If I was Philip K. Dick, my memories are definitely incredibly spotty.
I didn’t know, for instance, that Seattle was where he once drove his then-wife Anne for an abortion until I did some reading. This was an event that changed his life and made him ardently pro-life, a rare position for someone as far left as Phil.
I suppose it’s all over and done and I can’t let something like that cast a shadow over the book signing I’ll be doing there next weekend, but it does make me think about my own feelings on the subject. Since I’ve never shied away from topics involving life and death in this blog, I’ll stick my neck out and talk about this.
In my previous life and when I was younger I was very much against abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or if a woman’s life was in danger and I supported legislation to that effect.
As I grew older I no longer supported such legislation in part because I feel that the ironclad word of law cannot account for all circumstances. Also, as one who cannot become pregnant (sadly medical technology is still too stone-age to give me a working uterus), I don’t feel I have much grounding to push for laws on what you can do with the female reproductive system. I also feel that life and death decisions are an unfortunate but necessary part of maintaining any population of living beings (human or animal) at a healthy level, and that giving those who need an abortion the option to do so in a safe, clean, and properly licensed environment is better than forcing them to travel to unlicensed clinics to die of infection or blood loss in secrecy and silence.
That being said, if I were to be perfectly honest, on a personal level the idea of abortion makes me deeply uncomfortable, and always has. If it were a friend or a family member and the abortion was not a medical necessity, I would probably break down in tears begging them not to abort. I could not bring myself to help them in that case. I would probably not feel very comfortable being friends with someone who sees abortion as a convenience and not as an extreme measure, and I would absolutely loathe a husband, father, or boyfriend who pressured or coerced his wife, daughter, or girlfriend to abort when she didn’t want to.
I’m fine with “morning after” pills, I think access to contraceptives and fact-based sex ed are essential and important, and I’m not sold on “life begins at conception.” I’m pretty sure, in regards to reincarnation, that we don’t inhabit our new bodies until they actually have a functioning nervous system; a mass of cells with no differentiated features is hardly a “person” in any real sense.
However, I think that any simplistic moral equation is inadequate after human features can be distinguished. Furthermore, after a fetus is viable outside the womb, it’s silly to argue as to whether or not they’re a person because at that point their personhood would become an arbitrary matter of location. I think late term abortions really are one of the most unfortunate realities of modern life; it’s an extreme measure that may be called for in some circumstances, but something that shouldn’t be glossed over.
I will never stand in the way of your right to make a choice… but I will beg you to reconsider if there is any other way. I feel very strongly on this and I always have, apparently across lifetimes.