syatt should have pointed out that this is exactly the kind of legislation that was to be avoided when the Constitution was drafted.
Religion should not be a factor in giving rights and privileges to or taking them away from the citizens of this country.
Syatt takes advantage of this by attacking the religious beliefs of many people who genuinely believe that a fetus is life.
That the church is largely excluded from lawmaking in this country (when compared to other governments of the past) does not give a person an excuse to mock another’s beliefs simply because there won’t be any punishment for doing so.
Syatt says, ‘People who believe in fetus souls and the inferiority of women do not deserve the privilege of intelligent debate,’ as if ‘fetus souls’ is nothing more than a term he made up for the sake of insulting Christians who take their beliefs seriously.
They don’t believe that a fetus has a ghost living inside it that will be physically harmed by an abortion; pro-life advocates aren’t mystic shamans who believe in magic and voodoo.
They believe that conception is the absolute beginning of life, and that any termination thereafter means death.
If another person causes that termination, they refer to it as murder.
People who unnecessarily and condescendingly attack Christians who are only trying to protect human life in its simplest, most defenseless form do not deserve the privilege of intelligent debate.
It is only those who can be civil about such things, people who exercise the same degree of acceptance and respect for their opponents as they demand for themselves, who can contribute to the discussion and still command my respect.
No, the issue isn’t whether the child is a living entity, as Syatt seems to think. It is whether a woman has the right to make that decision about her own body.
I absolutely agree with Syatt that a victim of rape shouldn’t have to carry and live with a product of that crime, nor should a child be raised in an unhealthy, impoverished environment that could potentially create more criminals.
I would also agree that if a person is ideologically opposed to the procedure, that is their decision and not to be forced on any other person.
I think people like Syatt and I see an abortion as an isolated event that only affects the mother, the baby and, indirectly, the family, unlike murder, which poses a much greater danger to many more people. Perhaps that is my own ignorance.
I’ve never known anyone who went through an abortion, and I don’t know what it’s like, what trauma they suffer or how their families react. I can’t speak for Syatt, but I don’t feel like I’m in any position to judge these people. Nor do I think anyone else is qualified to do so.
So it doesn’t make sense to define whether an action is right or wrong when it shouldn’t be classified as either, especially if lawmakers don’t necessarily know very much about the procedure or the patient.
Syatt demonstrated the flipside of this problem. He presumed to know how conservatives think and what they believe, and he oversimplified an issue that is not two-sided.
There are more opinions in this country than liberal and conservative.
If we don’t define ourselves as Republicans, that does not mean we are automatically Democrats.
Unfortunately, this polarization makes it very difficult to agree with anyone.

Jacob Beizer is a second-year English major. He can be reached at jbeizer@uci.edu.