This is one of those subjects that I mostly gave up talking about online a long time ago, mostly because you’re never going to convince anyone of anything because everyone, on every side, has a wholly emotional take on the subject matter. You have the people on the right who can’t discuss abortion without bringing up God 147 times a minute and condemning people to hell and you have the people on the left who can’t enter the discussion without calling their detractors misogynists and rape apologists. It quickly turns into a giant clusterfuck because no one can step back and talk about the issue rationally. In that, it’s very much like talking about creationism. The religious are emotionally invested in their position and whether or not their position is reasonable or true, they’re going to fight to the bitter end.
But recently, I got involved in a discussion, more by accident than by design, with an atheist who believed that society would come to reject abortion for undefined moral reasons. I wrote about that here. However, after that ended, more people leapt in and I was forced admit that, no, I don’t think abortion is the greatest thing since sliced cheese. In fact, I’d much prefer if abortion was extremely rare. In that, I agree with my atheist compatriot that abortion ought to go away, I just disagree with his methods and ideology. Where I disagree with abortion comes from people who get them because of irresponsibility, not from necessity. We’ll always have abortions because of rape and incest. We’ll always have abortions because giving birth will kill the mother. We’ll always have abortions because of fetal deformity. I have no problem with any of those things. Where I have problems are with people who act irresponsibly and then want to have an abortion to get out of a tight situation. You know, people who don’t consider the possible ramifications of their actions, who get pregnant out of wedlock and when the father just takes off because they have no real commitment to the relationship, off to the doctor they go.
In particular, we were talking about sex education for teenagers and my opponent started arguing something that I’ve really discussed several times before, the idea that stupid people are stupid and therefore we shouldn’t bother trying to change anything stupid people do. I entirely disagree with this position. I don’t think we should accept that stupid people are going to be stupid and just throw up our hands. I don’t think that we can accept that teenagers are going to be idiots and have sex anyhow and therefore we should just hand out condoms by the handful and whatever happens, happens. I think there’s a better path to chart between the far-right “abstinence only because God will get you” bullcrap and the far-left “go have fun, don’t worry, you won’t be held responsible” positions we see most often. But of course, this means we have to start teaching kids to be responsible early on, that we need to have kids that can handle the truth and deal with the actual facts and make responsible choices. Both the left and the right think that’s impossible. I disagree.
I think we should be teaching our kids the actual truth about sex and the dangers thereof. There is no such thing as safe sex outside of abstinence or a committed, long-term, mutually exclusive relationship. There can be safer sex, but not safe sex. You can never know for sure if your partner is disease free. You can never know for sure if birth control, outside of permanent sterilization, is going to work. You run a risk regardless. Make those risks known. Don’t throw around ridiculous religious claims, keep it realistic. God has nothing to do with it, sin has nothing to do with it, the very real risk of getting pregnant out of wedlock and ruining your life has everything to do with it. The very real risk of getting a disease that is incurable and perhaps fatal has everything to do with it. The question has to be, do you want to risk ending your life, physically or financially, at a young age because you couldn’t keep it in your pants. For lots of people, even people who are not religious, that answer is yes, not because of threats, but because they stopped to think about it and had a social group which supported that kind of decision.
But, of course, I’ll never get anyone to agree with me because they’ve all been indoctrinated, either into the right wing religious bullshit or the left wing irresponsibility bullshit. I guess that’s something that I’ve come to expect from pretty much everything.